The Business Year

Julio José Prado

ECUADOR - Economy

Julio José Prado

Minister, Ministry of Production, Foreign Trade, Investments and Fisheries

Bio

Julio José Prado has led projects at a national level, such as the Sectorial Action Plan and the Month of Innovation for the Coordinating Ministry of Production, Employment and Competitiveness (2010), the First Market Intelligence System for the Competitiveness and Industry (2009), and the Economic and Social Impact Study of the New Airport of Quito (2006). He is the author of over 100 academic publications, scientific conferences, and other publications in specialized economic magazines, research, cases, and academic notes. He is also author of “From Shock to Action: Mindset and Indispensable Tools to Resurface and Adapt in the Midst of Chaos.”

Ecuador is working on creating an environment where entrepreneurs can take advantage of its opportunities and human resources and be part of global value chains.

How does the government plan to bring “More Ecuador to the world and more of the world to Ecuador”?

From the first day of the new government, we have sent a clear message: we foresee more Ecuador in the world and more of the world in Ecuador. President Guillermo Lasso, by executive decree, declared the investments promotion policy a priority through good regulatory practices and measures of simplification, efficiency, and transparency in administrative processes. On this basis, our government envisions a strengthened business climate in Ecuador. Locally, we pursue a competitiveness improvement agenda in line with the newly drafted National Development Plan (NDP) 2021-2025. Consequently, our Vice-Ministry of Export and Investment Promotion (Pro Ecuador) promotes the best business opportunities available with an investment projects portfolio in key productive sectors of the economy. According to the guidelines of NDP, we work with all government authorities and local officials, as well as private associations and chambers of commerce to select the most attractive investment projects that can capture the interest of foreign investors. Our 24 commercial offices in North America, Asia, Europe, and Latin America promote both our renewed business climate and the strengthened portfolio of projects in international events like the Ecuador Open for Business Forum 2021 and other events around the world. Equally important, we are working on PPP schemes for the development of sustainable infrastructure and to provide public utility services that allow for private participation and to share the risk in a contractual relationship in the long term. Also worth noting are the economic issues addressed by NDP 2021-2025, which include entrepreneurship, foreign trade, investment, financial modernization, tourism, production, sustainability, and agile taxation. One of the primary objectives of our economic policy is to promote an economic system with clear rules facilitating foreign trade, tourism, investment attraction, and a modernized financial system.

What incentives or differentiating factors does Ecuador have to offer potential investors?

With a resilient democracy, Ecuador resembles a safe haven in the region these days. Certainly, a differentiating factor for foreign investor is our currency. By investing in a dollarized economy, foreign firms, and multinationals can take their capital investments safely and profit or reinvest in a win-win transaction. Aside from the geographical and logistic advantages of being on the equator, our local workforce is another key production factor in their ability to provide quality goods and services consistently. Not only that, we offer potential national and foreign investors the possibility of entering into an investment contract with Ecuador to secure certain tax incentives, such as income tax holiday for up to 12 years, depending on the investment location, in addition to foreign outflow tax exemptions. Six special economic development zones established near ports and international airports have attracted businesses dedicated to service and technological sectors, mainly due to the young workforce produced by neighboring universities. As part of the Andean Community, regional supply chains are being consolidated for further market efficiencies and expand local market base.

What actions are being taken to improve the investment climate in the country?

The Lasso administration has started talks with trade partners such as the US, Mexico and the Pacific Alliance, Panama, India, Russia, China, South Korea, Japan, and other important trade partners. FDI inflows, historically concentrated in extractive activities, has evolved toward productive transformation sectors over the years. Ecuador offers opportunities along all phases of the value chain, such as the development and maintenance of seaports, first-class highways, and logistics services, to transport our products to a world that demands healthier food, intermediate, and final value-added products, as well as investments in business services in firms that require innovative and technological solutions of all kinds. Finally, our NDP 2021-2025 in Ecuador has been articulated with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a platform to propel Ecuador well into the 21st century for the generations to come.

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