Ecuador - Country Commercial Guide
Processing and Packaging Equipment
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Ecuador is a key exporter of shrimp, bananas, cacao, and cut flowers.  Imports dominate most of the machinery and supplies needed for the processing and packaging industry.  Market growth is largely tied to investment in technology and the expansion strategies of companies.  Manufacturing represented 14.76 percent of GDP in 2021 and 14.43 percent in the first quarter of 2023. 

Ecuador is characterized for pursuing a policy of selective import substitution in an effort to shift from being largely dependent on oil and agricultural exports to exporting high value-added products.  The Ecuadorian government promotes the development of local industry, including non-oil export sectors.  For that reason, the market for processed goods is considerable, requiring machinery, supplies, and technology from abroad. 

In addition, the Ecuadorian government has taken general actions to facilitate imports.  The current rate of the capital exit tax (ISD) is 3.5 percent, down from five percent in 2021.  This tax is one of the most distorting taxes in the foreign trade sector.

The United States is one of the largest suppliers of processing and packaging equipment to Ecuador, with 15 percent of imports in 2022.  The PRC also leads as a supplier in this category with 38 percent of imports.  Other countries that sell to Ecuador include Brazil (5 percent) and Germany (4 percent).

Tariffs for processing and packaging equipment range from 0 to 5 percent.  With few exceptions (like labeling and filling machines), there is a 12 percent value added tax (VAT) and 0.5 percent Children’s Tax on most equipment.   

Companies in this industry are aware of the need to remain competitive with up-to-date technology, as well as highly efficient production processes. 

Table 1: Ecuador’s Imports of Processing and Packaging Equipment

HTS codes: 8423, 8434, 8435, 8437, 8438, 8439, 8443. 


2020202120222023 estimated
Total Local Production     
Total Exports $    4.2$   7.1$11.4$6.48
Total Imports $ 160.0$  178.19$233$235
Imports from the US $ 56.4$  66.5$70.7$72
Total Market Size $ 160.0$  178.19$233$235
Exchange Rates 1111

(total market size = (total local production + imports) - exports) 
Units: $ millions 
Source: Central Bank of Ecuador 

Leading Sub-Sectors 

  • Packaging or wrapping machinery 
  • Filling, sealing, and capping machines 
  • Cleaning and sorting machinery 
  • Dairy production equipment 
  • Bottling services (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) 
  • Brewery equipment 
  • Mixing, grading, and filtering apparatuses 
  • Equipment to process and pack processed foods 
  • Printing and labeling equipment 
  • Automation or remote solutions
  • Sustainable packaging


The food processing industry is not yet sufficiently developed to satisfy local demand, let alone increase exports.  The sector is highly diversified.  Besides importing processing and packaging machinery, Ecuador also imports the raw materials needed for packaging such as cardboard boxes, plastic wrap, plastic bags, and labels.   

The primary end-users for packaging machinery are:  

  • Food and agricultural industries, including supermarkets
  • Meat packers
  • Fruit/vegetable processors and exporters
  • Banana, shrimp, and flower exporters
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Packaging processors

Market opportunities for U.S. manufacturers also vary broadly, determined by equipment size and production capacity.