Ecuador removes short term visa to boost investment

July 22nd, 2008 - 5:06 pm ICT by IANS  


Mumbai, July 22 (IANS) South American emerging economy Ecuador, in a bid to attract investors and boost tourism, has revoked the need for a short term visa for all visitors staying in the country for 90 days or less in a year, the country’s Indian envoy Carlos Abad said here Tuesday. Giving details at the Indian Merchants Chamber here, Abad said that the decision to “suppress” the short term visa was cleared this June adding that the “the primary aim behind this move is to allow investors to explore investment possibilities in Ecuador.”

Talking about the trade and investment opportunities in Ecuador, Abad said the country was extremely keen to forge new partnerships in Asia and specifically with India, China and south east Asian countries.

“We want to create a direct access to India. Several Indian companies have already started exploring the possibilities in the fields of mining, automobile industry, software and bio-fuel,” he said.

The two primary sectors in which Indian companies have shown keen interest, till date, focuses on oil exploration and automotive sector, Abad said, adding that talks with Indian auto major Mahindra and Mahindra, were on to set up an assembly plant for the manufacturing tractors and heavy duty vehicles.

Replying to a specific query on oil exploration by ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation) in Ecuador, Abad told IANS that the Ecuadorian ministry last week signed a confidentiality agreement with the company.

“ONGC has carried out exploration in six blocks and the confidentiality agreement will allow it to study its findings before drafting out a proposal. The Ecuador government does not discriminate between the indigenous company and a foreign origin firm,” Abad said.

Elaborating on the incentives being provided to foreign firms, Abad said that no authorization is required for FDI (foreign direct investment) and firms which want to set up plants, import duty on all machineries is exempted for them.

“Moreover, the foreign firms also have a right to repatriate their profits to their original country and they are also provided access to the stock markets,” Abad said.

On the issue of tourism, he said, “we are planning to set up a full-fledged tourism information centre in Mumbai and we are also looking at the problem of connectivity. At present it takes between 25 to 35 hours to travel between the two countries. This time lag needs to be reduced and we are working on it.”

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