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Ecuador’s Import Surcharges Remain in Effect as WTO Consultations Continue

In March 2015, Ecuador began imposing significant import surcharges on a wide range of products, including pork and beef. The surcharges on pork and beef are 45 percent, and are charged in addition to regular import duties. More details are available in this USDA GAIN Report.

The surcharges were originally scheduled to end on June 11, 2016. In October, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Committee on Balance-of-Payments Restrictions resumed consultations on these surcharges, but members were unable to reach consensus and requested further consultations to determine if Ecuador’s actions are in line with WTO rules.

Ecuador recently announced its intention to extend the surcharges for one year. Under this plan, the surcharges would be reduced by one-third in April 2017 and phased out completely in June 2017. The WTO continues to examine whether the surcharges can be economically justified, and because members remain divided on this question, WTO consultations will continue. More details are available in this WTO news release.

Ecuador lifted its BSE-related ban on U.S. beef in March 2014, and U.S. pork is also eligible for export to Ecuador. In 2014, beef/beef variety meat exports to Ecuador totaled 1,078 metric tons (mt) valued at $2.43 million, but last year fell to 751 mt valued at $1.78 million. Pork exports in 2014 were 2,433 mt valued at $6.89 million. Last year exports increased slightly in volume (2,468 mt) but fell 15 percent in value to $5.84 million.