Getting Started

Exporting to Ecuador

The National Export Initiative (NEI) was announced in 2010. Since then, the next phase of this successful approach is NEI/NEXT:  a new customer service-driven strategy with improved information resources that will ensure American businesses are fully able to capitalize on expanded opportunities to sell their goods and services abroad.

NEI/NEXT will help more American companies reach more overseas markets by improving data, providing information on specific export opportunities, working more closely with financing organizations and service providers, and partnering with states and communities to empower local export efforts.

The Mission is committed to supporting U.S. companies to start exporting or grow their exports to Ecuador. In this section, you’ll find a quick description of Ecuador as an export market and some suggestions for getting started.

Market Overview

For more detailed information see:  Ecuador Commercial Guide for US Companies

The U.S. and Ecuador share a long history of partnership and cooperation. The U.S. and Ecuador have mutual interests in reducing poverty and fostering Ecuador’s economic development through trade.

  • In 2016, Ecuador had a nominal GDP of $97.8 billion. After several years of robust economic growth, in 2016 GDP growth fell to -1.5 percent. This slowdown was largely driven by the decline in oil prices during late-2014 and 2016 and the appreciation of the U.S. dollar, Ecuador’s currency since 2000.
  • The U.S.-Ecuador commercial relationship is significant with $9.3 billion in total trade during 2016. In 2016, U.S. exports to Ecuador exceeded $3.9 billion and included mineral fuel, machinery, electrical machinery, plastic, and vehicles. Top U.S. exports of agricultural goods include soybean meal, wheat, and cotton.
  • •In 2016, total FDI inflows into Ecuador were $744 million with $87.2 million coming from the United States.
  • In order to promote economic growth and encourage the inflow of dollars into the economy, the Ecuadorian government actively encourages foreign investment in certain sectors of the economy.

Top reasons why U.S. companies should consider exporting to Ecuador:

  • U.S. companies can take advantage of the fact that Ecuador allows 100 percent foreign equity ownership without the need for authorization or prior screening.
  • Ecuador has no limits on royalties that may be remitted when it comes to license and franchise transactions. Remittances are subject to a capital exit tax, currently set at five-percent.
  • There are no foreign exchange issues. In 2000, Ecuador adopted the U.S. dollar as the country’s official currency.
  • Since 1986, Ecuador has had an Investment Guarantee Agreement with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. Ecuador is also a signatory to the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agreement.

Market Challenges

  • Ecuador’s overall investment climate remains challenging as economic, commercial, and investment policies are subject to frequent changes. Regular updates in Ecuador’s tax code make business planning difficult. Please see the Investment Climate Statement for additional information on this subject.
  • Ecuador has a civil codified legal system. Systemic weakness in the judicial system and its susceptibility to political pressures create challenges for U.S. companies investing in Ecuador. According to the 2016 Rule of Law Index of The World Justice Project, Ecuador ranked 91 out of 113within the countries surveyed.
  • The legal complexity resulting from the inconsistent application and interpretation of existing laws complicates the enforcement of contracts and increases the risks and costs of doing business in Ecuador. Business disputes with U.S. companies can become politicized, especially in sensitive areas such as the energy sector. Several high-level investment disputes involving U.S. companies, mostly linked to the energy sector, are under international arbitration.
  • In April 2017, the United States Trade Representative mantained Ecuador in Watch List in its annual Special 301 Report on intellectual property. This decision was in recognition of a number of positive actions taken in 2016, including lowering patent fees, withdrawing compulsory licenses on U.S. products, and conducting an inclusive process during the drafting of the Code of Knowledge, Creativity, and Innovation Social Economy. . Enforcement against intellectual property infringement remains a serious problem in Ecuador.

Investors: Getting Started

If you are considering investment in Ecuador, here are some steps you may wish to consider as you get started:

  • Contact your local U.S. Export Assistance Center for advice and support on exporting to Ecuador. Contact a Trade Specialist near you.
  • Contact local U.S. business support organizations, such as the Ecuadorian-American Chambers of Commerce in QuitoGuayaquilCuencaAmbato, and Manta.
  • Contact your local Small Business Development Center (SBDCs). Starting a business can be a challenge, but there is help for you in your area. Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) are partnerships primarily between the government and colleges/universities administered by the Small Business Administration and aims at giving educational services for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.
  • Subscribe to our embassy Facebook page or Twitter feed

Visa Requirements to Enter Ecuador

If you are a U.S. citizen wishing to enter Ecuador, you must present a U.S. passport with at least six months remaining validity. Ecuadorian immigration officials also sometimes request evidence of return or onward travel, such as an airline ticket.

Under Ecuadorian law, U.S. citizens traveling for business or tourism on a tourist passport can enter Ecuador for up to 90 days per calendar year without a visa. Extensions for up to another 90 days can be requested through the provincial migration offices.

If you are planning a visit longer than 90 days, you must obtain a visa in advance of your arrival.

More detailed information and requirements for visas in Ecuador can be found at the website of Ecuador’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. You can also visit the website for the Embassy of Ecuador in the United States for the most current visa information, or for further information regarding entry, exit or customs requirements. If you stay in Ecuador beyond the terms of your visa, you may be deported or barred from re-entering Ecuador in the future. A substantial fine may be imposed by Ecuadorian Immigration prior to your departure.

Travel Advisories

Make sure to check the current State Department travel advisories. 

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is an important anti-corruption tool designed to discourage corrupt business practices in favor of free and fair markets. The FCPA prohibits promising, offering, giving or authorizing giving anything of value to a foreign government official where the purpose is to obtain or retain business. These prohibitions apply to U.S. persons, both individuals and companies, and companies that are listed on U.S. exchanges. The statute also requires companies publicly traded in the U.S. to keep accurate books and records and implement appropriate internal controls.

More information in FCPA