China, Ecuador explore FTA talks, sign MOU on investment and economic cooperation
Published: Jan 26, 2022 11:56 AM
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is one of the most populated ports in the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador. Photo: CFP

Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is one of the most populated ports in the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador. Photo: CFP

China and Ecuador are actively exploring the negotiation of a free trade agreement (FTA) and have completed a feasibility study on the issue, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said, after the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Tuesday to establish a working group on investment and economic cooperation.

The MOU was signed during a video conference held by officials from the two countries, aiming at exchanging views on promoting free trade cooperation, promoting trade and investment, and strengthening mechanisms in the field of trade and the economy.

Wang Shouwen, vice minister of the MOFCOM, said that the two countries' leaders reached an important consensus in August 2021 on deepening pragmatic cooperation. 

Wang noted that the MOU is aimed at jointly promoting exchanges and practical cooperation on key areas, including investment and trade, actively exploring investment cooperation, and deepening cooperation in e-commerce.

"China is willing to strengthen investment cooperation with Ecuador in the digital economy and green development, and maintain close communication under the framework of multilateral mechanisms," Wang said. 

China hopes that Ecuador will continue to provide Chinese enterprises with an open, fair and non-discriminatory market environment, according to Wang.

César Montaño, vice foreign minister of Ecuador, and Daniel Legarda, vice minister of the Ministry of Production, Foreign Trade, Investment and Fisheries, said that Ecuador regards China as an important economic and trade partner, as China has become the second-largest trading partner of Ecuador and invested in many infrastructure cooperation projects in the country, according to a MOFCOM statement.

The officials noted that Ecuador is willing to maintain close communication with China on FTA negotiations and strengthen cooperation in fields such as customs and civil aviation.

In 2021, bilateral trade grew significantly to $11 billion, up 45 percent year-on-year, showing strong resilience and vitality, official statistics showed.

Global Times