Nathalie Cely, Ecuador's ambassador to the U.S., last week opened a new commercial office of Ecuador in Miami.
This is the fourth commercial office of Ecuador based in the U.S.
Cely hopes this will strengthen bilateral trade relations between Ecuador and the southeastern U.S.
According to Cely, each year, Ecuador and the U.S. conduct $15 billion worth of trade. Florida is the second most important trade partner in the U.S. for Ecuador.
The additional office will serve as a place of economic opportunities that will provided American consumers with increased access to inexpensive Ecuadorian products from small exporters.
The office aims to diversify Ecuador's exports to the southeastern U.S., as well as promote U.S. investments destined for Ecuador, according to a news release.
Cely spoke to HispanicBusiness via email this week, and here is what we learned:
HispanicBusiness: Was there any event in particular that called for the opening of this office? If so, please explain.
Nathalie Cely: Miami was a natural choice as a location for a new commercial office due to the fact that 40,000 Ecuadorians have chosen Florida as their home. Many of Miami's business leaders trace their roots back to Ecuador. Partly as a result of this connection between our people, $2.2 billion in trade between Miami and Ecuador took place in 2011 alone. We look forward to this figure continuing to grow.
HispanicBusiness: What are you most excited about in opening this new office in Miami? (i.e. What kind of new opportunities does this bring to both countries?)
Nathalie Cely: I am very excited to introduce this new office to Miami and South Florida's business leaders because it demonstrates how far Ecuador has come in terms of our economic progress over the past few years.
Particularly for Ecuadorian immigrants living in South Florida who left Ecuador many years ago, this office will be a symbol of a new era of success for their home country. After all, Ecuador was one of the few countries that was able to actually grow its economy while in the midst of a global recession, and we are so proud of that.
HispanicBusiness: What kind of trade opportunities are currently available now between America and Ecuador?
Nathalie Cely: Ecuador is a country open to the U.S. market. Most raw materials, machinery and high-level technology are exempted from tariffs in Ecuador and contribute to the modernization of production in Ecuador.
Many products that Ecuador exports to the U.S. are duty free as well, such as bananas, fish products, coffee, cocoa and its derivatives, flowers and many others that are used as raw materials in the U.S. and also generate jobs and opportunities in this country.
Ecuador has modernized its economy and is creating favorable conditions for investment, with a legal framework that creates tax incentives for direct investment and promotes activities designed to diversify the production of Ecuador.
In 2011, U.S. businesses exported $5.5 billion in goods to Ecuador, an increase of 10 percent from 2010. U.S. goods imported from Ecuador totaled $9.5 billion, a 30 percent increase over 2010, which has helped Ecuadorian companies increase minimum wages from $170 a month in 2007 to $292 a month in 2012.
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