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EU, Ecuador to Settle Preferential Trade Agreement

Ecuador and the European Union signed an agreement last week that allow the South American nation to enjoy the same preferential trade relationship with the E.U. that its neighbor countries, Colombia and Peru already do under the Andean Community trade deal.

The agreement, signed by E.U. Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Ecuador’s Minister of Foreign Trade Fransisco Rivadeneira, will allow Ecuador to benefit from improved access to its main exports to the E.U. and will facilitate improved access to the Ecuadorian market for key EU exports. It is also expected to increase the stability and predictability of the trading environment.

In a European Commission statement, Commissioner Malmström said, “Ecuador has made economic progress over the last few years, reducing the poverty rate and making more and more European companies interested in investing in the country. I am convinced that our agreement will help Ecuador to consolidate and build on those achievements.”

The signing marked the completion of all necessary procedural protocol that would allow Ecuador to enter into the agreement. Malmström said the new trade framework should be complemented by solid and enforceable domestic policies for issues like labor rights, human rights and environmental protection.

“The negotiating process has been fast and smooth. The next challenge is to complete procedures such as ratification, and put this agreement in practice as soon as possible. I hope businesses will enjoy the results of this agreement already in 2016,” Malmström said.

Bolivia may be the next Andean member to integrate into the trade deal.