US President Joe Biden on Monday will welcome Ecuador's President Guillermo Lasso, an ally who has also been sealing a trade agreement with China, the White House said.
Lasso won a surprise victory in 2021 as Ecuador's first conservative president in 14 years, an anomaly amid a wave of victories in Latin America by left-of-center leaders including in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Chile.
The United States has sought a warm relationship with Lasso, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken visiting Ecuador last year and praising his record on democracy and good governance.
But Lasso has also sought more commitments from the United States on trade and in the meantime traveled to Beijing, where he set a goal of sealing a free trade deal by the end of 2022.
Lasso has reported progress on the deal and has also reached an agreement to restructure more than $4 billion in debt to China left over from a previous government.
The Biden administration has identified China as the top global competitor to the United States although it has refrained from presenting an us-versus-them choice.
In a statement Friday, the White House said Biden would speak to Lasso about economic integration including the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity, an initiative announced in June by Biden that will step up cooperation but is short of a full-fledged free-trade deal.
The two leaders will also discuss "the importance of strengthening democratic institutions" and "Russia's unprovoked and unjustified war in Ukraine," the White House said.