ICTSI Ecuador unveils special economic zone at the Port of Guayaquil 

Contecon Guayaquil S.A. (CGSA), International Container Terminal Services, Inc.’s subsidiary in Ecuador, welcomes the creation of a special economic zone at the country’s main seaport as an immense opportunity to boost the country’s foreign trade. 

On 20 April, the port operator, together with national government and port authority representatives, formally presented its Declaration of Special Economic Development Zone (ZEDE) – a high-impact project that aims to strengthen the competitiveness of Ecuador’s exports.  

ZEDE will be situated in an area adjacent to the Port of Guayaquil – considered a prime and strategic location due to the port’s interconnectivity with the country’s main production centers, other maritime ports, and airports – creating a hub of strategic interest for national and international investments.  

“The ZEDE promoted by Contecon Guayaquil S.A., has an unbeatable location, next to the Guayaquil Maritime Port, whose scheme has an absolutely clear and stable regulatory framework that will enable the development of long-term financial and tax planning while also covering activities included in the prioritized sectors of the Ecuadorian economy,” explained José Antonio Contreras, CGSA General Manager.  

The ZEDE offers a complete and stable regulatory framework of Ecuadorian legislation for the development of high-impact investments. Within the framework, the project generates added value to the supply chain and provides the State and business operators a competitive area for their activities as required by law. 

To attract businesses, the ZEDE will offer several tax incentives that include exemption from Income Tax for the first 10 years of the project and reduction of 10 points from the tax rate for the next 10 years; exemption from Foreign Exchange Exit Tax for up to 20 years; exemption from Foreign Trade Taxes for a similar period, as well as Value Added Tax credit on local purchases; benefits in sectional fees and taxes, depending on the location and location of the project; and benefits in special customs processes for the scheme. 

“The declaration of this ZEDE speaks for itself, of coordinated public-private work (…) and that it should continue as a state policy,” said Iván Ontaneda, Ecuadorian Minister of Production, Foreign Trade, Investments and Fisheries.  

Minister Ontaneda also noted that the promotion of projects such as the ZEDE generates investment and new jobs for young people. 

Aside from creating positive economic impact, the ZEDE will also join the Port of Guayaquil’s environmental scheme to become the first carbon-neutral special economic zone in Ecuador. It will also implement a strict environmental sustainability plan starting from day one of its operations – a first for the region.  

Championing environmental stewardship, CGSA became the first carbon-neutral port in Latin America in 2018. Last year, it handled the world’s first carbon-neutral shipment comprising banana exports. The terminal has handled more than 12 million TEUs since commencing operations in 2007, mobilizing over five million tons of export cargo annually.  

Iván Ontaneda (left), Ecuadorian Minister of Production, Foreign Trade, Investments and Fisheries, with José Antonio Contreras, CGSA General Manager, at the recent unveiling of ZEDE