The industry employs just under one fifth of the workforce and is concentrated in the major cities of Guayaquil and Quito. The oil-related and food industries are the most important sectors.
The oil-based industry consists mainly of refineries and the manufacture of chemical products based on oil. Ecuador also manufactures clothing, furniture and cement.
Industrialization in Ecuador only started in the 1960s. The following decade, duties and fees were introduced to protect their own industry and commodities, and the industrial sector grew with oil revenues. State benefits such as tax rebates and customs protection have now been phased out and the industry has been exposed to growing competition through free trade within the Andean Community and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
- COUNTRYAAH: List of top trading partners of Ecuador. Includes countries that imported most shipments from and exported most goods to the country.
“Yellow card” from the EU for illegal fishing
The EU issues a warning about illegal fishing and says that an import ban on fish from Ecuador may be required if the country does not take action. The European Commission calls for better control of fish processing plants. The so-called yellow card warning is serious for Ecuador as fish makes up nearly half of the country’s exports to the EU and is worth about $ 1.4 billion a year. The Ecuadorian government now has six months to act.
The President reverses the subsidies
The government agrees to reintroduce fuel subsidies in exchange for protests that have crippled Quito. It is the result of a four-hour negotiation between President Moreno and protest leader Jaime Vargas, which is held under mediation by the United Nations and the Catholic Church and broadcast live on television. The riots have continued until the talks began, and Moreno has curfew and placed Quito under military control. The parties will now continue talks, among other things, to try to ensure that the subsidies are not utilized by smugglers who sell fuel in neighboring countries. A commission will also be set up to ensure peace in the country. During nearly two weeks of unrest, seven people have been killed, more than 1,300 injured and nearly 1,200 arrested. The financial losses are estimated at $ 1.5 billion.
Origin leaders want to “radicalize” the protests
The leader of the Indigenous Peoples’ Organization, Jaime Vargas, dismisses invitations for talks from President Moreno and calls for a “radicalization” of the protests that have now been going on for a week. “No dialogue with a killer regime,” Vargas says. A tense situation is taking place in Quito where protesters temporarily take several cops hostage. Street fighting in Quito demanded the day before the lives of four people.
Curfew after storming attempts
Since protesters tried to storm Parliament ahead of President Lenín Moreno’s curfew at government buildings at night, between 8pm and 5am. Moreno has already previously relocated the government from Quito to the port city of Guayaquil because of the unrest in the capital and talked about “coup attempts”. The protesters demand that the fuel subsidies be reinstated and that austerity measures are generally withdrawn. Gasoline prices have more than doubled since the subsidies were abolished just a week ago. Similar unrest forced three Presidents of Ecuador between 1997 and 2005.
Growing unrest in fuel riots
The protests continue against the government’s decision to raise fuel prices and it is now mainly indigenous people who organize roadblocks and demonstrations. The origin organization Conaie says that a special “state of exception” prevails and that soldiers and police in the areas of the indigenous peoples risk being arrested and brought before traditional law. About 50 police officers are reported to have been taken hostage around the country. The unrest is the most serious for years.
State of emergency following protest actions
The government announces an emergency permit for two months since protests against fuel price hikes caused severe disruptions. During a strike led by representatives of the transport sector, traffic in Quito and Guayaquil is stopped. There are also clashes with police who used tear gas to disperse protesters. Dozens of people are injured and a few hundred are arrested by police, suspected of “vandalism”. According to President Lenín Moreno, the state of emergency is needed to “guarantee the safety of citizens and avoid chaos”. The protests are aimed at Moreno’s decision to withdraw subsidies on fuel that has been around for 40 years and is estimated to cost the state $ 1.3 billion a year. Without subsidies, the price of gasoline and diesel is expected to be twice as high.
Ecuador leaves Opec
The government announces that Ecuador will leave the Opec oil cartel at year-end, in order to pump up more oil and increase state revenues. The quota has already been exceeded several times. Ecuador produces more than half a million oil a day, but has financial difficulties with a large budget deficit and large foreign loans.
Attempts to decriminalize abortions are stopped
The National Assembly votes with little margin against a proposal to decriminalize abortions. Outside the parliament building, police use pepper spray to drive away disappointed protesters who support abortion law. Abortions are only allowed if the woman’s health is in danger, or after the rape of a mentally ill woman.
Military against illegal mining
The government sends security forces to a remote area in the Andes to try to take control of unregulated mining and other illegal activities going on there. Around 2,400 soldiers and police officers entered the city of La Merced de Buenos Aires, where violent clashes have taken place between various groups engaged in mineral mining. There are reports of murder, sexual exploitation, human trafficking, money laundering and tax evasion in the region where around 10,000 people are active in illegal mining.
Same-sex marriage is accepted
The Constitutional Court approves same-sex marriage, with voting numbers 5–4. Those who vote against think that Parliament should debate the issue first. The court raised the issue following a lawsuit filed by two gay couples who want to get married. Ecuador now becomes the fifth country in Latin America to approve same-sex marriage, after Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay. In Mexico, it is approved in some states.
40 million cyberattacks
The government states that Ecuador has been subjected to 40 million cyber attacks since Julian Assange was revoked. Access to the internet has largely been blocked due to the attacks directed at the central bank, the presidential office, the tax authorities and several ministries and universities, among others.
Assange is arrested in London
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is arrested under turbulent circumstances at the Ecuador’s Embassy in London, where British police are given access since his citizenship is questioned and his asylum withdrawn (see June 2012 and October 2018). The arrest takes place at the request of the United States: recently published documents show that the US Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Assange in March 2018, on suspicion of data breach. Shortly after the action in London, a Swedish man is arrested when he tries to leave Ecuador. It is reported to be a software developer with close ties to Assange. Assange’s lawyer, the well-known Spanish human rights lawyer Baltasar Garzón, says his client is subject to political persecution. President Lenín Moreno says in a newspaper interview that Assange tried to create a “spy center” at the embassy and therefore could not remain.
The President criticizes Assange
President Moreno accuses Wikileaks founder Julian Assange of repeatedly violating the terms of his asylum and the right to stay at Ecuador’s Embassy in London (see June 2012 and October 2018). In a radio interview, Moreno says that Assange has no right to lie and even less to hack accounts or intercept private phone calls. He also does not have the right to interfere in other countries’ policies, especially countries with which Ecuador has good relations, it says. According to Moreno, Assange is behind corruption charges against the president made in Ecuadorian media, and the publication of the president’s private photos and videos in social media.
Local elections indicate fragmentation
24th of March
Elections held at local and regional level show that Ecuador’s political landscape is increasingly fragmented. The election will be the government party AP’s first defeat since it was formed, although President Lenín Moreno has made the point of not allowing the government and the party at national level to participate in the electoral movement. No party will be the bigger winner in the election. Ex-President Rafael Correa’s supporters in the election list FSC win in two of the largest provinces of the population, Manabí and Pichincha. But FSC does not succeed in winning mayor elections in any major city, although the list does well in Quito, among others, with 9 out of 21 seats in the municipal council.
A new regional forum is formed
President Lenín Moreno and seven other South American presidents, during a meeting in Chile, launch the new Regional Forum for the Progress of South America (Prosur) which is meant to replace Unasur – a regional body that has effectively ceased to function. Prosecur will mainly support democracy and the market economy, it says. The initiative has been taken by the presidents of Chile and Colombia, and the other participating countries are Argentina, Brazil, Guyana, Paraguay and Peru. Representatives of the left-wing governments in Bolivia, Surinam and Uruguay attend the meeting, but those countries do not join Prosur. Venezuela was not invited.
Ecuador leaves Unasur
the 13th of March
The government follows six other countries in South America, which in April 2018 canceled their membership in Unasur. The decision confirms Ecuador’s move to the right under President Lenín Moreno, as only countries with clear left governments now remain in Unasur. According to Moreno, the country will now regain control of the Unasur headquarters inaugurated outside Quito in 2014, which cost $ 65 million to build. Moreno wants to turn the building into a university for indigenous people.