the early 1970s, when geologists discovered oil in the Ecuadorian
Amazon, Ecuadorian exports consisted almost exclusively
of primary agricultural exports, such as bananas and cacao.
With the advent of oil, however, the focus of the Ecuadorian
economy shifted to petroleum production. The oil sector
continues to be a pillar of the economy, accounting for
nearly 45% of export earnings and generating an approximately
equal percentage of public sector revenue.
Ecuador is now undergoing widespread economic reforms and
modernization and is aggressively seeking to diversify away
from a strict reliance on both petroleum and primary agricultural
exports. A number of projects are underway to diversify
Ecuadorian exports and to thus avoid the boom and bust cycles
that inevitably accompany an economy that is overly reliant
upon primary exports.
total exports reached $4.926 billion in 2000. This is approximately
a 10% increase from 1999, when total exports equaled $4.451
billion. Ecuador is currently the world's leading exporter
of bananas and the fourth leading exporter of petroleum
in Latin America, after Venezuela, Mexico, and Colombia.
Ecuador's primary exports for 2000 are summarized in the
Amount (Millions of US $)
of Total Exports
the six primary-goods exports above accounted for 72.2%
of all Ecuadorian exports in 2000, value-added, secondary
goods exports are gradually growing in importance. While
such exports accounted for only 3.8% of total exports in
1999, their percentage rose significantly to 6.0%, by 2000.
Artisan goods are an important component of Ecuador's secondary
goods exports. These handicrafts, which are primarily produced
by the country's Indigenous peoples, are recognized the
world over for their creative designs and high levels of
quality. The Ecuadorian tourism sector is also expanding
rapidly. In 2000, 637,000 travelers visited Ecuador, spending
more than $400 million.
steady diversification of Ecuadorian exports can be attributed
to the country´s vast resource base and high-quality
goods, as well as to the ongoing government promotional
now exports a wider variety of goods that at any time in
its history. Moreover, Ecuador is now exporting more intermediate
and final goods than ever before.