UAE, DUBAI - Diplomacy
Minister of International Trade, Ecuador
Francisco Rivadeneira attended university to address foreign affairs worldwide, particularly in the areas of international economics and political sciences as they apply to international relations, international trade, legal and economic integration. He also studied conflict resolution and international economic negotiations. The Minister of Foreign Trade has held positions in several public and private organizations, such as the Foreign Ministry as Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade and the economic Integration of Ecuador and the Export and Investment Corporation of Ecuador (CORPEI).
We firmly believe that UAE is one of the main consolidation and distribution hubs in the world. If Ecuador aims to promote and export its products within the region, Dubai plays a fundamental role. One of the reasons we have seen an increase in trade with the Emirates and the region is due to the fact that we opened a trade office in Dubai. From Dubai we can gain more efficient access to other Gulf countries. From there, we can export goods and services, for example, to Qatar, Saudi Arabia and all states in the Gulf region. We are also able to reach Iran and Iraq, as well as the Caucasus and Central Asia; these regions contain very interesting emerging markets that have traditionally benefited from Ecuadorean goods, such as bananas and roses, during the era of the Soviet Union.
One aspect that has to be considered is the fact that Ecuador and countries associated with the GCC are complementary as we offer a different variety of exports. The Gulf region has a food security problem, and the UAE is no exception. Therefore, they are continuously searching for new food providers, and Ecuador has a great capacity for food production and exportation. For example, one region in Ecuador, the Gulf of Guayaquil, has the capacity to produce enough agricultural products to feed all of Latin America. This is because Ecuador has one of the best geographical locations in the world; we are located on the Equator, and we have microclimates due to our significant differences in altitude. You can produce anything you want, from tropical goods to those grown in more temperate climates, such as dairy products and cereals like rice and maize. The potential is enormous. We also know that the UAE is looking to diversify its investments and focus on other parts of the world particularly in light of the global financial crisis, which is why the notion of risk has completely changed. Previously, it was relatively safe to invest in Europe and the US, and countries like ours were seen as a risk for investment. However, Ecuador is now a leading country in government investment for development, and the country has focused this development on three main pillars: physical infrastructure, energy, and telecommunications. There is strong potential for investment in tourism and hotel infrastructure, and Dubai is widely known for being a world leader in these sectors.
We want people from the GCC region, particularly the UAE, to develop their businesses in Ecuador, and, thus, we can become the hub for the entire Gulf region in Latin America, particularly in South America. Nowadays, we are able to provide the facilities and incentives to invest and establish enterprises in Ecuador. Through trade agreements that Ecuador currently maintains, tariff-free trade to every country in South America becomes achievable. The government of Dubai through the Department of Economic Development has helped us develop plans for increasing exports to their region. The UAE government also supports the possibility of opening an Ecuadorean consulate in their country. Additionally, the Port of Dubai, Dubai International Airport, and the free trade zones can help our companies distribute their products once they arrive in the region.
In February 2014, we signed a co-share agreement between Emirates and the main Ecuadorean Airline, TAME; a government-funded company with one of the highest growth rates in Latin America at this moment. We have reached an agreement to work together to move passengers and cargo in specific hub airports, such as New York. We also have direct flights to Sío Paulo, and we are looking at Buenos Aires, Chicago, and Los Angeles in the future. We will sign a general agreement on cooperation in economic and trade matters with the UAE government and are also ready to sign a double-taxation agreement.
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