Last updated in February 2019
Political relations between Ecuador and Germany go back a long way. Key issues in bilateral relations include trade and investment, development cooperation, environmental policy and the dual system of vocational Training.
In June 2015, Ecuador’s then President Rafael Correa met Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel on the sidelines of the EU-CELAC Summit in Brussels. At parliamentary level, a new Ecuadorian Inter-Parliamentary Group of Friendship and Cooperation with Germany was constituted in the Ecuadorian Parliament (Asamblea Nacional) after the elections in spring 2017. The Inter-Parliamentary Group is headed by Member and Vice President of the Asamblea Nacional Carlos Bergmann, who belongs to the governing Alianza País party; it also includes members from the opposition. The previous Inter-Parliamentary Group met a delegation from the German Bundestag’s Parliamentary Friendship Group for Relations with the States of South America in Quito in October 2014. A return visit took place in November 2015.
The successful visit to Ecuador in September 2017 by the then Chairperson of the Bundestag Committee on the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Bärbel Höhn, laid the foundation for resuming the temporarily suspended development cooperation between Germany and Ecuador. The visit by Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in February 2018 was able to build on this and to intensify the full breadth of bilateral relations. During his visit, he launched the year marking the 250th anniversary of the birth of Alexander von Humboldt.
Of Germany’s political foundations, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, the Hanns Seidel Foundation and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation currently have offices in Ecuador.
Within the European Union, Germany is one of Ecuador’s most important trading partners and the largest exporter of goods to that country. Germany exported goods worth 450 million US dollars to Ecuador and imported goods worth 511 million US dollars from Ecuador in 2017. This means that 3.15 percent of the country’s total exports went to Germany that year.
Germany’s main exports to Ecuador are machinery, pharmaceutical products and medical equipment. Its main imports from Ecuador are tropical fruits (accounting for more than 50 per cent of total imports), fish, seafood, coffee and cocoa. Ecuador is Germany’s biggest supplier of bananas.
Since 1977, Quito has been home to a German-Ecuadorian Chamber of Industry and Commerce, which also has a liaison office in Guayaquil. Ecuador maintains an Institute for Export and Investment Promotion (PRO ECUADOR) and has had a Consulate General in Hamburg since 1993. The investment promotion and protection agreement concluded in 1996 was terminated by Ecuador in May 2017. The new Ecuadorian Government submitted a draft for the negotiation of a follow-on agreement in March 2018. The double taxation agreement, which has been in place since 1986, is currently being renegotiated.
Ecuadorian companies are frequently represented at trade fairs in Germany, for example at the international travel trade show ITB Berlin, but the country’s general – and economic – presence is limited. However, the Multiparty Trade Agreement between Ecuador and the European Union, which entered into force on 1 January 2017, has provided economic relations with new momentum.
Ecuador’s Government has decided to introduce the German dual system of vocational training throughout the country, which includes plans to set up 40 new vocational training centres. There are already cooperation arrangements with a number of German and Ecuadorian companies that want to help train skilled workers.
Germany is one of the largest bilateral donors of development cooperation with Ecuador. The most recent bilateral intergovernmental negotiations on development cooperation were held in Quito in November 2017. The above-mentioned visit by the Chairperson of the German Bundestag’s Environment Committee, as well as that by the Bundestag’s Economic Cooperation Committee (May/June 2018), further strengthened the cooperation. The two priority areas of German-Ecuadorian cooperation are protection of the environment/natural resources and public administration/economic reform.
The measures supported in the environmental area include assistance with forest protection and monitoring as well as management of the national protected areas. Incentives are being created to encourage the local population to engage in reforestation and the sustainable use of forests – by cultivating cocoa, for instance.
In the second priority area, German cooperation continues to support, among other things, a programme aimed at promoting the sustainable development of medium-sized cities that was developed at HABITAT III, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development held in Quito in 2016.
Culture and education
The main intermediaries in cultural exchange between Germany and Ecuador are the Humboldt-Gesellschaft/Goethe-Zentrum in Quito, the German-Ecuadorian Cultural Centre in Guayaquil, the German schools in Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca and, since 2008, two partner schools in the Quito metropolitan area (as part of the PASCH initiative). The German cultural association Red Cultural Alemana coordinates the activities of all German institutions engaged in the cultural sector in Ecuador. Working together with the German Embassy, it organises a wide-ranging cultural programme.
Cooperation at university level is promoted primarily through short-term research scholarships, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) scholarships and lecturer exchange programmes. For years, a DAAD lector has been working at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador (PUCE) in Quito. The number of active university partnerships is on the increase, as is the number of student exchanges. Cooperation focuses on science and engineering subjects. The German Research Foundation (DFG) is conducting a mountain rainforest research project in the Zamora, Chinchipe and Loja provinces. Since 2013, the project area has been extended to include high mountain regions and the Azuay province (Cuenca). Three Ecuadorian and eight German universities are currently involved in the project.
This text is intended as a source of basic information. It is regularly updated. No liability can be accepted for the accuracy or completeness of its contents.