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Kaine, Menendez, Risch, Rubio Celebrate Committee Passage of U.S.-Ecuador Partnership Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, joined Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Committee Ranking Member Jim Risch (R-ID), and Subcommittee Ranking Member Marco Rubio (R-FL) in applauding the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s passage of their United States-Ecuador Partnership Act of 2022. The bipartisan proposal, which now moves on to the Senate Floor for a final vote, is the first legislative proposal in the U.S. Congress to focus exclusively on U.S.-Ecuador relations. Recognizing Ecuador as a key democratic partner in Latin America, the legislation lays out a comprehensive diplomatic strategy to strengthen U.S.-Ecuador cooperation on issues of mutual interest, including strengthening democratic institutions, promoting inclusive economic growth, supporting environmental conservation initiatives, and expanding capabilities to address corruption, crime, and malign foreign influence. The legislation also authorizes the transfer of two excess Coast Guard vessels to the Government of Ecuador to support the protection of the Galapagos Marine Reserve, deterrence of illegal fishing, and interdiction of narcotics trafficking.

“I am very proud to have the Senate Foreign Relations Committee speak with one voice in support of the path we’ve laid out for the future of the U.S.-Ecuador partnership,” Chairman Menendez said. “In the last five years, Ecuador has emerged as a model in Latin America and the Caribbean for its ongoing efforts to strengthen democratic governance and human rights, to promote inclusive economic growth that benefits all of its citizens, and to take steps to strengthen security, the rule of law, and environmental protections. This legislation will go a long way in ensuring the United States strengthens its diplomatic engagement with Ecuador based on that new reality, providing additional assistance to address new challenges from cyberattacks and cybercrime to combatting mis- and disinformation. I look forward to continue working with my colleagues in the coming weeks so we can secure final passage of this common sense legislation and send it to President Biden for his signature into law.”

“I am glad the committee voted today to strengthen the U.S.-Ecuador relationship. Ecuador has made significant democratic progress over the last five years and has worked to restore market-friendly economic policy,” said Ranking Member Risch. “Our legislation will encourage bilateral cooperation between our nations through stronger commercial ties and greater resilience against state and non-state malign influences. By working together, we will be able to promote economic prosperity and greater stability in the region.”

“At a time of creeping authoritarianism around the world, it’s more important than ever to strengthen our relationships with our democratic partners, especially among our neighbors in the Western Hemisphere,” said Senator Kaine. “I’m glad to see my bipartisan bill – legislation that would bolster U.S.-Ecuador relations, expand economic opportunity, and promote good governance – be voted out of committee. I urge the full Senate to pass the bill when it comes to the floor.”

“In recent years, U.S.-Ecuador bilateral relations have advanced under the leadership of a pro-American administration,” Senator Rubio said. “I’m proud to join this bipartisan effort, which highlights our nations’ economic ties, our mutual security initiatives, and our important development opportunities. The U.S. must rise to the occasion and stand in support of democratic allies in our region.”

Building upon the Senate’s April 2021 passage of the senators’ bipartisan resolution reaffirming the U.S.-Ecuador ties and recognizing the growth of economic relations, security cooperation, and development opportunities between both nations, the United States-Ecuador Partnership Act of 2022:

  • Requires a strategy to expand economic and commercial ties between the U.S. and Ecuador, and facilitate conditions for inclusive economic growth, including for Afro-Ecuadorian and Indigenous communities
  • Supports Ecuador’s leadership on environmental conservation and stewardship
  • Reinforces Ecuador’s efforts to combat illicit economies, including corruption, human trafficking, and illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing
  • Authorizes the transfer of two excess Coast Guard cutters to the Government of Ecuador
  • Strengthens bilateral security cooperation on cyber, law enforcement, and penitentiary issues, as well as the challenges posed by the malicious activities of foreign states