Exporters in Ecuador are worried that their all-important trade with China will suffer as a result of a controversial agreement the US says is aimed at shutting China out of the South American country’s 5G telecoms network, reported the Financial Times.
The agreement envisages the US buying oil and infrastructure assets in Ecuador on the understanding that it uses the proceeds to pay off its debt to China. It also obliges Ecuador to sign up to what the Trump administration called the “Clean Network” — a state department initiative designed to ensure that nations exclude Chinese telecoms services and equipment providers as they build out their high-speed 5G mobile networks.
Adam Boehler, the recently departed chief executive of DFC, has described the deal as a “novel model” to eject China from the Latin American nation. But it has caused unease in Ecuador, which has become increasingly reliant on exports to China, reported the FT.
“The announcement has generated a lot of inquiries and a lot of doubts,” said Gustavo Cáceres, head of the Ecuadorean-China Chamber of Commerce (CCECH). “We hope our authorities handle this in the best way possible so as not to give the impression that we’re turning our backs on China.”