Quito, Ecuador – Daniel Watson, Assistant United States Trade Representative for the Western Hemisphere today delivered remarks to celebrate the entry into force of the Protocol to the Trade and Investment Council Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Ecuador Relating to Trade Rules and Transparency.
The Protocol was negotiated under the auspices of the 1990 United States – Ecuador Trade and Investment Council Agreement (TIC) and signed in Quito in December 2020. The agreement is composed of four annexes on Trade Facilitation and Customs Administration, Good Regulatory Practices, Anti-Corruption, and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises.
The full remarks as prepared for delivery are below:
Thank you and good afternoon.
It is a great pleasure to be with you today. Our visit to Ecuador is part of the first USTR trip to South America under the Biden-Harris Administration. It is one of our first trips anywhere in the world since the COVID pandemic began. And it is also my first trip to Quito.
I’m incredibly grateful for the warm welcome we have already received, and given our ambitions for strengthening this important partnership, I know it won’t be my last.
We place a high importance on trade relations with Ecuador and with the region.
I know that Ecuador, as most parts of the world, has been deeply affected by the pandemic. We’re so glad that this type of in-person engagement is now possible, but we know that there is still much to do to promote recovery.
I’d like to congratulate President Lasso on the success of his administration’s vaccine efforts. And of course, we are very pleased that the U.S. donation of 2 million Pfizer vaccines this summer contributed to that effort.
Today, we are here to mark the entry into force of the Protocol on Trade Rules and Transparency, a significant update to the US - Ecuador Trade and Investment Council Agreement, which was signed in 1990.
Since that time, our countries have gone through significant changes. We have worked closely at times, while at other times several years have gone by without engagement on our trade relationship.
But in 2018, we hit our stride. And since then, we have been working closely toward our shared goal of reducing barriers to trade, promoting economic growth, and deepening our trade relationship.
This new Protocol on Trade Rules and Transparency is the fruit of that effort.
The Protocol that enters into force today is composed of four annexes on Trade Facilitation and Customs Administration, Good Regulatory Practices, Anti-Corruption, and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises.
Collectively, these four annexes promote smarter, more efficient regulatory processes, high standards of integrity for public officials, more efficient customs procedures, and cooperation between governments to create opportunities for small and medium enterprises, including those owned by women and other underserved communities.
This Protocol is also among our highest standard agreements in these areas. The fact that we were able to complete this negotiation in such a short period of time demonstrates Ecuador’s commitment to making progress in these areas. I look forward to continuing to work with our Ecuadoran colleagues on the full implementation of these annexes.
We have new leadership in both of our countries and as we look forward to future trade engagement, I’d like to add a few words about the Biden-Harris Administration’s trade priorities under.
Under the leadership of Ambassador Katherine Tai, we are crafting a worker-centered trade policy that works for everyday people. And part of that means valuing high labor standards, good stewardship of the environment, and taking into consideration the views and needs of many stakeholders, including under-represented groups.
During this visit and in future engagement, we will highlight these themes and how we can collaborate with Ecuador to ensure the benefits of trade reach the widest possible number of citizens in both our countries.
I’d like to thank Vice-Minister Daniel Legarda, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mauricio Montalvo, and Alfredo Zeller from Provefrutas as well for hosting us today. I look forward to the rest of our visit.