Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso: The Future of Trade in the Americas
At the 2022 IV CEO Summit, President of Ecuador Guillermo Lasso discussed Ecuador-U.S. partnerships and future investment collaborations.
Air Date: June 8, 2022
Moderator: Neil Herrington, Senior Vice President, Americas Program, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Featured Guests: Guillermo Lasso, President, Republic of Ecuador
An optimal way to generate economic opportunities is through enhanced market access and new trade agreements. Ecuador, for example, is a smaller, democratic country seeking to reach the largest economies for collaboration while building upon bilateral trade relationships with partners such as the United States.
During the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and U.S. Department of State’s 2022 IV CEO Summit, H.E. Guillermo Lasso, President of the Republic of Ecuador, participated in an armchair discussion with Neil Harrington, SVP of the Americas at the U.S. Chamber. President Lasso discussed the need for collaboration amongst Ecuador’s most pressing challenges and the broader trade and investment agenda for the Americas.
Ecuador Needs Assistance to Combat Drug Trafficking
Ecuador is currently reeling from violence due to drug trafficking across the country. In April 2022, President Lasso declared a state of emergency in three different providences in Ecuador due to violence. This is why “bilateral security is at the top” of Ecuador’s priorities, he said.
President Lasso explained that the Ecuadorian government and police officials have confiscated over 300 tons of drugs during his short time in office.
“My government is determined not to negotiate with drug traffickers … [and] not to be permissive but face them straightforward,” President Lasso said.
President Lasso called on the U.S. and European governments to help Ecuador combat drug trafficking, which affects many countries in the Western Hemisphere.
“We need the support of the U.S. and also of the European Union … because it’s a shared problem — [drug traffickers] use the territory of Ecuador to traffic drugs [then] send them to the United States and to Europe,” said President Lasso. “We are a country of middle income, so it’s fair to share expenses knowing that the benefit of this fight will be reflected in the American society.”
Judicial Systems Must Be Independent to Generate Investment Stability
President Lasso explained the importance of sound judicial systems to dole out legitimate justice. To have an independent judiciary, free from corrupt influence, interventions must be made to ensure politicians “remove their [hold] on justice systems,” he stated.
“Judicial security is fundamental for the investment process,” said President Lasso. “To have clear rules and know the judges are following those rules [is critical]. If we have professional judges without the intervention of politics, then we will be able to strengthen justice. We’re going to generate everything that is necessary so that the justice system can be independent and to generate stability — not just for all Ecuadorians but for potential investors.”
Energy Investment Opportunities in Ecuador
President Lasso provided insights into prioritized investment opportunities for investors in the Western Hemisphere.
“Ecuador does have petroleum — it produces 15,000 barrels per day,” said President Lasso. “The objective of my government is to initiate … something that can help us duplicate the oil production. This requires a 12 million dollar investment.”
In terms of minerals, including copper, silver, and gold, President Lasso explained there are additional opportunities for those looking to invest in this growing market within Ecuador. Additionally, he provided energy investment opportunities for supplying clean, renewable energy.
“Ecuador produces 5,000 megawatts yearly,” said President Lasso. “We have the capacity of investment in the energy sector … to reach a production of 30,000 megawatts yearly.”