Ecuador’s Export and Trade

Along with its stunning natural surroundings, Ecuador also exports various goods, such as oil, food, and fish.

Ecuador has emerged as a significant player in international trade in recent years, strongly emphasizing exports.

We have gathered information to look into Ecuador’s core industries and its top exports and trading partners.

Ecuador’s Top Exports

Natural resources and manufactured commodities are among Ecuador’s biggest exports. The top exports of the country in 2020 were:

  • Petroleum crude and refined petroleum oils
  • Bananas
  • Cacao beans
  • Textiles
  • Cut flowers

From what we have gathered, Ecuador’s other noteworthy exports include shrimp, coffee, and fruits like mangoes and pineapples.

The nation is also renowned for being a significant exporter of precious metals like gold and silver.


Ecuador is a significant crude oil producer, with over 8 billion barrels of proven reserves. The country is also one of OPEC‘s (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) members.

Ecuador’s economy is primarily reliant on the oil industry. The sector contributes about 30% of exports and 7% of GDP. Ecuador sends most of its oil to the US, China, and India.

Agriculture and Fisheries

Historical part of "Middle of the World", Quito, Ecuador


Ecuador is known as a top exporter of bananas globally. Bananas are one of the nation’s main exports since they are grown everywhere in the country. 


Since Ecuador is renowned for producing some of the most excellent cocoa beans in the world, the nation’s cocoa exports are also noteworthy. The cocoa industry in Ecuador has snowballed in recent years, worth more than $720 million in exports in 2020.


Furthermore, Ecuador is a significant exporter of seafood, especially shrimp and tuna. With a contribution to the GDP of roughly 4%, the nation’s fish industry ranks among the biggest in the region.


Lamah sweater from Otavalo market

Alpaca sweater I bought at Otavalo market

The textile industry in Ecuador makes a considerable economic contribution. Among the top textiles produced in the country are cotton, wool, and silk.

Ecuadorian textiles usually feature stunning designs and patterns that are handcrafted. Around the nation, this sector employs thousands of people, and exports make up about 1% of the nation’s GDP.

Cut Flowers

Flower market in Cuenca Ecuador

Ecuadorian flowers are also popular globally. One of the largest industries in Ecuador, the flower industry generates more than 1.2 billion dollars in revenue annually and significantly impacts the country’s economy.

The country produces some of the best roses in the world and supplies many countries. The United States, the Netherlands, and Kazakhstan are the main flower export destinations.


View of the valley from Cotopaxi Volcano, Ecuador

Ecuador’s tourism industry contributes significantly to the country’s economy. The natural beauty of the country, particularly the Galapagos Islands and the Andes Mountains, attracts millions of visitors each year. In 2019, the tourism industry contributed more than 6% of Ecuador’s GDP.

The pandemic greatly affected Ecuador as countries worldwide closed their boundaries for safety and health reasons.

Ecuador’s Trading Partners

Ecuador’s commercial relationships are extensive, with goods exported to markets all around the world. Ecuador’s major trading partners in 2020 were:

  • United States
  • China
  • Chile
  • Peru
  • Colombia

The United States is Ecuador’s leading trade partner. The two countries have built a solid trade connection over the years.

Another major trading partner is China, mainly for petroleum and mineral exports. Ecuador’s neighboring South American countries, Chile, Peru, and Colombia, are also significant trade partners.

Ecuador’s Trade Agreements

Ecuador is a signatory to many regional trade agreements, which have helped it access new export markets.

One of Ecuador’s significant trade agreements is the Andean Community of Nations. This community is composed of Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia. The agreement allows for the free movement of products and services between member countries, boosting regional trade.

Ecuador is also a part of the Pacific Alliance, a trade deal with Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru. The alliance encourages free trade and economic integration among member countries, aiding Ecuador’s trading contacts with other countries.

Other trade agreements worth noting are ALADI Latin American Integration Association and WTO (World Trade Organization).

Ecuador’s Export and Trade Industry Challenges 

Despite the significant recent increase in export and commerce for Ecuador, several obstacles remain.

The nation’s dependence on a small number of primary exports is one of the biggest problems. Petroleum and bananas are two primary goods on which the country depends. This dependence puts the country subject to swings in global commodity prices, which can significantly influence its economy.

The lack of infrastructure in the nation is another issue that makes shipping products challenging. Nevertheless, the government has made large expenditures in infrastructure recently to aid in enhancing logistics and transportation.

Despite these difficulties, there are numerous opportunities in Ecuador’s export and commerce sector. The country appeals to global investors due to its wide variety of exports and advantageous location. 

Furthermore, the government is working on significant policies to encourage exports and trade, including trade agreements with other nations and tax breaks for exporters.


Ecuador’s export and trade are crucial to the country’s economy. The nation has a broad spectrum of exports and solid commercial ties to other countries worldwide.

Tourism is one of the significant sectors contributing to Ecuador’s economy. Tourists like us are one of the sources of livelihood for many Ecuadorians.

Ecuador keeps developing its business ties and putting export-promotion measures into place. These industries will probably keep expanding and changing as the nation grows, presenting chances for both native and foreign enterprises.

About the author

Oleg Galeev

I'm Oleg, and together with my wife, we've explored Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, journeying through more than 20 cities (Quito, Cuenca, Banos, Tena, Puyo, Guayaquil, Riobamba, Otavalo, Mindo and more) and nearly every island in the Galapagos (including iconic ones such as Bartolome Island, San Cristobal Island, Isabela Island, Santa Cruz Island and more). In this blog, I give you my real thoughts about each place we visited. This info can help anyone planning a trip to the Galapagos Islands or mainland Ecuador. I'm just a traveler, not a tour company, so I'm not trying to sell anything. That means I'll tell you the truth—both the good and the bad — about traveling in Ecuador based on what we experienced.

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