Blog: Signing trade agreement with Ecuador - Hoofdinhoud
In today's Foreign Affairs Council, I met with trade ministers to discuss the modernisation of our Trade Defense Instruments. I also provided my colleagues with updates on the negotiations related to the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA), Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) and the latest negotiation rounds with Japan and Mercosur.
We also spoke about our new trade agreement with Canada, which has now been signed, and on which the European Parliament will hopefully vote before the end of the year. In light of the US Presidential election, discussions were held on TTIP and the future of American trade policy. Indeed, the victory of Donald Trump has created a degree of uncertainty concerning what his priorities as President will be, and there is reason to believe that there will be an extended pause in the TTIP negotiations. I also answered questions on this topic at today's press conference.
An exciting development of today is that Ecuador now has joined the Trade Agreement between the EU and Colombia/Peru. This is truly great news, as it will open up markets for trade on both sides. Trade is key to stimulating growth and creating jobs, and I'm happy to say that this agreement contains specific chapters dedicated to sustainable development (a distinct characteristic of our modern trade deals). Once the European Parliament has given its approval, hopefully before Christmas, the agreement can be applied provisionally.
Ecuador's main exports to the EU are products such as fisheries, cut flowers, coffee, cacao, fruit and nuts. Ecuador is also a big exporter of bananas, a product under specific provisions in the agreement.
The deal will eliminate tariffs in all industrial and fisheries products, increase market access for agricultural products, improve access to public procurement, services and investment markets, and further reduce technical barriers to trade. The removal of tariffs alone will create savings for European exporters of at least €106 million euros per year, and Ecuadorian exports will save up to €248 million in removed duties. We also estimate that the agreement will have a positive impact on the Ecuadorian GDP. As Ecuador is a developing country, the agreement has been tailored to factor in the developmental needs of Ecuador and the tariff cuts will be implemented only gradually over a 17 year period, with the EU liberalising almost 95% of tariff lines upon entry into force.