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Helping Ecuador boost exports and create jobs while protecting biodiversityTuesday, December 15, 2015 > 11:15:33
As consumers increasingly prefer brands and goods that have a reduced impact on the environment, countries have started looking at how they could position their exports better to capitalize on this growing demand.
Many of them are turning to UNCTAD for assistance-the latest country to do so was Ecuador.
Promoting the right green sectors in the economy can create jobs, lead to more sustainable production and consumption patterns, and protect ecosystems and biodiversity.
But picking out the winners is a complex process and requires identifying the green products that the country is best positioned to competitively produce and export. And this requires extensive analysis of trade data and trends-something in which UNCTAD has a strong track record.
Over the past two years, UNCTAD and Ecuador's Ministry of Foreign Trade have worked together to examine the growth opportunities for selected green products in both domestic and international markets-cocoa and fish products came out on top. The results have just been published in Ecuador's National Green Export Review and Plan of Action.
In the case of cocoa, the global chocolate market is expected to be worth almost $100 billion next year. And as the demand for top quality and organic chocolate increases, Ecuador has the opportunity to position itself as the pre-eminent exporter of high quality, "green" cocoa, building on the growing popularity of its cacao fino de aromo-a native Amazonian variety that chocolate connoisseurs appreciate for its fruit-like aromas and low acidity.
Ecuador's Deputy Minister for Policy and Trade Services, Silvana Vallejo, said that "the National Action Plan for Green Exports is assisting us in introducing environmental and social sustainability criteria in our export value chains, improving our competitiveness and positioning us more favorably in international markets".
In addition to analyzing national and international trade data, UNCTAD and the Ministry of Foreign Trade consulted over 150 experts from quality and technical regulatory authorities, private businesses, non-governmental organizations, universities and research institutes.
Together they assessed the policy, regulatory and technological requirements necessary to promote sustainable cocoa and fish products. Priority actions were identified and including the following:
- Review the technical standards for quality and safety and improve quality testing and traceability systems
- Map the most relevant non-tariff measures in key developed and emerging markets for green products
- Align existing programmes and agendas on sustainable production and consumption like organic, fair trade and BioTrade programmes
- Improve access to credit for green businesses
- Update the regulatory framework for sustainable fisheries and strengthen efforts against Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing