Technical teams from Turkey and Ecuador met in Quito last week (w/c 23 November) marking the initial step in the resumption of negotiations between the two countries, with the aim of signing a trade agreement in 2016.
After the meeting, Ecuador’s minister of foreign trade, Diego Aulestia, met with both delegations for the results of the technical meeting.
The parties agreed to intensify the exchange of information to help them refine their proposals for a first round of negotiations that would take place in Ankara at the end of the first quarter of 2016.
The resumption of the negotiating process will involve consideration of tariff treatments and of other issues which have an impact on Ecuador's exports to Turkey, which have averaged US$170m a year over the past four years.
As reported by the press of the Andean country, Eduardo Ledesma, president of the Association of Banana Exporters of Ecuador (AEBE) noted that “a tariff reduction for bananas entering Turkey would be very important for Ecuador’s banana industry”.
He said the signing of a trade agreement with Turkey “would be a great contribution to the country, not just the banana sector”.
Experts of the international banana trade point out that the vast majority of Ecuadorean bananas shipped to Turkey are discharged into the free zone of the port of Mersin before transiting to neighbouring countries such as Iran and Syria and therefore pay no fees. By contrast, bananas entering the Turkish domestic market of about 78m people are subjected to import duties of US$15.75 per box plus a further US$0.25 per box in municipality duties.
Around 150,000-250,000 boxes of bananas are imported to Turkey for the domestic market each year.
No duties are paid on Ecuadorean bananas imported by Iraq while a total of US$1.60 per box is paid by Iranian importers, of which US$1.30 per box are import duties and US$0.30 covers customs costs.