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Ecuador Hires Big Firms to Lobby In the U.S

Article Summary:

Ecuador, like other countries, needs to get its proposals, resolutions and justifications to the office of those with power of decision in United States; unlike most, they spend upwards of $3 million on well-known lobby firms to do their work.

Photo Credit: America Economia

Original Article Text From America Economia via Google Translate :

Ecuadorian Government Hired Big Firms To Lobby In The U.S.

Ecuador, like other countries, needs to get its proposals, resolutions and justifications to the office of those with power of decision in United States (U.S.): ministers, congressmen, businessmen, trade unionists, opinion leaders, journalists.

Beyond the discourse of sovereignty and self-sufficiency of the technocracy of the citizen’s revolution, the road to talk with key players in Washington or New York is drawn by “contacts”.

And those contacts have names, buildings, offices in several countries and executives dark suit, who may be in a week in Paris, Washington and Quito to solve customer problems. Governments, organizations of all sizes, corporations, political parties … fall into this category of customers.

“They are experienced lobbyists, his work is absolutely legal in the U.S. In Ecuador there are those who compare them with the ‘man bag’, but nothing to do (…). In fact, today, are a necessity, “says a diplomat who asked to maintain the condition of anonymity.

The government of Rafael Correa, since taking office in 2007 to date, has hired large firms to build bridges with the offices of power in the U.S., especially by four themes: media relations, consulting and representation legal court cases, approach trade issues and political lobbying.

According to information provided by the Embassy of Ecuador in Washington, between 2007 and 2011 there have been eight contracts between the diplomatic and Fenton Communications firms, Patton Boggs and DTB Associates.

Fenton Communications, engaged in propaganda campaigns and has six of the eight contracts and their task is to establish contact with media and opinion leaders in the U.S.

Throughout 2011 and so far 2012 has been responsible for assisting in communication, management support of the Foreign Ministry, develop a media plan for conferences, press conferences and interviews of ministers and senior officials, and to map fortnightly actors influence, and a week of discussions on the country in different areas, such as Congress.

Between August 2008 and April 2009, DTB Associates, linked to trade and agricultural issues, advised on the renewal of tariff preferences, ATPDEA, and monitored the immigration issue.

From September 2009 until today, Patton Boggs advises the Embassy in the political and legal issues. For this service, the state pays $ 65 thousand a month. In order to perform his contract says that the representation at meetings with officials of the Executive and Congress. If Patton Boggs has since been hired until March of this year have past 30 months, so the cost of counseling would add about U.S. $ 2 million.

The contracts with these consultants were signed by the former Ambassador in Washington Luis Gallegos, the charge d’affaires, Efrain Baus, and its current owner, Nathalie Cely.

The ambassador said that there are already several years that has kept the relationship Fenton and Patton Boggs for legal issues and communication.

Before taking office in Washington, Nathalie Cely, as minister-production coordinator contacted the firm Blue Star Strategies to support the design of a promotional strategy to attract investment.

The numbers of the Embassy of Ecuador show that such services have cost between $ 2 million and $ 3 million.

But besides this diplomatic representation, other state institutions have also hired not only to firms described above, but also other for various reasons. The Journal asked the Office list of U.S. companies working with them, but the Social Communication Department said that is up to inform the Foreign Ministry. He made the request for information to the ministry but no answer.

However, some of those contracts are released by the Justice Department itself the United States, through the reports delivered to Congress. There you can see how the issue of communication and media relations is a priority. It is recorded that between 2007 and the first half of 2011 there were 27 contracts, which also include consulting and legal and political representation, trade issues and lobbying.

Coordinating Ministry of Production, from 2010, appears as one of the most interested to place their issues on the media agenda to promote exports and investment and maintain the image of a country that expands its offering to the world, while need of tariff preferences.

A particular case is the Corpei that, before reform, engaged the services of these firms in coordination with the State to issues such as the renewal of the ATPDEA or the struggle of the banana to prevent a rise in the tariff of the European Union. Now, that task is in the hands of the Foreign Ministry or ministries that require such services.

In the reports of the Department of Justice, however, of the 27 contracts registered, 14 do not have a description of the amount. Those who do have the value amounting to U.S. $ 1.4 million in the last five years.

In the first week of this month, authorities traveled to Washington to insist on their version of freedom of expression and to rebut, for example, observations of the Human Rights Commission.

The communications secretary, Fernando Alvarado, was one of those who attended and, in an interview published by The Citizen revealed that also came to the U.S. capital to help the ambassador “in the structure of international communication.”

This journal was consulted what role they will have the signatures of communication and consultation in international affairs, such as Fenton and Patton Boggs, and at what cost, but said nothing.

Link to Original Article:

From America Economia

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QH7HTEJMM2W4WUPHZ676GIEFRY Bob

    I believe the government of Rafael Correa has been patterned after Chavez and Morales, he is thick as thieves with them, the 9 point referendum of last year sealed most chances of people going to Ecuador and investing there, it almost reads like a socialist dictate…..we spent a week there, were going to invest, but thought it best not to, we would not like to have the property taken away as Chavez is doing in Venezuela………….

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