The WTO reports that Ecuador told a meeting of the WTO’s Committee on Balance-of-Payments Restrictions on 21 July that the final phase-out of the surcharges was made effective on 1 June. The report stated that:
Ecuador imposed the surcharges in March 2015, for 15 months, in response to a sharp drop in oil prices starting in late 2014, which led to a deterioration in the country’s balance of payments. The tariff surcharges were initially fixed at between 5% and 45% and were applied to nearly 3,000 tariff lines, or 38% of the country’s total.
Following an earthquake which struck the country in April 2016, Ecuador decided to extend the surcharge for one year, until June 2017.
Humberto Jiménez Torres, Vice Minister of Negotiations, Integration and Trade Defence in Ecuador’s Ministry of Foreign Trade, told the committee that the safeguard made it possible for Ecuador to protect its external financial situation, restore macroeconomic balance and safeguard its dollarized economy.
Ecuador’s government said that it was not considering re-establishing, or establishing any new, safeguard measure for balance of payments purposes. According to Mr. Torres, Ecuador is seeking to increase trade by expanding its network of free trade agreements.