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Ecuador's economy rests on the twin pillars of oil and agriculture. It is the world’s largest exporter of bananas and also grows coffee, cocoa, palm oil and sugar in significant quantities. The timber industry yields valuable hardwoods and the country is also a leading producer of balsawood. Fishing is another important sector: seafood exports have expanded rapidly to the point where Ecuador is now the world’s second largest producer of shrimps. The mining sector produces gold, silver, copper and other metals, but it is the discovery of substantial new oil reserves in the mid-1990s that could transform Ecuador's economy. In August 1997 work began to expand the trans-Ecuadorean pipeline. The other main components of the industrial sector are food processing, chemicals and textiles. Ecuador pursued an isolationist foreign and trade policy for many years until a programme of economic reform was begun during the 1990s. In November 1992, Ecuador withdrew from OPEC and in August 1995 joined the World Trade Organisation. Since then, the country’s increasing oil revenues have largely been devoted to paying off the country’s substantial foreign debt. In addition, after a period of poor relations with the IMF, Ecuador has sold many former state assets as part of a deal with the IMF in 2002 to secure future funding. Ecuador is a member of the main regional integration bodies: the Andean Union and ALADI [Asociacion Latinoamericana de Integracion]. The USA is the largest single trading partner, accounting for over 40 per cent of Ecuadorian exports and supplying around one-third of imports. Other significant trading partners are Japan, Colombia, Germany, Italy and Korea [Rep].

Commercial Information
The following organisation can offer advice:

Federacion Nacional de Camaras de Comercio del Ecuador
This chamber usually swaps location [between Quito and Guayaquil] every two years.
Guayaquil: Francisco de Orellana y Miguel Alciras, Ciudadela Kennedy Norte, Edificio La Camaras, Guayaquil [tel: +593 4 268 2771; fax: +593 4 268 2725].|
Quito: Amazonas y Republica, Edificio las Camaras, Apartado 17-01-202, Quito [tel: +593 2 244 3787; fax: +593 2 243 5862; website: www.ccq.org.ec].

For more information, contact Centro de Exposiciones Quito de la Federacion Ecuatoriana de la Pequena y Mediana Industria de Pichincha, Avenidas Amazonas y Atahualpa no 34-332, Centro de Exposiciones, Quito [tel: +593 2 244 3388; fax: +593 2 244 3742; e-mail: capeipi@interactive.net.ec; website: www.capeipi.com].
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