Ecuador has a free market economy where the government is in charge of regulating activities and participates with public entities in some aspects alongside the private sector.

In Ecuador’s economic structure, commerce is the main activity amounting to 60% of the economic spectrum and manufacturing industries come in second with 10%.

The main exports are oil and agricultural products such as bananas, prawns, flowers, cocoa and tuna, and the local currency is the U.S. dollar.

Government policy is built around the constitutional principles of free trade and freedom of association. Some aspects of the local economy, deemed strategic sectors, are more heavily regulated.

Foreign investment is welcomed in the country, with important legislation being enacted in the past few years to grant incentives to foreign investors. Bilateral investment treaties with some countries are in force as well as other international agreements that give special protection to such investments.

Lex Mundi in Ecuador

Lex Mundi provides coverage in Ecuador through its member firm, Pérez Bustamante & Ponce (PBP). The firm is a leading full-service law firm in Ecuador with offices in Quito and Guayaquil and relationships throughout the world. Since 1916 it has provided quality legal advice to local and international clients and has participated in many of the country’s landmark legal matters.

Since 2009, the firm has been appointed Ecuadorian Law Firm of the Year seven times by Chambers Latin America and six times by Who´s Who Legal.

Representative Experience

  • Aviation and Transport
    • Advised Corporación Quiport in the concession, planning, negotiation, financing and operation of the new Quito international airport, a greenfield project.
  • Consumer Products and Retail
    • Advised Arca Continental and The Coca-Cola Company in their acquisition of Holding Tonicorp (Toni), a leading local dairy producer.
    • Advised Zara local company in setting up and day to day operations in Ecuador, including corporate, tax, labor and foreign trade and regulatory matters.
  • Energy and Natural Resources 
    • Advised Chilean state-owned mining company Codelco to enter into a joint venture with Ecuadorian counterpart Enami to develop the 300 million-ton Llurimagua copper mine in northern Ecuador.
    • Advised Chilean energy company Abastible in purchasing Spanish Repsol’s Ecuadorean liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) assets for a combined USD 335 million.
    • Part of the multinational team that represented an oil company in a dispute related to the termination of a concession contract. It involved arbitration under ICSID rules that ended with an award in favor of our client.
  • Financial Institutions 
    • Advised joint bookrunners Citigroup Global Markets Ltd. and Credit Suisse in LatinFinance Deal of the Year 2BN sovereign bond issuance (2015) followed by four subsequent issuances.
    • Represented largest bank in Ecuador in several cases regarding alleged moral damages.
  • Infrastructure and Construction 
    • Advised Dubai port operator DP World in a USD 1.2 billion contract to build and operate a deep-water port in Posorja, Ecuador, the first major infrastructure project to be awarded since the enactment of public private partnership (PPP) legislation late last year.
    • Legal representation of a local construction company in an arbitration under ICC rules against an Italian company for alleged breach of contract.
  • Pharmaceuticals and Health Services 
    • We advised Bayer before the Ecuadorian Antitrust Regulator in the Ecuadorian leg of the global acquisition of Monsanto.
    • Telecommunications and Technology:
    • PBP advises OTECEL, Telefonica Movistar’s operator in Ecuador, in all matters pertaining to its local operation: Relationships and negotiation with the government, tax matters, intellectual property, anti-trust and litigation – most notably.

Contact(s) for Ecuador