The Quito Chamber of Commerce is more than 100 years old and was the first business organization founded in the city, initially representing all sectors of the Ecuadorian economy. Our members represent around 30% of Ecuador's GDP. Chambers of commerce in the country went through changes when the mandatory affiliation was waived, and we then focused on bringing added value to our members through services and projects. One of the projects we are working on is the center for commercial studies, which will train students in different areas. There is also a research center that is in charge of analyzing macroeconomic data and carrying out research on specific topics or sectors. The chamber also provides legal consulting to its affiliates. We lead the National Ecuadorian Committee, a large organization that has 97 business organizations as affiliates. The Quito Chamber is also the only Ecuadorian representative of the International Chamber of Commerce, which is the largest business organization in the world. We have some commissions within the ICC program, including an integrity and transparency commission, the first in the private sector. Our team works on analyzing the legislative framework affecting business in Ecuador, lobbying to propose changes that best match the needs of the business community. At present, we are working closely with the government on the plans for Ecuador to join the Pacific Alliance. We are also conducting negotiations for a free trade agreement with the US. We are happy to say that we are not only a valuable organization for our represented stakeholders, but also for the country a whole. Our chamber has collaborated with the Municipality of Quito and business organizations to create Quito Invest, an agency dedicated to ease the process for any investor coming to Ecuador and choosing Quito as base for its operations. At the same time, we liaise regularly with the Secretary of Productive Development and Competitiveness of Quito to analyze the city's regulations with regard to FDI, and how it can be improved to raise the profile of Quito as a business hub within the Andean region.
Mar. 9, 2020
Approximately 40% of the FDI entering Ecuador is channeled through Quito, which is why a host of organizations are working on further improving the city’s status with a focus on quality, eco-efficiency, and innovation.
President, Quito Chamber of Commerce
María Fernanda Garcés
Secretary of Productive Development and Competitiveness, City of Quito
The Secretary of Productive Development and Competitiveness proposes and dictates public policy to enhance the city's competitiveness and economic development. We work on different areas for the purpose of boosting economic dynamism for businesses. In addition to attracting leisure tourists, we want to place Quito on the map as an ideal city for MICE initiatives, which will allow us to capitalize on the investment made in 2019 for the construction of the Metropolitan Convention Center. From this perspective, we developed a joint strategy along with the national government to ease the arrival of new airlines and expansion of international flight services, connecting Quito to important business centers across the world. As a result of this initiative, KLM and Air Canada have already began operations. Intra-city connectivity will also play an important role in Quito's development in the coming years. Quito's subway system is well under way and it will connect the city from north to south. Additionally, we developed a competitiveness agenda that seeks to optimize the potential that makes Quito a city of opportunities and develop productive synergies to increase competitiveness, innovation, and sustainability of the business fabric with stable, effective, and progressive policies. Approximately 40% of the FDI entering Ecuador is channeled through Quito. Thus far, the new legislation has sent a powerful message to investors. Investment incentives established in a regulatory framework are effective instruments to attract foreign investment as they can highlight the strengths of a country's investment environment. Furthermore, the Law of Productive Development contemplates an accelerated investment mechanism, which grants more incentives for investments that occur during the first two years. We are currently working on enabling additional mechanisms to create the appropriate ecosystem for economic activity to occur, while at the same time enhancing its positive impact on society as a whole. Thereby, we also seek to increase the number of investments in the city to transform Quito into a regional business hub. As an example, Quito offers an additional incentive, which allows developers to build in certain urban areas in exchange for conducting social or environmental projects.
Executive Director, Quito Invest
Quito Invest was incorporated as a private company in 2018. We have been operating for a year as a public-private initiative. One of our main goals is to attract USD2 billion in FDI by 2023. The corporation's main objective is to promote Quito as a destination for investment. There are many factors that make Quito highly attractive for investment. Some of the most important sectors in Quito are infrastructure, tourism, mobility, agro-industries, and industry. It is important to mention that Quito Invest is the first city-level agency to attract investment in Ecuador and the second agency in the continent after Invest in Bogotá. We have developed a strategic plan with our partners and seek to provide advisory services for companies and investors interested in Quito. We can teach them how to do business in the city. We have an investment portfolio of USD800 million. We work on projects that are meant to provide different public services to the citizens of Quito. We also promote Quito projects abroad through ProEcuador, the government agency to attract investment. We organize specialized meetings and conferences to attract investment, among other initiatives. There is a big hotel chain interested in investing in San Lázaro, a 19th-century hospital. That could also be part of a project to renovate the old city center of Quito. We have an interesting initiative to build a free zone near the airport that will require an investment of USD200 million. We plan to bring added-value companies through tax exemptions and other incentives. We want to attract companies that want to export as they will boost economic growth, develop the city, and create jobs. We want to participate at an international level with other investment firms. Our idea is to learn from agencies that have worked in other countries. Another goal is to create a branch specialized in PPPs so that investors can understand how it works. We must ensure that projects are a win-win for both investors and the public.
General Manager, Free Zone and Special Economic Development Zone (ZEDE Quito)
The entire Quito airport is a free zone, but the Productive Economic Sector Council of Quito approved the establishment of ZEDE, a free zone with special features. 205ha are currently classified as ZEDE, and the free zone of the airport will finish their qualification in 2025. Free Zone and ZEDE Quito offer special conditions for investors and incentives. We are focused on attracting investors to Ecuador, including the promotion of PPPs. We have already signed 20 MoUs with companies and universities that are interested in ZEDE. To enter ZEDE, certain standards and levels of investment and job creation must be accomplished. The interested universities will provide their services in laboratories and certification centers, in addition to carrying out employment exchanges and research. A project of this magnitude exceeds the political cycle of a municipality. I also worked on it during the previous administration, and it has been interesting to see how political events have not impacted the project's development. However, the management model has undergone some changes. We are advancing our structural planning through public-private alliances and are also visiting other similar projects. ZEDE Quito is set to become a free zone of the future. It will transform Quito into a smart city complemented by an intelligent infrastructure that will help create citizens and leaders of the future. Our message to investors is to invest in a city that is taking off. We offer a free zone that not only offers tax exemptions but first-class services with excellent air and ground connectivity. We attended a conference on free zones held by the Association of Free Zones of the Americas in Bogotá and learnt that the kind of companies a free zone attracts is as important as the benefits it offers. A world-class company will not be interested in being part of a free zone that attracts companies that do not care about environmental and social standards. We are working hard to differentiate our offering beyond the typical tax and tariff benefits. To that end, we are focusing on quality, eco-efficiency, and innovation.