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WTO Members Applaud Ecuador’s Commitment to Remove Import Surcharge

WTO members recently welcomed Ecuador’s reiterated commitment to completely remove by this June the import surcharge that has been in place on a range of tariff lines since March 2015. Ecuador reaffirmed its decision to remove this measure at a meeting of the WTO Committee on Balance-of-Payments Restrictions held on 24 April. Ecuador justified the need for the surcharge on the grounds of addressing a difficult economic environment and restoring its balance of payments stability, which worsened following the earthquake that struck the country last year. In April 2016, the government decided to extend for another year the phasing out of the surcharge, from June 2016 to June 2017.

According to the Ecuadorian government, the country’s economy has shown signs of “slight recovery” and gross domestic product is expected to grow by 1.4 percent this year following a decline of 1.5 percent in 2016. While the BOP measure has ostensibly helped to improve economic conditions in the country, Ecuador started phasing out the surcharge on 31 January 2016 and currently only two rates – of 23.3 percent and 10 percent – remain in place, affecting 2,153 tariff lines, 800 less than in April 2015.

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