Earlier this year, Guillermo Lasso won the presidency of Ecuador with the promise to revive the economy battered by COVID-19, pledging to eliminate the country’s fiscal deficit, promote job creation and expand in-bound trade and investment including in the oil sector where doubling production and reduced state ownership are key objectives.
Since his inauguration, President Lasso has set forth additional priorities, notably forging free trade agreements with both the United States and China. A recent visit by a delegation of United States senators underscored the desire for closer US-Ecuadorian trade ties.
The Institute of the Americas hosted the two-day “US-Ecuador Bilateral Relations Post COVID: Build Back Better Together” forum to help catalyze expanded private sector engagement and investment between the United States and Ecuador.
On the first day of the forum, U.S. Ambassador Michael Fitzpatrick and Ecuadorian Ambassador to the US Ivonne Baki delivered keynote addresses followed by a Q&A session.
President Lasso’s ambitious political and economic agenda is not without hurdles. With his administration having just completed its first 100 days, President Lasso faces political challenges in implementing his plans. In particular, there is opposition in the Ecuadorian Congress on a variety of issues including approval of strategic energy projects located in environmentally sensitive tropical rainforests.
Day Two of the forum included keynote addresses by senior officials from the Lasso Administration with presentations on Ecuador’s trade and economic agenda, US-Ecuador bilateral relations on energy and climate change, and the impact of COVID-19 on the country’s education system. It also included a panel discussion on COVID-19 Impacts and Ecuador’s Economic Outlook under President Lasso.