QUITO: China and Ecuador will sign a free trade agreement after almost a year of negotiations, Ecuador's president said Tuesday, with the deal expected to boost growth in the South American country.
"Good news to start 2023. The FTA negotiation between China and Ecuador has been successfully concluded," President Guillermo Lasso said on Twitter, reports AFP.
China is one of Ecuador's main trading partners, with bilateral trade estimated at more than $10 billion annually.
It was Ecuador's main non-oil trade partner in the first half of 2022, the trade ministry in Quito said.
No date had been set yet for the formal signing of the deal, which would take place after formalities were completed, it said.
The agreement, once signed, will make Ecuador the fourth Latin American country to have a free trade deal with China, after Costa Rica, Peru and Chile.
The deal is expected to boost Ecuador's exports of shrimp, bananas, flowers, cocoa and coffee, the trade ministry said in a statement, and also to "open the doors for the export of non-traditional products such as dragon fruit, pineapple, mango, blueberries, quinoa, processed foods, fresh and canned fruits."
Lasso announced in September his government had secured a separate deal to extend payment terms and lower interest rates on $3.2 billion in debts held with two Chinese state-affiliated banks.