Thursday, June 27th, 2013
As we have previously stated, Ecuador has received an asylum application from Mr. Edward Snowden. No decision on this request has been made. We are carefully reviewing this application in accordance with our legal obligations under our national constitution and in compliance with the various international human rights and refugee conventions that we are party to.
Certain political officials in the United States have sought to exert political pressure on Ecuador as we execute our sovereign duty to review this application. This interference has included threatening a trade preference program that has benefited both of our nations for over two decades. As we have stated previously, any political or economic consequences of our decision regarding the asylum request are outweighed by our legal and humanitarian obligations.
Therefore, Ecuador has made the decision to officially suspend our support for the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA). We want to make it perfectly clear to this applicant and all asylum applicants that their human rights are not to be bargained with or subject to political pressure.
Ecuador will commit to use our own resources to support the industries and workers who may be affected by the lapse of ATPDEA.
June 27, 2013
Wednesday, June 26th, 2013
As has been reported, Mr. Edward Snowden has requested political asylum in Ecuador. This request will be reviewed responsibly, as are the many other asylum applications that Ecuador receives each year. The legal basis for each individual case must be rigorously established, in accordance with our national Constitution and the applicable national and international legal framework. This legal process takes human rights obligations into consideration as well. The Government of Ecuador has requested that the US submit its position regarding this applicant in writing so that it can be taken into consideration as part of our thorough review process.
This current situation is not being provoked by Ecuador.
As the Government of Ecuador carries out its obligations, the Embassy of Ecuador strongly rejects recent statements made by United States government officials containing detrimental, untrue, and unproductive claims about Ecuador.
Ecuador has signed all the human rights instruments of the Hemisphere and is fully committed to the rule of law and the fundamental principles of international law.
June 26, 2013
Thursday, June 20th, 2013
Ecuador honors World Refugee Day by increasing access for thousands of refugees to jobs, critical services to improve living conditions
Washington, DC (June 20, 2013)—As the international community marks World Refugee Day on June 20th, Ecuador, home to the largest number of refugees in Latin America, continues to implement wide-reaching reforms to deal with the considerable and constant influx of refugees across its borders. Under 2008 reforms to Ecuador’s constitution, refugees enjoy all the rights and responsibilities afforded to Ecuadorian citizens, including access to free health care, education and other vital services aimed at improving their lives.
“Protecting the rights and dignity of the thousands of refugees in Ecuador is both a humanitarian responsibility and a national priority,” explained Ecuador’s Ambassador to the United States, Nathalie Cely. “The Ecuadorian Government has dedicated substantial resources to address their needs so that they can rebuild their lives, find safe haven, which makes us all safer and better able to pursue the prosperity that every human strives for.”
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that there are more than 43.7 million refugees and internally displaced people in the world. In Ecuador, there are nearly 60,000 registered refugees and more than 1,000 new applications for asylum each month. More than 98% of these refugees have fled Colombia since the year 2000 due to the killings, kidnappings and other threats in their home country.
To discourage discrimination and promote equality and respect for refugees, the Ecuadorian government conducts training workshops in both public and private institutions – National Police, Armed Forces, judicial authorities, ministries, media, civil society groups, among others. After three years in the country, registered refugees can apply for Ecuadorian citizenship.
“Without finding safety in Ecuador, they [refugees] would most likely not be alive,” said actress and activist Angelina Jolie, a UNHCR goodwill ambassador, during her 2012 visit to Ecuador. “Nobody wants to be a refugee, to have to leave their home. Nobody wants to live on borrowed land and to have to beg for a visa every year and not be able to know what their life or their children´s life will be, or whether they can access any jobs or obtain medical help.”
World Refugee Day was established by the United Nations to honor the courage, strength and determination of women, men and children who are forced to flee their homes under threat of persecution, conflict and violence.
For more on political and social developments in Ecuador, please visit www.ecuador.org or follow us on Twitter at @EmbajadaEcuUSA.
Friday, June 14th, 2013
June 11, 2013 – The fifteen nations of Algeria, Bangladesh, Ecuador, Fiji, Georgia, Indonesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, and Yemen have formed the Alliance of GSP Countries to urge extension of duty-free treatment of U.S. imports from their countries. That duty-free treatment occurs under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), which expires on July 31, 2013 – in just 50 days. The Alliance seeks for Congress to renew the GSP quickly and for as long as possible. If not, the nations face adverse impacts to their economies and workers, and U.S. companies will pay $2 million daily in unexpected tariffs for essential raw materials and product inputs.
Today, the Alliance began sending letters from its Ambassadors to Members of Congress requesting GSP renewal. The letter includes an appendix of real-world examples of how the GSP reduces poverty and creates economic development by expanding exports from the 127 GSP emerging economies. The Ambassadors cautioned, “…Investors and businesses in our countries require a predictable environment regarding the duty treatment of their products in the U.S. market. If Congress allows the GSP to lapse or if it is extended only for a short time, certainty disappears and the program’s benefits are seriously undermined.” (Click here to see the letter)
The importance of the GSP cannot be underestimated. GSP benefits more than 3.8 billion people living in two-thirds of the world’s economies. The GSP also strengthens the U.S. economy by generating tens of thousands of jobs and providing U.S. manufacturers with needed inputs. In 2012, alone, the GSP saved U.S. companies and consumers $750 million in duties on $20 billion of U.S. imports. Seamless GSP renewal is a priority for many American companies that keep competitive through importing raw materials, intermediary goods, and machinery duty-free.
Previous experience shows that every time Congress allows GSP to lapse, GSP trade suffers for the long term. Retroactive renewal places financial strains on U.S. companies and causes the loss of hard-fought U.S. market niches for GSP’s exporters.
The Ambassadors’ letter is part of an advocacy campaign involving U.S. importers and others affected by the loss of duty-free U.S. imports. Information on the Alliance and GSP is at www.allianceforgsp.org Media Contacts: Yasmine Rouaï, Sandler Trade LLC, at 301.648.0218 (email@example.com); and Marideth Sandler (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 202.492.7473.
The Alliance for GSP Countries
c/o Sandler Trade LLC 202.776.0650
Thursday, May 30th, 2013
At Harvard Club Luncheon Ambassador Announces Diversification of Ecuador’s Production Matrix & Return to Capital Markets
(May 30, 2013) New York, NY – Ambassador of Ecuador to the United States Nathalie Cely announced on Wednesday to an audience of New York City business leaders, investors, and government officials at the Harvard Club that after five years of heavy public investment to improve security and establish a rigorous social safety net, Ecuador is ready to diversify its production matrix and insert itself more aggressively in the global economy.
During the initial years of President Rafael Correa’s administration the focus has been on substantial public investment in areas such as natural security, infrastructure, education, and human development, to help the country regain competitiveness, the Ambassador explained. The administration has invested more than $2 billion in security over the past four years, which is six times more than the last three administrations combined and ten times more now than in 2008. This investment has helped Ecuador become one of the few countries in the region that is free of illicit drug production.
Ecuador is now primed to turn its focus outward, the Ambassador said, noting that the country hopes to soon sign a trade agreement with the European Union and has made plans to return to international financial markets.
Noting Ecuador’s stable and growing economy under the current administration’s new economic paradigm, the Ambassador said Ecuador plans to issue sovereign debt before the end of 2013 or in the first quarter of 2014. While the details of any bond offering have not been determined yet, Ambassador Cely said that the government is in touch with a number of investment banks about an offering. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) declared Ecuador as the third fastest-growing economy in the region for 2011-2012.
“The growth of Ecuador’s economy since 2008 is superior to to Colombia, Chile, México, and Brazil,” said Ambassador Cely. “We are ready to compete on the global stage… and go back to financial markets.”
Ambassador Cely noted Ecuador’s impressive progress in terms of human and social development indicators. According to the United Nations, during the period of 2007-2012 Ecuador was one of four countries in the world with the highest advancement in human development. Ecuador is also among the top three countries in reducing poverty and number one in reducing inequality, according ECLAC. This “social pact” that the government of Ecuador has entered into with its citizens, is the most important factor contributing to Ecuador’s readiness to return to capital markets, Ambassador Cely said.
The event, which was sponsored by the Colombian, Ecuadorean, Peruvian & Venezuelan American Associations, provided a forum for the Ambassador to discuss issues such as bilateral trade between the United States and Ecuador and foreign investment. In attendance were high-ranking representatives from Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, BNP Paribas, and other investment power players.
Ambassador Cely underscored the current Ecuadorian administration’s focus on the private sector as the engine of economic growth and job creation, and continued search for increased public-private cooperation. She emphasized that Ecuador seeks to attract foreign investment to generate jobs, but also to help improve areas such as science and technology.
Opportunities to invest in Ecuador lie in strategic sectors such as electricity, hydrocarbons, and mining. Ecuador’s National Assembly is expected to pass the first round of new reforms to mining laws this week, which will fast track opportunities for private investment in Ecuador’s mining industry, which is small currently and consists primarily of gold and copper mining. Ecuador is also seeking foreign investment in infrastructure and its booming tourism industry. In recent years Ecuador has become a top global destination for American retirees.
In her presentation, the Ambassador also discussed Ecuador’s current “Keep Trade Going” campaign to rally Congressional support for U.S.-Ecuador trade preference programs such as the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA), which awards duty-free access to U.S markets to a set of high-quality, non-competitive Ecuadorian products and is set to expire on July 31, 2013, unless renewed by the U.S Congress. The mutually beneficial program was launched more than 20 years ago to combat drug trafficking by strengthening legitimate industries in Ecuador, and has been both cost-effective and successful at accomplishing this goal.
Ambassador Cely reinforced that trade with the United States continues to be of utmost importance to Ecuador. In 2012 total trade between the U.S. and Ecuador reached $17.15 billion dollars and exports from the U.S. to Ecuador have more than doubled in the last four years. The “Keep Trade Going” campaign aims to keep this trade relationship strong and allow it to evolve long-term.
To find out more about the “Keep Trade Going” campaign, please visit www.keeptradegoing.com or follow on Twitter at @KeepTradeGoing or Facebook at facebook.com/keeptradegoing.