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Merkel Backs Call For EU Free Trade With Ecuador On Tuna European Union, April 22, 13


German Chancellor Angela Merkel backed Wednesday an appeal from Ecuador to be admitted to an existing free trade agreement between the European Union and Latin American nations.
“The agreement that has already been reached with Colombia and Peru came up,” she said after talks with visiting Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa.
“Ecuador has made clear again that it has a great interest in joining the group of countries which have European Partnership Agreement (EPA). I have said for my part that I will speak to the European Commission to maybe give some impetus for negotiations,” she said.
Correa lobbied for investment in his country, which has the highest growth rate in Latin America.
“We have a great dynamic. These are good times to invest in our country," he said.
Merkel noted that she saw good growth possibilities for German investment in tourism and renewable energy in Ecuador, adding that there had to be a “stable, legal framework” to safeguard such projects.
Correa said he and Merkel had discussed “in general” an EU-Ecuador agreement on protecting business investments.
One of Ecuador’s most important businesses with the EU is tuna. The country exports large quantities of canned tuna and pre-cooked tuna loins to the EU, currently still enjoying duty free access for these items to that market. However, if the current agreement is about to end, and if Ecuador is not able to conclude an EPA with the EU, then its canned tuna could start being subjected to 24% import duty from next year onwards.