Ecuador - Country Commercial Guide
Selling Factors & Techniques
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As Ecuador’s largest trading partner, the United States traditionally has been a “natural” market for products and services.  The factors favoring U.S. exports are: geographic proximity of the two countries, many Ecuadorians who study abroad in the United States and develop an affinity for U.S. products, large number of U.S. firms operating in the region, technological leadership that the United States maintains in many key industrial sectors, and high quality of U.S. made products.

After-sales service is significant, not only in the original buying decision, but also in maintaining the sales relationship.  U.S. suppliers must either have their own representative with adequate operations or obtain an Ecuadorian representative who can offer sufficient after-sales service.

To obtain better prices, guarantees, parts, and after-sales servicing, Ecuadorians prefer to deal directly with manufacturers rather than trading companies.

U.S. firms competing for major infrastructure contracts should begin early in the contracting cycle.  U.S. manufacturers and construction, service, and engineering companies should initiate contact as soon as possible with government entities and private firms, which have indicated plans, or even just an interest, in developing projects.  Once a project has gone to tender, it is usually too late to be competitive if the supplier company has not already involved themselves up front in the process.

As mentioned in the section “Selling to the Government,” a local agent or legal representative is required for all government contracts.  Therefore, U.S. companies interested in government procurement or contracts should conduct due diligence and appoint an agent or representative as quickly as possible.

Most U.S. products do not require any changes to comply with regulations applicable to the Ecuadorian market.  Some products are subject to technical requirements such as compliance with specific ISO standards, Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), labeling requirements, and conformity assessment certificates.  Price competitiveness is an important sales factor.  For practical rather than legal reasons, U.S. firms selling high-tech products usually provide training and maintenance support to their distributors and agents.  Local distributors frequently expect foreign suppliers to underwrite marketing and promotion costs, as well as sales support and training.  Sales materials should be in Spanish. 

Under the current invoicing system mandated by Ecuador’s Internal Revenue Service (SRI), a digital sales invoice must be submitted for every transaction regardless of the amount – even when carrying out a free transfer of title.  This obligation applies equally to the provision of professional services of any nature and transactions where the 12 percent value-added tax (VAT) rate applies.