Rafitication of Free Trade Agreement will significantly boost exports of bananas and non-traditional fruits in the coming years

Ecuador will soon be able to export bananas and non-traditional fruits like blueberries and dragon fruit to China under a zero tariff after its National Assembly voted to ratify the country’s free trade agreement with the Asian giant on 7 February.

Ecuador FTA China

The deal, which will come into force in 60 days, is set to significantly boost trade between the two countries. It will eliminate tariffs on 50 per cent of Ecuador’s exports to China immediately, rising to 99.6 per cent over the next ten years.

China has been Ecuador’s second-largest trading partner since 2022. According to the Central Bank, between January and November 2023, Ecuador exported 1.697m tonnes of products to China worth US$5.291bn.

According to a study by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Ecuador’s exports to China could grow by around 7 per cent in the short term. But if other non-tariff measures are reduced the increase could be closer to 30 per cent.

Right now, Ecuadorean banana exports to China are subject to a 10 per cent tariff, but under the terms of the new deal this will be gradually reduced to zero over a ten-year period.

China is Ecuador’s fifth biggest banana market: according to Acorbanec it took 15.2m boxes of the fruit in 2023, an increase of 45 per cent on the previous year.

Acorbanec’s executive director Richard Salazar believes exports could triple or even quadruple in the first three years as a result of the deal.