More information about Ecuador is available on the Ecuador Country Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.
The United States established diplomatic relations with a consul to Guayaquil, Ecuador, in 1825, preceding the withdrawal from its federation with Colombia in 1830. The U.S. Embassy in Quito opened in 1848. The United States and Ecuador share a history of partnership and cooperation, and have mutual interests in economic prosperity, democratic governance, regional security, and academic exchanges. The protection of American citizens and U.S. interests remains the top mission priority.
Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno and President Donald Trump have strengthened the U.S.-Ecuador bilateral relationship and expanded cooperation in areas of mutual interest. Vice President Mike Pence visited Ecuador in June 2018, the first visit of a U.S. Vice President since 1987. Ecuador has also welcomed visits by Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, USAID Administrator Mark Green, SOUTHCOM Commander Admiral Craig Faller, and numerous other senior officials since 2018.
The Moreno administration has taken steps to fight corruption, bolster security, adopt a market-oriented model, remove restrictions on civil society, encourage free press, and strengthen democratic governance.
Ecuador shares the U.S. concern over narco-trafficking and the activities of illegal armed groups, particularly along Ecuador’s northern border with Colombia. The United States and Ecuador have signed several agreements and established new programs to enhance counternarcotics and law enforcement cooperation. U.S.-Ecuadorian military relations are also expanding through training, assistance, and the reestablishment of an Office of Security Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Quito. Additionally, the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs has resumed counternarcotics and counter-transnational organized crime capacity-building assistance, providing more than $10 million since August 2018.
U.S. Assistance to Ecuador
U.S. assistance in Ecuador is designed to strengthen the rule of law and civil society, increase government transparency, modernize government participation in capital markets and infrastructure development, improve citizen security, counter illicit trafficking and transnational organized crime, combat gender-based violence, defend fundamental freedoms, promote academic exchanges and the teaching of English, conserve biodiversity, and mitigate the risk and impact of natural disasters. The United States also provides humanitarian assistance through international and local organizations to help Ecuador protect and provide services to refugees, migrants, and other vulnerable populations. After signing a memorandum of understanding with the Government of Ecuador in May 2019 to renew cooperation, USAID is reestablishing an in-country presence for the first time since 2014.
Bilateral Economic Relations
The United States is Ecuador’s principal trading partner. Major U.S. exports to Ecuador include petroleum products, machinery, computers and electronic equipment, chemicals and fertilizers, transportation equipment, and cereals and grains. Ecuador benefits from duty-free entry into the United States for many of its products under the Generalized System of Preferences. U.S. imports from Ecuador include crude oil, shrimp and prawns, bananas and plantains, cocoa, and cut flowers (roses). The prior government of Ecuador took action to terminate 17 of its bilateral investment treaties (BIT) in May 2017, including its treaty with the United States. The termination of the U.S.-Ecuador BIT went into effect in May 2018, although it will continue to apply for ten years to covered investments made or acquired prior to the date of termination. The Moreno administration has expressed interest in negotiating a new BIT, as well as pursuing other means to expand and deepen commercial and financial ties with the United States. U.S. direct investment in Ecuador is led by the manufacturing and wholesale/retail sectors.
Ecuador has been fully dollarized since 2000. The Ecuadorian government is implementing a comprehensive reform program aimed at modernizing the economy and paving the way for strong, sustained, and equitable growth. This “new economic policy” and an associated IMF program approved in March 2019 are geared towards strengthening the fiscal position and improving competitiveness.
Ecuador’s Membership in International Organizations
Ecuador and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, Organization of American States (OAS), International Monetary Fund, Inter-American Development Bank, and World Trade Organization. Ecuador ended its participation in the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
Principal U.S. embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List.
Ecuador’s embassy in the United States at 2535 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009 suffered substantial damage due to a fire in late 2017. Embassy operations continue presently out of 2101 L Street, N.W., Suite 440, Washington, DC 20037 (tel. 202-234-7200).
More information about Ecuador is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:
CIA World Factbook Ecuador Page
USAID Ecuador Page
History of U.S. Relations With Ecuador
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Country Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page
Library of Congress Country Studies