Relations between Ecuador and China have been exemplary in terms of South-South cooperation, and the countries should work on realizing greater potential in the ties, said Jose Maria Borja Lopez, the Ecuadorean ambassador to China.
President Xi Jinping’s visit to Ecuador, beginning on Thursday, will be the first by a Chinese president to the South American country since diplomatic relations were established in 1980.
Several agreements, including on financing, public information and technical cooperation, are expected to be signed during the visit, according to Borja.
“Ecuador found in China a fundamental ally to carry out its development plans at a time it was most needed,” said the ambassador, adding that Chinese investors in Ecuador are efficient and have met development requirements of the country.
Chinese companies have joined Ecuadorean projects in oil, transportation and hydropower.
According to Borja, the Latin American country, for which oil is a pillar industry, has trusted Chinese companies with “important oil fields”.
Another example of infrastructure development is the Chinese-invested Coca Codo Sinclair hydropower plant.
The largest hydropower project inEcuador, it is expected to increase the country’s electricity supply by about 30 percent when fully operational, according to the economic and commercial counselor’s office of China’s embassy in Ecuador.
“Over the past nine years, we have strengthened cooperation, especially in areas of technical cooperation, technology transfer and financing,” said Borja, adding that China is “a strong ally in the infrastructure projec t s undertaken by the Ecuadorean government”.
Bilateral relations have entered what both s i d e s described as “the best stage in history” since after they established a strategic partnership during Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa’s visit to China in January last year.
Among the agreements the two countries have signed is a deal on mutual visa exemptions that took effect in August. Under the agreement, Chinese tourists are now able to stay in Ecuador for up to 90 days a year without a visa.
Borja said the deal has helped attract more Chinese tourists to the Andean country, and “this year will end with more than 17,000 Chinese tourists visiting Ecuador”.
China-Ecuador cooperation has even more potential, the ambassador said.
“A key cooperation element should be the training of human resources, which translates to an increase in scholarships for Ecuadorean students, as well as the opportunity for more young people to learn Mandarin Chinese and about the Chinese experience of development,” Borja said.
In addition, he said, Ecuador would like to increase exports to, and cut the trade deficit with, China.
Cooperation with China is “significant not only for Ecuador, but for other Latin American countries”, and such cooperation “will continue to be fundamental” for the development of Latin American countries, the ambassador said.
Jose Maria Borja Lopez