February 12, 2020
United States Bolsters Ties with Ecuador; Improves Prosperity, Security, and Democracy
President Donald J. Trump and President Lenin Moreno took great strides to expand the growing positive bilateral relationship at their meeting on February 12, 2020. They agreed to joint measures to strengthen economic, security, and cultural ties to ensure a safer and more prosperous hemisphere.
Building Mutual Prosperity:
América Crece: Through the América Crece – Growth in the Americas Memorandum of Understanding, the United States and Ecuador agreed to improve the transparency and competitiveness of Ecuadorian public infrastructure tenders with the goal of attracting U.S. companies. U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) CEO Adam Boehler will visit Ecuador to develop opportunities for DFC to finance infrastructure projects in Ecuador. For additional information on América Crece, please click here.
In support of the América Crece initiative, the Department of State, through the Power Sector Program, will continue advising and training Ecuador’s Ministry of Energy and electric utility on conducting transparent and competitive tenders to mobilize private investment in new power sector infrastructure, including natural gas and renewable energy projects, as well as transmission infrastructure.
Telecommunications: The Federal Communications Commission committed to host Ecuadorian regulators for a workshop on spectrum management and auctions in the United States and will send a technical delegation to Ecuador in April 2020 to share best practices in 5G spectrum and development. The U.S. Trade and Development Agency plans to bring Ecuadorian officials to the United States in March 2020 for a reverse trade mission on subsea fiber optic cables. The Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity Partnership recently expanded to the Western Hemisphere, and the United States is partnering with Ecuador to support a vibrant digital economy and build cybersecurity capacity (see below).
Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative: The Government of Ecuador committed to support the objectives of the White House-led Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative by strengthening the legal and regulatory framework to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in access to credit and other financial instruments for women. Furthermore, the United States will work with municipal Ecuadorian governments and private sector partners to triple the size of its Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE), providing 1,000 Ecuadorian women in all 24 provinces the business skills and networks to become successful entrepreneurs. The Department of State created AWE in 2019, in support of the W-GDP Initiative. Further information on the W-GDP – which aims to reach 500 million women by 2025 – can be found here.
USAID: The U.S. Agency for International Development announced its Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick will visit Ecuador following the formal reopening in March 2020 of a USAID office in the U.S. Embassy in Quito to advance development cooperation. USAID currently provides $5 million to support Ecuadorian efforts to strengthen democracy and governance.
Peace Corps: The Peace Corps will extend the placement of volunteers to the Galapagos and Manabí province in 2020 as part of an overall expansion that will increase the number of volunteers from 140 to 200 over the next two years. Peace Corps volunteers focus on English language education, Community Health, and Youth & Family Development in Ecuador.
Treasury’s Office of Technical Assistance (OTA):
Government Debt and Infrastructure Finance: In response to requests from Ecuador’s Minister of Finance in late 2018, OTA launched two resident advisor-based technical assistance projects. The first advisor deployed in April 2019 and assists the Ministry with capital market development and government debt management. The second advisor deployed in late-summer 2019 and assists the Ministry as it develops the capacity of the newly established Public Private Partnership Unit.
Revenue Policy and Administration: OTA began a technical assistance project with the Internal Revenue Service (SRI) of the Republic of Ecuador in March 2019. The project focuses on strengthening revenue administrative capacity in several areas requested by SRI, including: quality control of taxpayer audits, specialized sector auditing (agribusiness, construction, financial institutions and instruments, telecommunications, and transfer pricing), detection and mitigation of corruption through enhanced and independent internal controls, and IT security of confidential taxpayer data.
Bank Supervision and Resolution: In 2020, OTA expects to initiate a new resident advisor-based engagement with the Superintendencia of Bancos and related institutions in the areas of banking supervision, bank resolution, and pension fund management.
Deepening Democracy and Bilateral Relations:
Bilateral Expanded Political Dialogue: The United States and Ecuador will hold the next meeting of the Bilateral Expanded Political Dialogue in May 2020 in Washington, D.C. to guide and strengthen bilateral relations. Ecuador’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Jose Valencia and U.S. State Department Under Secretary for Political Affairs David Hale launched the Bilateral Expanded Political Dialogue on May 22, 2019 in Quito.
Improving English Language Learning: On February 10, 2020, The United States and Ecuador signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote English learning and teaching in Ecuador, raising the level of English spoken among high school graduates throughout the country and thereby opening doors to increased professional and educational opportunities, and closer connections with the United States.
Cultural Patrimony Implementation Act (CPIA): The Ecuadorian Cultural Patrimony Implementation Act, which went into force February 11, 2020, will protect cultural patrimony by preventing the illegal trafficking of Ecuadorian archeological artifacts across its borders.
Automated Targeting System-Global Program: The United States and Ecuador signed February 10 a Memorandum of Cooperation to implement in Ecuador the Automated Targeting System-Global (ATS-G) program, which helps foreign governments secure their borders. Under this program, U.S. officials will share technical expertise with Ecuadorian officials to help them determine whether passengers or crew members should receive additional screening prior to entry or departure from Ecuador.
Illegal Mining: The United States committed to support regional exchanges and programs to help Ecuador fight illegal mining. The U.S. State Department is funding a regional project to combat illegal mining financial structures in Ecuador and five other Latin American countries. By diagnosing money-laundering activities, exchanging best practices, and enhancing technical capabilities, this program will support Ecuador’s efforts to combat illegal mining and its links to transnational organized crime.
Anti-Money Laundering Unit: The United States and Ecuador are finalizing a Memorandum of Understanding to create an Ecuadorian interagency anti-money laundering unit to target, disrupt, and dismantle criminal organizations involved in the laundering of proceeds derived from trafficking illegal drugs. The unit will include officials from Ecuador’s National Police, the Attorney General’s Office, and Financial and Economic Intelligence Unit (UAFE). The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs will support the unit.
Conventional Weapons Destruction (CWD): The United States intends to provide $250,000 to establish a CWD program through which it will work with Ecuador’s security personnel to help destroy obsolete and excess weapons, bolster security infrastructure at munitions storage sites, and provide training on explosive ordinance disposal, weapons destruction, and munitions storage and security.
Cyber Cooperation: The United States welcomes Ecuador’s commitment to promoting an open, interoperable, reliable, and secure Internet, domestically and in international fora. The United States is pleased to collaborate with Ecuador to strengthen its national approach to cyber policy following a series of large-scale cyber incidents in 2019. Under the Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity Partnership, the United States will continue to provide foreign assistance to support cyber capacity building for Ecuador. In addition, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs will increase its capacity-building training for law enforcement officials and cybersecurity experts.
Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Assistance: The United States intends to provide up to $7 million in additional funding for Ecuador through the Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, pending the completion of Congressional notification requirements, for capacity building and technical assistance programs to strengthen Ecuador’s criminal justice and law enforcement capabilities in the fight against illicit drug trafficking and other transnational organized crime.