Last week, a group of Ecuadorian government officials and business stakeholders traveled to Washington, DC, to encourage increased trade and investment ties between the United States and Ecuador. The delegation, which was led by Foreign Trade Minister Pablo Campana Sáenz, is seeking to revive US trade with, tourism to, and investment in Ecuador.

During his visit, Minister Campana highlighted a number of key trade priorities for Ecuador. He encouraged the revival of the U.S.-Ecuador Trade and Investment Council, a bilateral panel originally established in 1990 to encourage discussion on trade and investment matters. Minister Campana also emphasized the importance of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), a trade preference program that allows beneficiary developing countries to import select products into the U.S. duty-free. The Ecuadorian Government is seeking to expand duty-free treatment to broccoli, roses, artichokes, and tuna.

On September 12, Minister Campana met with US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. Secretary Ross pledged the U.S. would organize a trade mission to Ecuador next year and offered technical support for Ecuador’s efforts to country dumped goods. During his visit, Minister Campana also met with representatives of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Council of the America, followed by meeting with the finance sector in New York City.

Throughout his visit, Minister Campana highlighted Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno’s calls to strengthen commercial ties with U.S. and countries around the world. In an interview, he stated that Ecuador is looking for a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help address a $3.5 billion budget gap for 2017 and expected $6 billion in 2018. Minister Campana noted Ecuador previously could not implement all of IMF’s requirements, but he expects that in the future, Ecuador will be able to work together with the IMF.

Minister Campana reiterated the Government’s support for increased foreign investment in Ecuador. He stated that Ecuador is open for business and is prepared to support foreign companies seeking to establish business in Ecuador. Minister Campana’s recent trip to China is yet another part of the new government’s efforts to show the world the benefits of investing in Ecuador, including in natural resources, agricultural products, and tourism.