QUITO – Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said Tuesday that during the course of the negotiations his government is pursuing with China to obtain financing for the Coca Codo Sinclair hydroelectric dam, Quito “sometimes feels ill-treated.”
Ecuador is negotiating with China a loan to finance 85 percent of the construction cost, but, Correa says, “Regrettably, the negotiations have been very tough.”
“Sometimes we feel ill-treated by China; not even the International Monetary Fund treats us like this,” he said at a meeting with reporters upon his return to Ecuador after attending the Ibero-American Summit in Estoril, Portugal.
He said he wanted the talks for the loan to “finish up quickly” but said that if they do not bear fruit, Ecuador “will know how to find the funds to finance Coca Codo,” a statement that would imply “changing the policy toward China, because that is not a policy of friends, to treat us like they’re treating us.”
Correa, a U.S.-trained economist, said the Chinese representatives asked in the talks that Ecuador list “the inventory of assets” that it will put up “as a guarantee” for the loan and that “the Central Bank put up its assets as a guarantee,” which he called “outrageous things that are really humiliating for the country.”
Thus, he asked for an answer as to whether the two countries “are working as friendly countries in mutual cooperation or (as) rivals” to “make the pertinent decisions, because those funds can be obtained from another source (by) changing Ecuador’s international policy.”
Building the hydroelectric center is considered to be the largest infrastructure project in Ecuador’s history and it is predicted to require an investment of about $2 billion, 85 percent of which is supposed to come in the form of a loan from China’s Export-Import Bank.
To date, it has been established that the Chinese firm Sinohydro will be in charge of the construction. EFE