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LatinNews Daily - 07 July 2021

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In brief: Ecuador tallies pandemic cost on firms

* Ecuador’s foreign trade, production & fishing minister, Julio José Prado, has said that as a result of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, over 22,000 formal companies have closed down while losses in sales from the productive sectors totalled over US$14.5bn. Prado gave the figures at a meeting chaired by President Guillermo Lasso to outline plans, projects and programmes aimed at reactivating economic production. Among other strategies, Prado said the government would work on tariff reform in order to lower production costs in Ecuador, a policy that should help more than 60 local industries. He also said that the government aims to launch a new national competitiveness and innovation council, the first such entity in the country, which would unite the public and private sectors. Sector-specific reactivation strategies are also to be applied through 20 industrial “clusters”. Meanwhile the agriculture & livestock minister, Tanlly Vera, also announced plans to promote new low interest and long-term loans through the national development bank.