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Ecuador - US Relations

The United States recognized the independence from Spain of Colombia, of which present-day Ecuador then formed a part, on June 19, 1822, when President James Monroe received Manuel Torres as the Colombian Chargé d’Affaires. Ecuador withdrew from the Colombian federation in 1830 and received U.S. recognition as a separate state in 1832. The two countries concluded a treaty of peace, friendship, navigation, and commerce in 1839, and the United States sent its first resident diplomatic agent to Quito in 1848. Diplomatic relations have continued since that time, with the United States and Ecuador participating together in inter-American institutions.

The United States effectively recognized Ecuador in a June 4, 1832, letter from Secretary of State Edward Livingston to Ecuadorian President Juan José Flores. Writing at the direction of President Andrew Jackson, Livingston acknowledged a letter from Flores dated January 13, 1832, in which Flores had announced that he was “at the head of the Government of the State of the Equator.” Livingston also conveyed President Jackson’s gratitude for Flores’s assurance that U.S. citizens in Ecuador would continue to enjoy the rights and privileges guaranteed to them under an existing treaty with Colombia. Though Livingston expressed Jackson’s hope that Ecuador, New Granada (present-day Colombia and Panama), and Venezuela might reunite and thus achieve domestic tranquility, the letter indicated a recognition of Ecuador’s separation from the Colombian federation.

Another indication of U.S. recognition of Ecuador came in May 12, 1834, instructions to Robert B. McAfee, Chargé d’Affaires in New Granada, with which the Department of State transmitted the commission of Seth Sweetser as consul in Guayaquil. The dispatch referred to Guayaquil as a city “in Ecuador,” and it asked McAfee to tell Sweetser to “apply to the Government of that State for his Exequatur.” Sweetser subsequently presented his commission to the President of Ecuador and accepted his exequatur from him on February 24, 1835. Sweetser’s unconditional acceptance of his recognition as a consular representative from the Ecuadorian authorities constituted further U.S. recognition of Ecuador as a sovereign state. Moreover, in instructions dated April 21, 1836, Secretary of State John Forsyth authorized Chargé McAfee to negotiate a treaty with the Ecuadorian minister expected in Bogota, confirming once again U.S. recognition of Ecuador’s status as an independent republic.

The United States established diplomatic relations with Ecuador on August 12, 1848, when Chargé d’Affaires Van Brugh Livingston presented his credentials to the Ecuadorian Government. He became the first resident U.S. diplomatic agent in Ecuador. The rank of the U.S. Legation in Ecuador was raised to Embassy on March 5, 1942. The Minister to Ecuador, Boaz Long, was raised in rank to Ambassador.

The United States and Ecuador have mutual interests in combating narco-trafficking and cooperating in fostering Ecuador's economic development and reducing poverty. Ties have been strengthened by the presence of an estimated one million to two million Ecuadorians living in the United States, by 250,000 U.S. citizens visiting Ecuador annually, and by approximately 50,000 U.S. citizens residing in Ecuador. More than 100 U.S. companies are doing business in Ecuador.

The United States assists Ecuador's economic development directly through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), through multilateral organizations such as the Inter-American Development Bank, and through trade and technology transfers facilitated by the Foreign Commercial Service. In addition, the U.S. Peace Corps and the State Department's Narcotic Affairs Section operate sizable programs in Ecuador. Total U.S. assistance to Ecuador amounted to over $70 million in 2010.

The United States is Ecuador's principal trading partner. In 2010, Ecuador exported about $6.04 billion in products to the U.S., more than a 30% increase over 2009, and accounting for about 35% of Ecuador's total exports. For over 15 years Ecuador has benefited from duty-free entry for many of its exports under the Andean Trade Preferences Act (ATPA) and received additional trade benefits under the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA) in 2002. The U.S. Congress approved a number of extensions of those benefits. However, the ATPDEA expired on February 12, 2011. In May 2004 Ecuador entered into negotiations for an Andean free trade agreement with the U.S., Colombia, and Peru, but negotiations between the U.S. and Ecuador lapsed in 2006. The Correa administration has stated it has no interest in negotiating a free trade agreement with the United States, but has expressed interest in negotiating a “trade for development agreement.”

The United States exported $5.4 billion in goods to Ecuador in 2010, a 38% increase over 2009, accounting for about 26% of Ecuador's imports. Ecuador is the 39th-largest market for U.S. exports. Major U.S. exports to Ecuador include machinery, chemicals and fertilizers, computers and electronic equipment, petroleum products, transportation equipment, and paper. The best prospects for U.S. firms are in the printing and graphic arts, construction equipment, automotive parts, cosmetics, medical equipment, telecommunications equipment, and travel and tourism sectors. U.S. firms remain competitive and successful in many sectors of the market.

Although there are problems with money laundering, border controls, and illegal immigration, Ecuador shares U.S. concern over narco-trafficking and the activities of illegal armed groups. The government has maintained Ecuador virtually free of coca production since the mid-1980s, and is working to combat money laundering and the transshipment of drugs and chemicals essential to the processing of cocaine (with U.S. support). Ecuador also gives priority to combating child labor and trafficking in persons. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and Financial Action Task Force of South America are evaluating a new money laundering law enacted by Ecuador in 2010. Meanwhile, Ecuador remains on FATF’s list of countries that have strategic anti-money laundering and counterterrorism finance deficiencies they are working to address.

Ecuador claims a 320-kilometer-wide (200-mi.) territorial sea. The United States, in contrast, claims a 12-mile boundary and jurisdiction for the management of coastal fisheries up to 320 kilometers (200 mi.) from its coast, but excludes highly migratory species. Although successive Ecuadorian governments have declared a willingness to explore possible solutions to this issue, the U.S. and Ecuador have yet to resolve fundamental differences concerning the recognition of territorial waters.

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Page last modified: 14-06-2019 18:02:41 ZULU