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Ecuador Imposes Import Surcharges on Pork, Beef

The Ecuadorean government’s Foreign Trade Committee (Comex) recently announced the imposition of significant import surcharges on a wide range of products, including pork and beef, for a period of 15 months (March 11, 2015 through June 11, 2016).

The surcharges on pork and beef are 45 percent, and are charged in addition to Ecuador’s regular import duties. Comex claims it is taking this action on what it classifies as “lavish goods” in an effort to reduce outflow of currency, citing Ecuador’s steep decline in oil revenues, appreciation of the dollar (which is Ecuador’s official currency) and devaluation of neighboring countries’ currencies as factors driving the decision. More details are available in this USDA GAIN Report.

Ecuador’s import duties, to which the 45 percent surcharge will be added, are 20 percent for chilled/frozen beef and 45 percent for chilled/frozen pork. Duties are 22.5 percent for frozen beef variety meat and 27.5 percent for frozen pork variety meat, but USMEF is seeking clarification on whether import surcharges apply to these items.

Last year U.S. pork/pork variety meat exports to Ecuador totaled 2,433 metric tons (mt) valued at $6.9 million, while beef/beef variety meat exports (which were mostly variety meat) were 1,078 mt valued at $2.4 million. The United States was Ecuador’s second-largest supplier of both products, trailing Chile for pork and Peru for beef. U.S. pork/pvm exports through February 2015 were 343 mt valued at about $900,000, while beef/bvm exports were 99 mt valued at about $250,000.