Friday, May 17th, 2013
“Keep Trade Going” Campaign Earns Bipartisan Praise from Government, Business Leaders at Chicago Launch Event
Chicago, Illinois (17 May 2013) —The Embassy of Ecuador to the United States officially kicked off its nationwide “Keep Trade Going” campaign last night in Chicago to much fanfare and support from government and business leaders, including Illinois Governor Pat Quinn who submitted an official statement expressing his desire to strengthen cooperation between Illinois and Ecuador.
The event was convened by the Embassy of Ecuador and the Trade Office of Ecuador in Chicago to officially launch “Keep Trade Going,” an effort to educate the American public and key decision makers about the mutual benefits of trade preferences programs between the United States and Ecuador such as the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (APTA/ATPDEA) and the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences Program (GSP), which are set to expire on July 31, 2013. These programs have allowed Ecuador to export products such as roses, mangoes, quinoa, broccoli, and tuna to the U.S. duty-free. Ambassador of Ecuador to the United States Nathalie Cely has been in Chicago all week to meet with political leaders and business executives from both countries to strengthen relationships and promote the campaign.
“As you know, I have been very interested in fostering increased trade relations with various South American countries, including Ecuador,” Governor Quinn said in a letter. “…Together we must strive to reinforce the already productive partnerships our states enjoy, and enhance our capabilities to foster future business and trade.”
Other prominent attendees included former Republican Congressman from Illinois Robert Dold and President of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Jerry Roper. Roper discussed his deep appreciation for the high quality of Ecuadorian products, and the importance of US-Ecuador trade for the success of the new Chicago Perishable Center at O’Hare International Airport, which will be a destination in the Midwest to which exporters can directly ship perishable products without having to send them first through Los Angeles or Miami. This new state-of-the-art center will be located in the former Lynx Cargo Building and will officially open in the third quarter of 2013.
Shlomo Danieli, president of fresh cut flower wholesale business Shlomo Danieli, Inc. and an investor in the perishable center project, said the new center will reinforce Chicago’s position as the Midwest trade hub for the United States and Canada.
Also in attendance was Adam Rod representing the Chicago Department of Aviation who is the planning manager of O’Hare International Airport’s Modernization program. U.S. cargo flights are planning to soon begin flying directly between Ecuador and Chicago. During her time in Chicago, Nathalie Cely, Ambassador of Ecuador to the U.S., met with executives from United Airlines, one of the key airlines that is taking steps to make this possible. Rod said that he “fell in love with Ecuador” when he tasted the country’s fresh products and saw the beauty of Ecuadorian roses. He expressed his commitment to helping continue to allow Chicagoans and all Americans to purchase these products at affordable prices.
During her remarks, Ambassador Cely spoke about the ATPDEA’s noteworthy contributions to regional security in the Western Hemisphere because it promotes economic diversification and discourages drug cultivation in Ecuador. Ecuador has been determined to contribute to ending the War on Drugs and has invested more than $2 billion in security over the past 4 years, which has helped keep Ecuador essentially free of drug production. The current administration has spent six times more on security than the last three administrations combined and ten times more now than in 2008.
“We are [asking] the United States to keep competitive access to Ecuadorian products, which generate jobs and opportunities to both nations,” said Ambassador Cely.
The ambassador also applauded President Barack Obama’s recent remarks in Mexico and Costa Rica, where he presented a new vision for U.S. strategy in Latin American that focuses on economic growth as the way forward to continue fighting the drug trade.
Ambassador Cely also noted that trade preferences have created jobs and consumer surplus in U.S. In the case of roses, the 2012 American consumer surplus was $9 million. The ambassador was enthusiastic about untapped opportunities to enhance trade and tourism between Illinois and Ecuador. Currently Ecuador is the third largest South American trade partner for the state of Illinois, conducting more than $250 million worth of bilateral trade last year.
“With new logistical facilities that allow to direct flights between Chicago and Quito, I am optimistic that trade will pick up as well as tourism,” Ambassador Cely said.
Lack of U.S.-Ecuador trade preferences programs would hinder the speed and potential of the Chicago Perishable Center project.
The ambassador thanked to the City of Chicago and Governor of Illinois for working together to increasing trade, investment and tourism between Illinois and Ecuador, and most importantly for the warm welcome and for caring for the more than 70,000 Ecuadorians that live in the Greater Chicago area.
For more information on “Keep Trade Going” visit facebook.com/keeptradegoing or follow on Twitter @KeepTradeGoing.
Media Contact: Katie Hill, BLJ Worldwide, (212) 486-7070, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, May 14th, 2013
For nearly 20 years, the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA) has provided duty-free access to high quality Ecuadorian products at prices that allow them to become staples of American households—for example, fresh roses, broccoli, quinoa and artichokes. These products create thousands of jobs for farmers, transportation and distribution employees, as well as vendors and the entire production chain in the United States and in Ecuador. The ATPDEA is, in short, an economic development tool for the establishment of new industries that create opportunities, growth and alternatives to drug trafficking and related crimes. Currently, Ecuador is the sole beneficiary of the program.
The ATPDEA expires on July 31, 2013, this is why the United States Trade Representative (USTR), in April, began the public comment process with a view to its eventual renovation. The USTR received more than 107 comments in favor of Ecuador and showing support for the continuation of bilateral trade, which unequivocally shows the mutual benefit that the ATPDEA represents for both countries and the region in general. These support letters add to the more than 77 companies who sent letters of and participated in the hearings in favor of the ATPDEA in 2012 and the petitions to add roses, preserved artichokes, and frozen broccoli to the GSP list of eligible items. Both programs expire this July 31, 2013.
The extension of trade preferences align with President Barak Obama’s position expressed in his most recent visit to Latin America, who, when taking about the issue of security, said that the best way to protect the borders is to generate business opportunities and economic growth.
The Embassy of Ecuador in the United States appreciates the strong support for the uninterrupted continuation of international trade received from the Chambers of Commerce of both countries, airports, ports, airlines, importers, American investors and exporters. Among the support were letters from the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, Ecuadorian American Chamber of Commerce, Florida Trade Association and Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. We have also witnessed the support of the Port of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Airport. Other large companies that spoke out were Hellman Worldwide Logistics, International Trading Center, and Boyd Jenerette Himself as well as smaller companies such as Phillip’s Flowers.
Embassy of Ecuador
May 14, 2013
Wednesday, May 8th, 2013
Ecuadorian growers and exporters celebrate the 74th Annual Flower Mart
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 7, 2013)- At the 74th Annual Flower Mart at Washington, D.C.’s National Cathedral this past weekend, there was a noticeably colorful addition this year, thanks to roses provided by Ecuador. The beautiful Ecuadorian blossoms were featured alongside displays from Japan, Jamaica, Netherlands, the United States, Hong Kong, Austria, Sri Lanka and other nations. The Annual Flower Mart, whose theme this year was “America the Beautiful,” is a unique attraction for D.C.-area residents, tourists and families in the Nation’s capital gaining praise from several former and current US officials.
“As Secretary of State, I had the great honor of representing our country all across the globe,” said former First Lady, U.S. Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in a letter. “I have always appreciated how the Flower Mart pays tribute to the flowers, culture, crafts, and cuisine of a different culture each year.”
Ecuadorian roses are renowned for their high-quality and wide variety and nearly a fourth of all roses imported into the U.S. come from Ecuador. But the roses are not only beautiful, they contribute to national security in both Ecuador and the United States and provide hundreds of thousands of needed jobs. The supply chain – from the growers in Ecuador to the mom and pop floral shops in your hometown – supports 110,242 indirect jobs and 36,528 businesses in the U.S. alone.
Partnerships such as the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA), which provides duty free treatment for Ecuadorian products such as fresh cut roses, have created legal and viable economic alternatives to drug cultivation in Ecuador, such as growing roses. The growth of the Ecuadorian flower industry has created jobs for thousands of farmers, 50% of whom are women heads-of-household, and dissuaded many from involvement in the Latin American drug trade.
If Congress doesn’t act before July 31, 2013, the ATPDEA will expire, dealing a devastating blow to the strategic partnership between the United States and Ecuador regarding counter-narcotics among other fundamental mutual benefits.
To find out more about “Keep Trade Going,” follow @keeptradegoing on Twitter or www.facebook.com/keeptradegoing .
About the 74th Annual Flower Mart
Held since 1939, the National Cathedral Flower Mart is Washington, D.C.’s annual outdoor festival for garden enthusiasts and families that features annuals, perennials, landscape exhibits, Olmsted Woods and Garden Tours, musical entertainment, gourmet food, a book sale, and children’s activities such as a rock wall, moon bounce, mini-Ferris wheel and a century-old restored carousel. All proceeds of the annual event go to the National Cathedral for maintaining its 59 acres of gardens and grounds.
The Ecuadorian roses at the 74th Annual Flower Mart were provided by ExpoFlores, Flowerfest, Valleflor, Gardaexport, Ecuador Unique and Grupo Florisol.
Wednesday, May 8th, 2013
Ecuadorian Ambassador Urges Maintaining Trade as Cost-Effective Key to Regional Security
New York, NY (May 7, 2013)- On Monday, on a Columbia University panel discussing security policy alongside officials from Honduras, Mexico and Guatemala, Ecuadorian Ambassador to the US, Nathalie Cely, declared that maintaining trade programs, like the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA), is a “win-win solution” for the United States and its partners. Programs like the ATPDEA promote security in the Western Hemisphere and reflect President Barack Obama’s call for a shift in US-Latin America policy that prioritizes economic rather than military solutions to the war on drugs.
The blue-ribbon panel, called “Ensuring Security & Stability in the Western Hemisphere,” was moderated by Columbia University’s Provost John H. Coatsworth. Panelists also included Ambassador of Honduras to the United States Jorge Hernández-Alcerro, Head of the Special Affairs Office for the Embassy of Mexico Ariel Moutsatsos, and Security and Human Rights Advisor to the Embassy of Guatemala Edgar Villanueva.
According to Ecuador’s Ambassador Nathalie Cely, improving regional and national security has been a top priority for President Rafael Correa’s administration, which has spent six times more on security than the last three administrations combined and ten times more now than in 2008. Ecuador continues to seek innovative ways to curtail the Latin American drug trade, including focusing on economic development through partnerships such as the ATPDEA, which provides duty free treatment for Ecuadorian products such as fresh cut roses, broccoli, tuna, and artichokes. These products support thousands of jobs for farmers, transportation and distribution employees, and vendors and consumers both in the United States and Ecuador. Economic diversification and the growth of the flower industry in Ecuador has created jobs for the poor and women heads of households, providing them with viable economic alternatives to drug cultivation.
Ambassador Nathalie Cely also reinforced that Ecuador helps stop the flow of drugs within its border regions through “economic inclusion and social investment”. She said the ATPDEA, which is set to expire without Congressional action before July 31st, is of “fundamental importance in these efforts” and “very cost effective.”
“The U.S. government has dedicated $25 billion to the drug war in 2014 alone. The ATPDEA costs merely $40 million per year, and has the added benefit of stimulating jobs and stability on both sides of the equator,” Ambassador Cely informed the panel.
The Ambassador warned that Ecuador faces the gravest security challenges in its border regions.
“We cannot choose our neighbors,” she said. But by focusing on “the frontier” Ecuador has reduced the temptation of drug trafficking by providing increased training and higher wages for alternative industries in areas where drug trafficking is most prevalent.
However, the Ambassador emphasized the need for the United States to hold up its end of the bargain by renewing mutually beneficial economic partnerships such as the ATPDEA, and continuing to tackle issues of drug consumption and addiction at home.
“Surprisingly, most Americans are unaware of the impact illegal drug consumption has on Latin American countries,” said Ambassador Cely.
Sponsored by Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) Defense and Security Student Organization and the Latin American Student Association (LASA), the panel discussion explored the challenges Latin American leaders face and the strategies they have come up with to counter drug trafficking.
The panelists echoed Ambassador Cely’s assertion that US collaboration with its neighbors in the region is essential to ensure success. Furthermore, the countries represented praised the new counter-narcotics strategy announced by President Obama, calling for continued efforts to tackle the drug problem comprehensively and look beyond military solutions.
“Without much debate, what you see is that all of our countries are in alignment. Let’s try a holistic approach [to improving security],” said Ariel Moutsatsos, Head of the Special Affairs Office for the Embassy of Mexico.
“Honduras has spent more than 10 percent of our national budget on justice, security, and defense,” said Ambassador Hernández-Alcerro.
“The international community must be committed to long-term stability”, added Villanueva. “In Guatemala, we are investing heavily to get our people out of poverty, and have reduced poverty by 9 percent from its peak.”
The panel discussion is part of a series of events Ambassador Cely will be participating in this summer as part of the “Keep Trade Going” campaign to educate and create awareness about the importance of U.S.-Ecuador relations and the ATPDEA. To find out more about “Keep Trade Going,” follow @keeptradegoing on Twitter or www.facebook.com/keeptradegoing .
Tuesday, May 7th, 2013
Highlighting Mutual Economic & Security Benefits of U.S.-Ecuador Trade, Campaign will Garner Support for ATPDEA & GSP Renewal
Washington, DC (May 7, 2013) - This week, the Embassy of Ecuador in Washington, D.C. launched a wide-scale social media campaign using Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest as part of “Keep Trade Going”, a larger effort to educate American audiences about the economic and security benefits of two U.S.-Ecuador trade preferences set to expire this year: the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA) and the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). The social media campaign aims to mobilize support from farmers, businesses large and small, policy experts, NGOs, and community leaders on both ends of the political spectrum and both sides of the equator, all of whom will be affected if the trade preferences are allowed to expire this year.
The campaign will share important facts, figures, and stories about U.S.-Ecuador trade, and encourage supporters to contact the U.S. Congress to urge their support for renewal of the trade preferences and sign the “Keep Trade Going” petition at http://www.change.org/petitions/keep-trade-going-and-renew-the-atpdea. Additionally, later this month, a new website (www.keeptradegoing.com) will be launched to serve as a central resource for information and action.
For nearly 20 years, the ATPDEA (previously ATPA) has provided duty free treatment for high-quality, affordable Ecuadorian products that have become staples in American homes - such as fresh cut roses, broccoli, and artichokes. In fact, 1 in 4 roses in the U.S. comes from Ecuador. These products support thousands of jobs for farmers, transportation and distribution employees, and vendors and consumers both in the United States and Ecuador. The security benefits of the ATPDEA can be seen in Ecuador, the only country in the Andean region that has been able to remain free of illicit cultivation. Additionally, Ecuador has advanced policies to combat drug trafficking using its own resources, and has invested more than $2.13 billion in this effort, the largest investment of any Latin American country in relation to GDP. Despite these efforts, the reasons for why this program originated still exist and it is important to recognize that Ecuador continues to fight for security and stability.
Now, the ATPDEA is set to expire on July 31st unless renewed by the U.S. Congress, meaning that these products may become more expensive or disappear entirely. Further, the diversification of the Ecuadorian economy has importantly created jobs for poor, women heads of households in rural areas, providing them with viable economic alternatives to drug cultivation. By opening up lucrative employment options outside of the Latin American drug trade, the ATPDEA is in turn keeping American neighborhoods safer.
The embassy encourages every individual who cares about issues such as national and regional security, access to affordable consumer products, economic growth, job creation and women’s empowerment, to support the “Keep Trade Going” social campaign and share these messages with his or her personal networks.
Take action today by following “Keep Trade Going” on social media:
At any point, you can help the “Keep Trade Going” campaign by sending a letter to your Congresswoman or Congressman about what the ATPDEA means to you.
Embassy of Ecuador
May 7, 2013