The Andean trade bloc on Saturday
approved a unilateral move by Ecuador to apply tariffs on over
1,000 goods from neighboring Colombia, saying its exporters are
using their weak currency to flood Ecuador with goods.
In mid-July, Ecuador introduced import tariffs on some
1,400 Colombian products. Approval by the Andean Community of
Nations, or CAN, trading bloc backs Ecuador’s argument the move
was economically motivated.
The two countries have had prickly relations since
Colombian forces killed 25 people in an anti-guerrilla raid in
Ecuador last year. Ecuador said the trade barriers had nothing
to do with the diplomatic spat.
“The devaluation of the Colombian peso, according to the
exchange rates between the two countries, changed the normal
conditions of competence in the Ecuadorean market,” the CAN
said in a statement.
The CAN said that Ecuador will only be allowed to apply the
duties “temporarily” in order to correct the imbalance.
Ecuador is Colombia’s third-largest trade partner after the
United States and Venezuela. Colombia exported over $1.5
billion worth of products to Ecuador in 2008 and the Ecuadorean
government hopes the duties will help raise some $600 million a
The countries cut diplomatic ties in March 2008 after the
Colombian bombing raid and have been rocky ever since, most
recently over Bogota‘s plan to host more U.S. troops.