Senior U.S. Treasury official heads to Ecuador and Peru

By Thomson Reuters Feb 21, 2024 | 8:06 AM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Assistant Secretary Brent Neiman is holding meetings with government officials and private sector leaders in Ecuador this week as the South American country seeks U.S. financial support amid escalating violence.

The visit by Neiman, Treasury’s top official on international finance, is the latest by U.S. officials to Ecuador as Washington works to boost bilateral cooperation after the election of President Daniel Noboa, a 36-year old businessman who started his term in November.

Neiman began the previously unreported meetings in Quito on Tuesday and will continue discussions on Wednesday, before traveling on to Peru from Feb. 21-25, Treasury said.

Neiman will discuss Noboa’s economic policies with international financial institutions and review recent Treasury technical assistance, including on government finance, banking and financial services and payment systems, Treasury said.

In Lima, Neiman will meet with government and private sector officials to discuss bilateral economic relations, and then travel to Arequipa for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) finance-track deputies’ meeting, Treasury said.

Noboa last month said he was seeking financial support from the U.S. and Europe, as well as extending output from an oil block that was voted to be shut down, as he looks to free up funds to fight organized crime.

Ecuador has seen escalating violence, with gunmen storming a live TV broadcast last month, even as the economy is struggling to meet its domestic debt obligations, limiting its ability to borrow from overseas.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Nick Macfie)