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Ecuador Sees Miami Trade Fueling Export Growth, Ambassador Says

Ecuador, which doubled exports to the U.S. over the last three years, is seeking to expand trade with the world’s biggest economy by tapping consumer demand for the South American nation’s food and agricultural products.

The world’s biggest banana producer and top grower of cocoa beans used in fine chocolate opened a commercial office in Miami yesterday in a bid to increase exports, the Andean country’s ambassador to the U.S., Nathalie Cely, said today in an interview. Agricultural goods from Ecuador are sold in Whole Foods Market Inc. supermarkets, and the country plans to boost exports of fresh fruit, cut flowers and fish by using Miami’s access to direct flights to Asian nations like South Korea, she said.

“Miami is an extremely important port for us,” Cely said by telephone from the Atlantic-coast city known for its beaches, international banks and high concentration of Spanish-speaking Americans. “On the East coast we see big opportunities but we are also targeting the Latin American market inside the U.S.”

U.S. imports of Ecuadorean goods jumped 29 percent last year to $9.6 billion while exports to the South American country increased 12 percent to $6.1 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The U.S. is Ecuador’s biggest trade partner.

“A large part of our exportable goods have high potential in the Latino market,” Cely, Ecuador’s former production minister, said. “One of the things that makes me very happy is to find our chocolates here.”

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