Ecuador Reaches Important Milestone In Simplifying Agricultural Trade

Digitalisation reduces average processing times from two days to four hours

Andean Community traders can anticipate spending 33,000 fewer hours each year waiting to receive transit documents for agricultural goods passing through Ecuador following the digitalisation of the quality controls process.

Replacing manual, paper-based systems is enabling Ecuador’s Phytosanitary and Zoosanitary Regulation Agency (Agrocalidad) to slash average processing times for issuing Phytosanitary International Transit Authorisations, or AFTIs, from two days to just four hours.

This reform increases business competitiveness while also enabling Agrocalidad officials to approve more requests in less time, further strengthening Ecuador’s attractiveness as a transit and port of exit option.

This digitalisation is the third electronic service launched in the country’s single window (VUE) with support of the Alliance. While Ecuador has digitalised some trade processes in recent years, around 40% remain paper based. The Alliance is supporting government initiatives to introduce more services through VUE and in automating a range of routine administrative tasks at laboratories and sanitary agencies.

Ecuador is an important conduit country for agricultural produce ranging from rice, coffee beans, fruit and vegetables, moving back and forth several countries, including Peru, Colombia, the United States, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. Agrocalidad issued more than 9,000 AFTIs to around 140 international transit operators from 2018-2021.

Foreign Trade Viceminister of Ecuador, Daniel Legarda, highlighted that “modernising the AFTI process will benefit Ecuadorian producers and strengthen the country’s position as a logistics hub. It is an example of how trade competitiveness can be boosted through the correlation of many seemingly modest transformations.”

“The digitalisation of key border processes demonstrates the government’s commitment to enhancing Ecuador’s trade competitiveness,” said Alliance Director Philippe Isler. “Lowering the time and cost of doing business, while improving the efficiency and effectiveness of its own agencies, is good for companies and for the economy.”