Monday, January 28th, 2013
By Ecuadorian ambassador Nathalie Cely
U.S. President Obama surprised many during his second inaugural address when he counted climate change, which received little serious attention during the presidential campaign, among his top second-term priorities. If he is serious about tackling climate change in his second term, President Obama will need new allies and partners in countries that have already made meaningful gains on climate change, such as Ecuador.
Ecuadorians hold a unique role in the climate change debate. It was in Ecuador, home to the Galápagos Islands and Yasuní rainforest, that Charles Darwin studied the world’s highest concentration of biodiversity and developed his Theory of Evolution. Our national identity — from our indigenous people to the mosaic of heritages that make up the modern state — is tied to our unique sense of life and our common purpose to protect it. Environmental rights are enshrined in our national constitution, which also commits the country to “the promotion of efficient energy, the development and use of environmentally clean practices and technologies such as renewable, diversified energies with low environmental impact.”
Ecuador has also gone through its share of environmental traumas. In the 1970s, foreign oil companies entered the country and caused billions of dollars of environmental damage. Ecuador learned from these experiences, instituting two important changes: holding all companies to the highest of safety and technological standards, and implementing a national plan to shift the country’s energy matrix to clean renewable energies.
Part of this national plan is the Yasuní-ITT Initiative, a bold commitment by Ecuador to leave 20 percent of its oil underground — and to prevent the emission of an estimated 1.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide. These 846 million barrels lay underneath Yasuní National Park, located in the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest, one of the most biologically diverse locations on the planet.
During the 2012 campaign, President Obama committed to greater cooperation with Latin America, and climate change is a perfect place to start. The U.S. can engage with countries like Ecuador on several fronts to push forward true action.
First, bilateral technical cooperation and exchange can be enhanced. By 2016, more than 90 percent of Ecuador’s energy will be supplied by renewable energy sources, saving more than $100 million in annual fuel costs and enabling us to export clean energy. The lessons learned from this experience — particularly on the impact of these “transitional issues” on our culture and economy — can and should be shared with the U.S.
Second, Ecuador is launching a regional science, technology and innovation hub, Yachay City of Knowledge, which will gather the hemisphere’s leading technology companies and research institutes to work on forward-thinking solutions to global challenges such as climate change. A number of leading U.S. and international companies, governments and educational institutions are joining the project, and further collaboration has the potential to yield enormous advantages for all involved.
Third, the U.S. should look to progressive plans put forth by Ecuador such as the Yasuní-ITT initiative, which has already garnered more than $200 million in support from international sources. Firm U.S. collaboration could ensure its success. Ecuador also unveiled a bold proposal at the recent United Nations climate change meetings to institute a small tax on oil purchased by developed countries, which would have minimal impact on everyday consumers but a tremendous impact on global climate change. By supporting Ecuador’s proposal, the U.S. can finally deliver on its global climate change promises, such as the 2009 pledge to help finance an ambitious $100 billion Green Climate Fund to help developing countries, which three years later remains woefully underfunded.
Today, as the U.S. experiences its own “environmental awakening” sparked by a series of recent tragic natural and man-made catastrophes, and President Obama works to live up to his second-term pledge, it’s time the world’s second-largest emitter of CO2 looks outward to those like Ecuador who are willing to lend a hand.
Source: The Hill
Wednesday, January 9th, 2013
The Embassy of Ecuador in Washington announces that an investigation requested by the Coalition of Gulf Shrimp Industries (COGSI—an alliance formed by shrimp industries located in the Gulf of Mexico, in the states of Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, and Texas) has begun. The Coalition demands the application of countervailing duties, or import tariffs, on the imported shrimp originated from the US’s most important providers: China, Ecuador, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and India.
The COGSI argues that in the previously mentioned countries, including Ecuador, the taxation laws, programs, and incentives regarding the shrimp industry can be considered inadmissible subsidies.
The request made by the COGSI gave way to an investigation process which will be carried out by the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) and the Department of Commerce (DOC).
The USITC is in charge of measuring the economic impact of the measure requested by the COGSI on other sectors of the economy, such as the food industry or the aggregate demand structure, as well as determining whether the prices of the imported shrimp—which do not pay tariffs—are indeed negatively affecting the local producers. The USITC will also determine whether the arguments set forth by the Coalition justify, in economic terms, the application of countervailing duties on the previously mentioned countries.
The Department of Commerce is in charge of analyzing whether the laws, taxes, and production incentives of the investigated countries regarding the shrimp industry are, in fact, impermissible subsidies and, according to that conclusion, whether it is admissible to apply such countervailing duties.
The system that the Federal Administration of the US must legally implement allows for the participation of the interested parties, including foreign governments, in the investigation process. Therefore, the Ecuadorian Government and the Chamber of Aquaculture will take part in it.
It is important to consider that a similar request was filed a few years ago by US shrimp producers, accusing Ecuadorian shrimp industries of unfair competition or dumping. Ecuador demonstrated that such unfair competition was inexistent and the United States had to lift the measures imposed on Ecuadorian shrimpers. The Embassy of Ecuador considers that its arguments are strong enough to, once again, show that the position of the Coalition of Gulf Shrimp Industries has no basis with respect to Ecuador.
Embassy of Ecuador
January 8, 2013
Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
WASHINGTON, DC (January 8, 2013) – The Embassy of Ecuador in Washington, DC is proud to announce that for the fifth consecutive year Ecuador has been named the best international retirement destination for North Americans according to International Living, a leading magazine devoted to covering overseas retirement.
InternationalLiving.com’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2013 ranks the best international locations to retire based on data and information collected from correspondents in countries most popular with U.S. and Canadian retirees. For 2013, twenty-two countries were scored across eight categories: real estate, special retirement benefits, cost of living, ease of integration, entertainment and amenities, health care, retirement infrastructure and climate.
“We feel honored that Ecuador continues to be the number one retirement destination for nearly 20,000 North Americans,” said Ecuador’s Ambassador to the US Nathalie Cely. “We are proud to share the wonders of our beautiful country and our welcoming culture with the world.”
Ecuador is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, whose beaches, mountains, tropical rainforests, and temperate climate allow visitors enjoy nature at a glance.
According to InternationaLiving.com’s editor Dan Prescher, “The combination of a welcoming culture, the great weather, the affordability and its proximity to the United States all go together to make it a good package.” One of the main reasons Ecuador was chosen for the fifth consecutive year as the number one place to retire for North Americans is that the South American country offers a good quality of life at a reasonable price. Monthly living expenses range from $900 to $1,400, and senior residents in Ecuador enjoy a number of discounts for services, public transportation, and refunds of sales tax.
Panama, Mexico, and Costa Rica were also ranked among the top five retirement destinations for North Americans, proving that Latin America is a growing region with substantial economic opportunities.
For more about International Living’s “The World’s Top Retirement Havens in 2013 Index”, please visit:
Friday, January 4th, 2013
The Embassy of Ecuador in the United States represented by Ambassador Nathalie Cely presented Earth Day Network with an official letter from Ecuador’s Secretary of State to the Yasuni-ITT Initiative Dr. Ivonne Baki, a bond from the Central Bank of Ecuador and a symbolic diploma recognizing Earth Day Network’s historic contribution to the multi-donor Yasuni-ITT Trust Fund administered by the United Nations Development Programme. This symbolic recognition was received by Earth Day Network’s Senior Vice President Susan Bass during a special meeting at the Ecuadorian Embassy.
In November, 2011 Earth Day Network and the United Nations Development Programme signed a Memorandum of Understanding in order to collaborate and raise funds for Ecuador’s Yasuni-ITT Initiative through the U.S. 501(c) 3 tax-exemption.
Thanks to the collaboration with Earth Day Network and the many private individuals who donated, $153,041.22 was raised.
The donated funds will go towards the Yasuni-ITT Initiative, an historic commitment by Ecuador to keep nearly 1 billion barrels of oil underground in Yasuni National Park, identified by scientists as the most biodiverse park in the world.
The Earth Day Network was created by Denis Hayes and other activists who helped launch the first-ever Earth Day in 1970. Today, the Earth Day Network works with over 22,000 partners in 192 countries to broaden, diversify, and mobilize the environmental movement.
Friday, January 4th, 2013
The President of the Republic instructed the Foreign Ministry and the Embassy of Ecuador in Washington to arrange for the revocation of Mr. Pedro Delgado’s visa in the United States. Mr. Pedro Delgado held a diplomatic visa in the United States, because of his spouse’s diplomatic appointment at the Consulate of Ecuador in Miami.
Following discussions with the United States Embassy in Quito, the Foreign Ministry officially requested in writing that the U.S. Government revoke the visa granted to Mr. Pedro Delgado.
The Embassy of Ecuador in Washington, following discussions with the Ministry and upon instruction by the President of the Republic, made arrangements with the State Department in Washington, which confirmed last Friday that Mr. Pedro Delgado’s visa had been revoked and that he would be officially notified in the beginning of January.
The Embassy of Ecuador in the United States acknowledges the cooperation that the U.S. government has provided for this matter and its understanding that the request made by the government of President Rafael Correa is an important step for Ecuadorian courts to properly try Mr. Pedro Delgado for his confessed crime.