Chinese investment received positively in Ecuador

By Song Shengxia Source:Global Times Published: 2016/11/15 23:58:39

Jose Maria Borja Photo: Song Shengxia/GT

Jose Maria Borja Photo: Song Shengxia/GT

Editor's Note:

Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to visit Ecuador on the first leg of his three-nation Latin American tour starting Thursday. Xi will be the first Chinese President to visit Ecuador since the two nations established diplomatic ties in 1980. In an interview with Global Times reporter Song Shengxia (GT), Ecuadorian Ambassador to China, Jose Maria Borja (B) suggested that rather than generating bad publicity, Chinese investment in large infrastructure projects is warmly welcomed in Ecuador as well as Chinese financing, hands-on experience and advanced technology.


GT: What are your expectations on President Xi Jinping's upcoming visit to Ecuador?

B: This year marks the 36th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Ecuador. This is also the first time for Ecuador to receive a Chinese president for a state visit since the two nations established diplomatic ties in 1980. Apart from advancing the diplomatic ties between the two nations, cooperation in the economy, technology, education and culture will also be promoted. A Sino-Ecuador business investment forum will be held in Quito, the capital of Ecuador on Wednesday, with 100 Chinese businessmen expected to attend it. We hope the two countries will make significant achievement in business and investment through the forum.   

GT: China has been a key investor in large infrastructure projects in Ecuador. But these projects have not progressed as smoothly as expected, and some projects have been criticized by residents for posing an ecological disaster to the local environment. What should Chinese companies do to avoid negative publicity?

B: I don't believe Chinese investment has negative publicity in Ecuador especially among the Ecuadorian general public. But there are always some small groups which oppose any project. This phenomenon is not unique to Ecuador but occurs everywhere in the world. I don't believe that these small groups represent the general public in Ecuador. Instead, Chinese investment in large infrastructure projects including the construction of eight hydropower projects, roads, hospitals and schools is extremely welcome because these projects substantially bolster the development of Ecuador. Meanwhile, I believe Ecuador offers a good investment environment to Chinese investment and companies and the Ecuadorian people highly recognize the support and contribution China has made to boost Ecuador's development.            

GT: What is the biggest obstacle to achieving greater economic and trade cooperation between China and Latin American nations? How can we overcome it?

B: Instead of delving into the issue of economic and trade barriers, I would rather talk about the opportunity. Chinese companies enjoy huge development opportunities in Ecuador and Latin America as a whole. This is because there are abundant opportunities for investment in Latin America. It is extremely vital to receive Chinese investment, financing and hands-on experience in engineering and construction from Chinese companies as well as borrow advanced technology from China. Since Chinese companies excel at these areas, they will certainly embrace a lot of opportunity in Latin America. We are particularly eager to learn from China's experience in infrastructure building. 

GT: Media reported that an oil deal signed between Andes Petroleum, a consortium of two Chinese State-owned oil companies, and Petroecuador for extracting oil over half-a-million acres of indigenous territory in the Amazon is marred by corruption. How do you comment on these reports? 

B: As I mentioned before, there are always different voices and these negative voices cannot represent the views of Ecuador's general public. Given Ecuador is an oil exporter and its oil reserve is mainly concentrated in the Amazon region, exploitation of these resources will inevitably affect the environment. What we should do is to minimize the negative impact on the environment. Like any other country in the world, Ecuador faces the similar issue - how it can better utilize resources while minimizing its environmental damage. Ecuador needs to make use of its resources to boost its economy but at the same time we have been working hard to preserve the nature and protect our environment.      

GT: How do you evaluate Chinese firms' investment of flood control projects in Ecuador?

B: Like any other infrastructure venture China has built for Ecuador, China's help in building water utilization and flood control projects have brought an actual benefit to Ecuadorian people. Due to its geographical location, Ecuador is the country that is more frequently affected by El Niño, causing heavy rain and floods. Although such a situation will not occur every year, it will have a huge impact on coastal areas when El Niño strikes the country, particularly the residents and agricultural regions, causing considerable economic loss and infrastructure damage. Therefore, we are badly in need of flood control projects which can better protect our people, agricultural products and economy. When El Niño struck Ecuador in April, the flood control projects Chinese companies helped build proved effective - some regions remained unaffected while other regions bore a much smaller impact than previously.

GT: Chinese investors and businessmen in Ecuador complained that they do not enjoy preferential taxes while doing business there. How can China and Ecuador ensure a win-win in economic and trade cooperation?

B: In terms of business, we follow the principle of treating both domestic and foreign businessmen equally. Ecuador has certain policies and measures to encourage overseas investment. For example, we allow foreign companies or foreign investors to enjoy some preferential conditions while they remit the money they have made in Ecuador. We also have measures in place to protect the safety of foreign investment. We have also rolled out policies to encourage the joint ventures between Ecuador and its foreign partners.

We hope to receive more investment from China and that Chinese investment can benefit Ecuador. We expect to continue to boost bilateral trade between China and Ecuador so that more Ecuadorian products can enter Chinese market. Currently, we export banana, shrimp, flowers, mango and oil to China and expect exports to China could grow considerably in the future.      

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