2 April 2015
Ecuador Imposes Safeguard Duties on a Third of its Imports
The Ecuadorian government on 11 March established temporary safeguard duties on about a third of all foreign goods imported into the country. The measure, which will be applied in addition to the regular most-favoured-nation duties currently in effect, affects a range of products of HS Chapters 1 through 12, 15 through 25, 32 through 37, 39 through 44, 46, 48 through 74, 76, 78, 79, and 82 through 97. Among products of potential interest, knitted and woven apparel of Chapters 61 and 62 and textile made-ups of Chapter 63 are now subject to a 25 percent safeguard duty and other textile products are generally subject to a five percent duty, although certain items of Chapters 57, 58 and 59 face a duty as high as 45 percent. Footwear faces a safeguard duty of 25 percent, while duties on headgear, furniture, watches, and toys and games are generally 45 percent. Safeguard duties on machinery and electrical and electronic equipment range from five to 45 percent.
Excluded from the safeguard action are (i) goods shipped to Ecuador prior to 11 March 2015; (ii) personal effects, emergency aid, government importations, donations, samples with no commercial value, and certain other items; (iii) goods other than those entered for consumption; and (iv) imports from lesser developed countries that are members of the Latin American Integration Association (i.e., Bolivia and Paraguay).
The safeguard measure comes partly in response to a decision by the Andean Community to block a separate safeguard action by Ecuador that targeted imports from neighbouring Colombia and Peru. Ecuadorian authorities insist that the additional duties are necessary to ensure the stability of the country’s balance of payments but critics see them as yet another protectionist scheme by the Correa administration.