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LatinNews Daily - 18 January 2021

Ecuador continues to shore up ties with US

Ecuador: On 13 January, the US and Ecuador finalised a bilateral cooperation agreement, aimed at strengthening trade ties and the fight against drug trafficking. Signed by Ecuador’s Vice President, María Alejandra Muñoz, and the US ambassador to Ecuador, Michael Fitzpatrick, the agreement’s objective is to “improve online and real-time traceability of cargo, strengthen customs and anti-drug trafficking intelligence, and facilitate international trade”. Muñoz added that the agreement “drives Ecuador to continue opening itself up to the world, and increases competitiveness”. According to a US embassy press release, the agreement enables a new level of cooperation between the customs controls of both countries, as well as the national police, to “collaborate in the identification of risks and threats before the goods leave their countries of origin”. It establishes protocols for “detecting or controlling cross-border criminal networks or activities, as well as other threats to border security”. This continued cooperation between the US and Ecuador follows a 2020 bilateral security agreement, which tightens security at Ecuador’s border and allows for the easier identification and tracing of potential threats. It also follows the 2018 Global Compact for Migration (CGM), international treaty undersigned by Ecuador, which aims to facilitate and simplify trade integration, and allowed Ecuador’s customs authorities to seize record amounts of contraband at the border in 2019 and 2020.

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