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Ecuador Appoints 'Business Friendly' Economics Minister

  • Richard Martinez, Ecuador's new economics and finance minister.

    Richard Martinez, Ecuador's new economics and finance minister. | Photo: Comité Empresarial Ecuatoriano.

Published 15 May 2018

The new minister, Richard Martinez, has opposed redistributive policies and higher taxes for the wealthiest Ecuadoreans.

Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno has announced the appointment of Richard Martinez as the country's new Minister of Economics and Finance Monday. Martinez's appointment brings to an end the tenure of Maria Elsa Viteri, who was appointed in March following the sudden resignation of Carlos de la Torre

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Martinez, who served as the president of the Ecuadorean Business Committee from 2015 until his appointment to his new role in Moreno's cabinet, is widely viewed as a business-friendly appointment.

The Committee and the government had strained relations under former president Rafael Correa with the group opposing the capital gains tax law aimed at discouraging land speculation, a tax on rural land for big landowners, and a progressive tax on inheritances promoted during his tenure.

In 2015 the Chambers of Industry and Commerce along with right-wing parties opposed to the progressive reforms protested against the taxes and supported calls for Correa to step down.

Martinez, 37, is a trained economist and holds an MBA and other postgraduate qualifications in economics and commerce.

He was also president of the Chamber of Industry and Production, between 2014 and 2018, and president of the National Federation of the Chambers of Industry in 2015.

Last week Moreno requested the resignation of all his cabinet members on the eve of his first year in government. Maria Elsa Viteri is the first government official to be replaced since then. She served as a minister during former president Correa’s first government.  

In April, Martinez publicly supported president Moreno’s economic plan, which included a reduction in US$1,000 million of spending in public sector, tax reductions for business sectors, and a new law to incentivize international banking. 

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