President Guillermo Lasso said its "good news to start 2023. The negotiation between China and Ecuador has been successfully concluded."
With the deal, which began with discussions 12 months ago, Ecuadorean exports, including cocoa, will have preferential access to China, and the South American country's manufacturers will be able to acquire machinery and inputs at lower costs, Reuters reported.
"This trade agreement will allow preferential access for 99% of Ecuador's current exports to China, especially agricultural and agro-industrial products such as shrimp, bananas, roses and flowers, cocoa, coffee," Ecuador's production ministry said in a statement.
According to Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) in 2020, Ecuador exported $823 million in cocoa beans, making it the third largest exporter of cocoa beans in the world. Also in the same year, Cocoa Beans were the sixth most exported product in Ecuador. The main destination of Cocoa Beans exports from Ecuador are: United States ($197M), Indonesia ($193M), Malaysia ($125M), Netherlands ($68M), and Germany ($38M).
Many of the large cocoa-growing companies are eyeing the Chinese market as a key destination for raw beans, semi-finished, and finished cocoa products.
"Chocolate is consumed differently in China than it is in Europe. Consumption is around festivals, and bigger festivals are a big push for chocolate," said Nathaniel Durant, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Niche Cocoa Industries, a Ghana-based cocoa processing company.
Speaking at the China International Import Expo in 2022, he urged that the approach to entering the Chinese market with cocoa should not necessarily be by the traditional way of using per capita consumption or population to determine the potentials of a market.
"Most people talk about the 1.5 billion people. But that does not mean they are all the same. There needs to be a much better appreciation for the culture, and the taste around that, because people in the same community may have different tastes," he said.
- China Imports of Cocoa and cocoa preparations were US$1.04 billion during 2021, according to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade.
- The fastest growing export markets for cocoa beans of Ecuador between 2019 and 2020 were United States ($82.4M), Malaysia ($53M), and Indonesia ($24.7M).