Ecuador and China have signed a free trade agreement, deepening ties between the Andean nation and the world’s second-biggest economy and frustrating US opposition to Beijing’s growing influence in the region, reports the Financial Times. The deal would boost Ecuador’s non-oil exports over the next 10 years by $3 billion – $4 billion, or as much as a third, according to the trade ministry. China is Ecuador’s largest non-oil trade partner and has become an increasingly important source of financing for the Latin American nation, where it has backed infrastructure and energy.
The free trade agreement could dismay the US, Ecuador’s largest trading partner when including oil, its biggest export. Washington has sought to counter Beijing’s growing influence in Latin America, where China has free trade agreements with Peru, Chile and Costa Rica.
The deal allows preferential access for 99% of exports to China, the government said, in particular agricultural and agro-industrial products including shrimp, bananas, cut flowers, cocoa and coffee. It excludes 800 products to protect local manufacturing.
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