On June 5, U.S. Ambassador to Ecuador Todd Chapman visited U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) headquarters in Denver to discuss market conditions in Ecuador and ideas for expanding U.S. beef and pork exports to this market.

Ecuador seemed to be a promising destination for U.S. red meat when it reopened to U.S. beef in 2014, following a BSE-related closure that lasted more than 10 years (U.S. pork already had access at that time). But about one year later, Ecuador imposed prohibitive tariffs on many imported food products, including a 45% tariff on beef and pork products. With these temporary surcharges imposed on top of Ecuador’s regular import duties (which range from 20% to 45% for red meat), U.S. exporters understandably showed little interest in the market.

But Ecuador’s additional tariffs have been gradually phased out in 2017 and on June 1 the rate fell to zero, restoring the potential for U.S. meat exports to Ecuador. Ambassador Chapman sees great promise for U.S. beef and pork in Ecuador’s hotel and restaurant sector, which is expanding rapidly in response to a large influx of tourists.