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Ecuador's Correa plans no sweeping reforms, wants investment

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Thu, 21 Feb 2013 20:03 GMT
Author: Reuters
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QUITO, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Beaming after his re-election last weekend, Ecuador's President Rafael Correa said on Thursday he is not planning sweeping reforms and instead hopes to attract investors and diversify the economy from its dependence on oil exports.

Since taking office in 2007, the U.S.-trained economist defaulted on ${esc.dollar}3.2 billion of debt, rewrote contracts with oil companies to squeeze more revenue from them, and pushed through a new constitution that gave him more power.

"Everything has been done and there will not be any more big changes. There will not be tax reforms either. That was a mess and it has been improved quite a lot," Correa told Reuters in an interview.

"The rules of the game are clear and now we hope that investors will continue coming."

The 49-year-old president said the ruling party would push ahead with a mining reform in Congress that would let the government sign a contract with Canada's Kinross for a large gold project. He said the deal would be finalized in August.

Correa also said that even though Ecuador was struggling to obtain financing, the ${esc.dollar}12.5 billion Pacifico refinery would be operating within schedule in 2016.

He said China, Qatar and South Korea are interested in financing the project.

Correa also said that in the future he could consider issuing debt for the first time since the 2008 debt default.

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