Statement by the Office of the Attorney General of Ecuador: Click here
Our country is open for business
BY NATALIE CELY SUAREZ
Help wanted: One experienced chocolate entrepreneur who can convert the best cocoa beans in the world and produce high-quality packaged chocolate bars and liqueurs for sale in the United States, Europe and Asia. It’s a sweet opportunity. Can you hear me, Mr. Ghirardelli?
Wanted: Someone who knows how to take the best fruits in the world — bananas, chirimoyas, pineapples and mangos in Ecuador — and make cookies, cakes and other delicacies there that will be purchased by Japanese businessmen, packed into children’s lunches by health-conscious European moms and served by Starbucks.
ISO: Someone who knows how to make money by investing in biofuels, producing anhydrous ethanol to add to gasoline for sale in Ecuador and neighboring countries.
Recently, I spoke to business, government and development assistance leaders during a tour through Washington, D.C., and New York, and I was shocked to learn how little American business and government leaders know about the business side of our “revolution” in my country, Ecuador.
Maybe it’s the fault of the media that are unable to see Latin America through anything but an outdated Cold War lens. Maybe we have done a poor job, since the election of President Rafael Correa in 2006, of making clear our desire to lift people out of poverty in Ecuador not just by government action, but through private investment.
So let’s be clear: Ecuador’s government sees and welcomes private investment as critically important to accomplishing our social and infrastructure goals. We know that we can’t get there by selling more bananas and cocoa beans. We need to add value. We’re looking for companies and investors willing to help us create good jobs and produce products in a sustainable way for our market and export.
We want biotechnology, auto parts, paper products, fertilizers for agriculture and other uses, solar panels, refrigerators and flat screen TVs, among other things. We have a reliable, growing domestic market, and the government will match your investment to get you going.
Because we’re blessed with lush jungles and fragile natural marvels, we want the private sector to help us become a country that generates and innovates with solar and geothermal energy and produces and uses biofuels. We want green energy in our future.
We’re already the world’s largest exporter of bananas, a producer of fine coffees and chocolate, a major exporter of shrimp, tuna and tilapia and the third-largest volume exporter of fresh flowers, mostly passing through Miami. Our priority now is to create and market value-added food and agriculture products, renewable energy, software and technology items and services, biochemistry and biotechnology and to expand our manufacturing, tourism, transportation and construction sectors.
Ecuadorean and foreign tourists visit our cities, jungles, beaches and mountains, and we welcome hotel and other sustainable tourism investments. To help those hotels provide comforts that travelers demand, we welcome companies that can manufacture or assemble heating and air conditioning equipment, substituting for imports.
We have begun bilateral discussions to bring our investment treaties up to 21st-century standards, and President Correa shortly will ask our Congress to enact a range of tax incentives and exemptions to promote productive transformation in our economy. Similar to actions taken by your federal and state governments, we’re creating Special Economic Development Zones to offer investors tax and tariff exemptions for investments that create quality jobs.
Ecuador will set aside $5 billion in co-financing for companies and individuals for certain kinds of investments, taking a temporary stake in these companies but phasing out of them over five years.
We are investing $7 billion in 2010 for economic reactivation projects. We’re eliminating tariffs on raw materials or assets imported for production in special economic zones and reducing income taxes on profits that are reinvested in prioritized sectors inside or outside of these zones. We already provide a 100-percent income-tax exemption for costs related to hiring and a 150-percent exemption when the workers are disabled. We offer sector-specific public goods and subsidies to innovation to help get new companies up with new products in production.
Finally, we want employees and suppliers to become investors,to create for them what some would call an Ownership Society. With these strategies and cooperation from domestic and international investors, we believe Ecuador and other developing countries can help lead the world economy back toward recovery and move our people forward economically.
Ecuador is open for business.
Natalie Cely Suarez, a graduate of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, is Minister Coordinator of Production, Competitiveness and Commerce and an advisor to Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa.
United States Department of State
Office of the Spokesman
February 26, 2010
The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) SportsUnited office has partnered with Major League Baseball (MLB) to bring a group of young baseball players from Ecuador to Arizona to experience the shared love of baseball between the United States and Ecuador.
The delegation of twelve boys and girls, ages 13-15, and two coaches will attend MLB’s Cactus League in Phoenix, February 26 – March 7, 2010. The visitors will get an inside look at Spring Training including in-depth tours of various stadiums and their training facilities. MLB will host the group at Spring Training games between the San Francisco Giants and Seattle Mariners; and, the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers.
The group’s itinerary will also include baseball practice and clinics with Little League in Chandler, a disability program with Special Olympics, and baseball and softball skills training at local high schools and colleges.
The ECA Sports Visitor Program introduces foreign youth to sports in America, through visits and clinics at high schools, clubs, and universities. All SportsUnited exchange programs also provide guidance to the participants about nutrition, strength and conditioning, Title IX, sports and disabilities, and team building.
For more information, please visit the SportsUnited website, or contact Laura Tischler, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State, at 202-632-6454 and TischlerLL@state.gov.
(Letter to the editor. February 6, 2010)
Gerardo Reyes’ newspaper article (El Nuevo Herald, February 4) about a “new” study conducted by the International Assessment and Strategy Center (IASC) makes several assertions, which do not fully reflect and, in fact, actually distort the facts about events in Ecuador.
Ecuador, Colombia and, for the most part, the entire region, are being racked by violence stemming from drug trafficking, with drug consumption in the US and Europe the driving force behind it all.
Because it shares a border with Colombia, Ecuador unfortunately is very much affected. The negative impact of forays by outlaw Colombian groups into Ecuador and drug trafficking linked to transnational organized crime is directly attributable to the Colombian government’s decision to confront these groups by pushing the problems out toward its borders. The Ecuadorean government regrets that these problems have not been successfully resolved as yet on Colombian soil.
Even though it does not have the vast resources available to it that Colombia does, Ecuador is the only country in the Andean region that is free of coca plant cultivation. The Government of Ecuador does not deny that as a result of drug trafficking, it is facing a breakdown of domestic peace and security, which has been my country’s prime asset. Nonetheless, Ecuador has posted the highest number of drug seizures in the region and, under President Rafael Correa’s administration, has carried out the highest number of operations against the outlawed Colombian groups entering the country. I am not alone in making such assertions;the US Department of State’s International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (http://www.state.gov/p/inl/rls/nrcrpt/2009/index.htm) and Country Report on Terrorism (www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/crt/2008/index.htm) echo these same facts.
At an event sponsored by two highly respected think tanks, the Inter-American Dialogue and Brookings Institution, on January 22 this year in Washington D.C, the US Ambassador to Ecuador, Heather Hodges, noted that 2009 was “an outstanding year for the Ecuadorean Government as far as drug seizures.” To illustrate this fact, the Ecuadorean military reported last week that patrolling the 728 kilometers of border with Colombia last year led to the discovery of 187 illegal temporary FARC shelters and an underground shooting range. Additionally, eight drug-processing labs and seven surveillance posts belonging to outlawed groups were closed down and 40,407 coca plants in 10 fields and 54 grenades, among other things, were seized.
Neither the IASC study nor the article appearing in El Nuevo Herald reported this information and neither of the authors has ever contacted Ecuadorean authorities to hear its story on the alleged facts, which makes the study biased and lacking in the impartiality and objectivity that a serious analysis should feature. I therefore believe that this study is part of a campaign to tarnish the image of my country and President Correa’s Administration and, furthermore, does not contribute to efforts to find solutions to the difficulties dogging Ecuador as a result of drug trafficking.
Ambassador of the Republic of Ecuador to the United States