Businessmen from both Colombia and Ecuador have unitedly asked their Presidents to initiate dialogue as relations between the two governments hit rock bottom.
Businessmen from both countries met in the Ecuadorean capital Quito where they stated that “trade relations between Colombia and Ecuador are as old as their history and are based on their vicinity, common origin and culture and a real sense of brotherhood.”
The businessmen, in the so-called Declaration of Quito, ask their governments to stimulate trade between the two countries instead of imposing “emergency measures that distort trade dynamics.”
The governments of Ecuador and Colombia have endured strained relations since March 2008, when the Colombian army attacked a FARC camp on the Ecuadorean side of the border and, based on data allegedly found on computers in that camp, accused Ecuador of harboring terrorists and receiving financial support from Colombia’s largest rebel group FARC.
Ecuador recently imposed trade restrictions on Colombian products as part of the ongoing conflict between the two nations.
The businessmen claim the conflict is harming the economy of both countries and want the governments to “create conditions to increase exports of Ecuadorean products to Colombia, including business conferences, bi-national congresses, investment forums, a search for preferential credit and all mechanisms that promote the strengthening of trade.”
“The removal of all administrative, technical, quarantine or any kind of limit to bi-national trade is both indispensible and urgent. Respectfully we urge our leaders to recognize that dialogue is the only way to resolve differences.”