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Ecuador - Foreign Relations

Ecuador always has placed great emphasis on multilateral approaches to international problems. Ecuador is a member of the United Nations (and most of its specialized agencies), the Organization of American States, and many regional groups, including the Rio Group, the Latin American Energy Organization, the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), and the Community of Andean Nations. From August 2009 to November 2010, Ecuador held the rotational presidency of UNASUR.

Under the Correa administration, Ecuador has increased its efforts to strengthen and diversify its political and economic ties with countries in Latin American, Europe, and Asia. In Latin America, President Correa has traveled to Peru, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Panama, Uruguay, Haiti, and Cuba, for example, where his government has signed agreements to promote economic cooperation. Similarly, outside the region, Correa visited Spain, Italy, France, China, Iran, and Russia, among other countries.

The provisions of the 1998 Constitution on issues concerning foreign policy were scarce. In the 1998 Constitution international relations appeared framed within a perspective of regulation. The Constitution 2008, draws on a social approach and an integrationist spirit, and recovered for the State basic dimensions of sovereignty in the national interest. The new constitution innovated by establishing the principle of universal citizenship, momentum a new system of fair trade, the commitment to integration Latin America, the free movement of citizens, equity and justice in international relations.

The new 2008 Constitution states that "Ecuador is a territory of peace. It is not permitted to set up foreign military bases or facilities for military purposes." (Art.5). Internal development requires exercising a sovereign foreign policy an international, commercial and action oriented integration coexistent with peaceful construction and an international community based on equity. To support the harmonious development of the country, which promotes multilateralism and negotiated agreements to contribute to the equality among States. The Constitution directs the State to link the country to the economic processes in international-economic conditions of justice and equity, both at the commercial level and in other areas of the world economy.

The new 2008 Constitution states that the State has the duty to ensure and defend the sovereignty of Ecuador, whose concept in this draft Constitution goes beyond the sovereignty and territorial boundary. Article 4 concerns the Ecuador's right to exercise rights on the synchronous geostationary orbit, maritime areas and Antarctica. "The state contracts with natural or legal persons carry implied waiver of these all claims except diplomatic contracts that give diplomatic service". (art.307) "The State may not conclude international treaties in which the Ecuadorian government cedes sovereign jurisdiction at the behest of international arbitration, in contractual disputes or nature Trade between the state and individuals or private law".(art. 422)

In October 1998, Ecuador and Peru reached a peace agreement to settle their border differences, which had festered since the signing of the 1942 Rio Protocol. This long-running border dispute occasionally erupted into armed hostility along the undemarcated sections, with the last conflict occurring in 1995. The U.S. Government, as one of the four guarantor nations (the others were Argentina, Brazil and Chile), played an important role in bringing the conflict to an end. The peace agreement brokered by the four guarantors in February 1995 led to the cessation of hostilities and a Military Observers Mission to Ecuador-Peru (MOMEP), which monitored the zone. In addition to helping broker the peace accord, the US has been active in demining the former area of conflict and supporting welfare and economic projects in the border area.

According to the agreement of Neighborhood Relations of the National Chancellery, the relationship between Ecuador and Peru is reflected in the significant results obtained from the strategies established in the National Development Plan for the Border Region. The main lines of binational action are related to the improvement of social infrastructure and promotion of private investment. So far, they have invested about seven billion dollars in development projects in the area of the border, especially in areas such as social security, health, electrification, implementation of a permanent immigration status and the promotion of small and medium enterprises. Also highlight other projects such as demining Tiwintza; the control of illegal mining in the area of border integration and the reactivation of the joint committee on drug control. The 9th. regular meeting of the Binational Border Commission Ecuador-Peru took place in September 2016 in Quito.

The ongoing conflict in Colombia and security along the 450-mile-long northern border are important issues in Ecuador's foreign relations with Colombia. The instability of border areas and frequent encroachments of Colombian guerillas into Ecuadorian territory has led the Ecuadorian army to deploy more troops to the region. Although Ecuadorian officials have stated that Colombian guerrilla activity will not be tolerated on the Ecuadorian side of the border, guerrilla bands have been known to intimidate the local population, demanding extortion payments and practicing vigilante justice. The Correa administration is pursuing a policy known as Plan Ecuador to develop the northern border region and protect citizens from the drug threat.

A Colombian military incursion into Ecuador in March 2008 caused the Government of Ecuador to break diplomatic relations for several years. Although the Correa administration's reaction to the news of the Colombian military's operation against the FARC in Ecuadorian territory was initially cautious, the Government's position increasingly hardened after learning that the operation was not a "hot pursuit" scenario but planned in advance with the FARC bombed and attacked while sleeping, in direct contrast with what President Uribe reportedly told President Correa via telephone on March 1. The GOE and Ecuadorian press characterized the incident a clear violation of international law and norms, and Correa has broken off diplomatic relations with Colombia. The GOE vehemently denied that they maintained any inappropriate contacts with the FARC. In November 2010, Ecuador and Colombia fully re-established diplomatic relations.

Critics charge that it took six years for the government of Rafael Correa to destroy the Ecuadorian Foreign Service. It was about, basically, six years in which Ricardo Patiño was head of the Foreign Ministry. During that time, ranging from 20 January 2010 until the 3 March 2016, the Foreign Ministry has undergone transformation and institutional distortion more traumatic since 1941, when there was the conflict with Peru and Ecuador's foreign service. According to January data 2016, the Foreign Ministry had 2132 people. This figure should be compared with the 687 officials in the 2005.

  • China and Ecuador
  • Ecuador - China Relations

    The entrance en masse of Chinese oil companies into Ecuador is a potent manifestation of China's national strategy of securing direct oil contracts around the world to reduce China's reliance on oil shipped from and through hotspots such as the Persian Gulf and the Straits of Malacca.

    Ecuador had proven a difficult and expensive training ground for China. In general, President Correa wanted Chinese investment in Ecuador, in petroleum, mining, telecommunications and infrastructure.From a Chinese perspective, Correa did not seem to understand that China was negotiating "commercial deals" with Ecuador, similar to deals with other countries, and that China would not want to set a concessionary precedent for other countries.

    With their $1.4 billion acquisition of Canadian EnCana, in 2006 China's state oil companies announced their entrance as major players in Ecuador's and the region's petroleum industry. Now with active participation in at least five of Ecuador's petroleum blocks, and with further investments in the offing, Quito is playing host to a steady inflow of managerial, financial and technical representatives of China's major and minor oil companies.

    The overseas arms of three major Chinese oil conglomerates, the China National Petroleum Company (CNPC), the China Petroleum Company (Sinopec) and Sinochem all are present and have ongoing operations in Ecuador. The fourth major Chinese oil conglomerate, the China National Overseas Oil Company (CNOOC), has concentrated its efforts on offshore drilling and does not operate in Ecuador.

    Ecuador had received USD 1.8 billion of investment from China by 2007, making it the leading recipient of Chinese investment in Latin America. Ecuador's main exports to China are agricultural products, wood, metal and fish. The biggest single commodity was banana. China's exports to Ecuador include textiles and garments, toys, shoes and televisions.

    Doing business had become more challenging under the Correa administration. The Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry reviewed every MOU or LOA signed with China in order to protect its sovereignty and commercial interests. The MFA was doing this with all countries. Ecuador had become more protectionist in regard to imports of Chinese textiles, ceramics and shoes.

    CNPC and Sinopec agreed to pay 99% of extraordinary revenues per the presidential decree implemented in October 2007. The Chinese had attempted to negotiate a unilateral exception but were unsuccessful and understood that an exception for China would open the door for difficulty with other multinationals.

    President Correa visited China on November 20-25, 2007. The six-day visit to China represented the most time Correa had spent in any one country on an official visit as president. Correa spent three days and four nights in Beijing, one day in Xian and one day in Shanghai. A large delegation of cabinet-level ministers accompanied the President. While in Beijing, Correa met with Chinese President Jintao HU at the Great Hall of the People, with legislator Banguo WU, and with Changchun LI, a member of the 17th (current) Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

    The Ecuadorians signed 14 bilateral agreements to promote economic cooperation in mining, hydrocarbons, education, healthcare, science and sports. The agreements were long on intent and short on substance. Correa spoke at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing on "Socialism of the 21st Century." Correa also attended the opening ceremony of a China-Ecuador Tourist and Trade event and an exhibition of Ecuadorian contemporary art in Beijing.

    China had shown itself willing to make large deals in Ecuador (as it also appeared to be doing in other oil-producing states in the region, particularly Venezuela). In July 2009, the two countries announced a four-year oil sales deal, under which China providing a $1 billion advance payment. The terms of the deal reportedly favored China. Ecuadorian press reported that during the November 2009 visit of Jia Qinglin, Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative conference (CPPCC) national Committee, the two countries announced the signing of three cooperation agreements, including an arrangement to buy Chinese military planes for Ecuador's Air Force. This was on top of the January 2009 $60 million deal to purchase an air defense radar system from the China Electronics Technology Group Corporation. During his visit, Jia reportedly emphasized the benefits that China sees in enhancing economic cooperation between the two countries. He encouraged Chinese companies to increase commercial and investment ties with Ecuador, noting that Chinese investment in Ecuador had reached $2.2 billion and also that two-way trade in 2008 was almost $2.5 billion, 50% above 2007 levels.

    China was disconcerted by Correa's verbal attack in December 2009 over China's negotiating position for loans to Ecuador, in which Correa alleged that even the IMF had not treated Ecuador as poorly as did China. According to local press reports, Ecuadorian Finance Minister Viteri traveled to China in mid-January 2010 to negotiate various credits with the PRC government. Correa had twice asked China to look at investing in Manta (site of the former-U.S. Forward Operating Location) as a transportation node, but Chinese companies were neither interested nor experienced in such an overseas project.

    Faced with a $3-4 billion (or higher) fiscal deficit in 2010, and with no ability to print money or issue debt, and no intention of returning to the IMF or World Bank, the Ecuador was desperate to find large-scale financing from non-traditional sources. Its efforts to date with Russia and Iran were a bust, but China proved a more willing, if demanding, source of both financing and investment.

    Economic cooperation and trade was strengthened in 2013. CRCC-Tongguan Investment Co. Ltd. signed an investment agreement with the Ecuadorian side on the Mirador copper mine project. The Export-Import Bank of China and the Ecuadorian side signed a financing agreement on Minas San Francisco hydro power station. A carrier rocket carrying a small satellite made by Ecuador was successively launched at China's Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. The two countries signed the Air Services Agreement and the Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income.

    On October 4, 2016 local time, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who was paying an official visit to Ecuador, held talks with Foreign Minister Guillaume Long of Ecuador in Quito. Wang Yi expressed that although China and Ecuador are far away from each other geographically, our hearts are tied together. Both China and Ecuador are developing countries that share similar historical experience and common goals, and we always understand, support, and help each other. In 2015, President Xi Jinping and President Rafael Correa jointly established China-Ecuador strategic partnership, which marks a new phase of bilateral relations. With fruitful results from cooperation in all fields, bilateral relations are at the best stage in history. China is willing to work with Ecuador to constantly push for comprehensive and in-depth development of bilateral relations.

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    Page last modified: 19-02-2017 17:20:42 ZULU