Sustainable development focus of EU trade deal with Ecuador showing positive signs
Last week GUE/NGL MEP Helmut Scholz (DIE LINKE, Germany) went on a 3-day mission to Ecuador, part of the European Parliament's Delegation for relations with the countries of the Andean Community (DAND).
Scholz is the European Parliament’s rapporteur for the EU trade relations with Ecuador including the accession agreement to the Multiparty EU-Andean FTA, ratified a year ago. One of the mission’s objective was to evaluate the effect of the deal on the people of the country.
The trade agreement allowed for Ecuador to retain preferential access to the EU market, had an important sustainable development focus and enabled the country to retain its competitiveness in the region despite lingering elements of the EU free trade logic. It allowed also for the continuation of poverty reduction programmes and social and ecological renovation that started a decade ago in the run-up to accession.
The German MEP recognised the progress made: “A year since the trade deal was ratified there has been a marked increase in exports between the EU and Ecuador with the latter also benefiting from an enhanced social and solidarity economy.” At the same time Scholz called for the quick “establishment of a domestic advisory group allowing all representatives of civil society, SMEs and other business actors, both official and not yet recognised such as horizontal trade unions, and indigenous peoples to accompany and observe directly the implementation of all aspects of the trade deal.”
Such a step would allow for Ecuador to present positive results in the November FTA Multiparty Trade Committee in Quito and to more accurately reflect the impact of the agreement on Ecuadorian citizens including the poor and those affected in the 2016 earthquake.
Scholz held a private audience with María Fernanda Espinosa, the Ecuadorian Minister of Foreign Affairs. He commended the efforts of Ecuador in leading the process in the UN for a Binding Treaty on transnational corporations and human rights.
“A Binding Treaty on transnational corporations is an essential element for an alternative trade system that places human rights at its core, and contributes to the implementation of the UN DG Agenda 2030” he said.
Scholz also conveyed his support and that of GUE/NGL’s for a Schengen visa waiver requested by Ecuador and granted already to Peru and Colombia upon ratification of the trade agreement with the EU.
In addition, he expressed concern about the situation of instability in the Ecuadorian north border region that result from increased threats to the Colombian peace process. There has been a growth in violence with narco-organisations strengthening their presence in those areas.
“Social policies and sustainable development are key to surpass the situation of insecurity in the northern border of Ecuador,” he stated. This long-term strategy is important to guarantee a strong and decisive role of the state in the region.
Finally, the MEP expressed his support for the candidacy of Espinosa for the Presidency of the United Nations General Assembly.