The trade promotion entity Pro Ecuador, in collaboration with the Hong Kong firm Yee Fung Hong, is carrying out an intensive promotion activity this year in Tagua, a subtropical tree nut that has been nicknamed "vegetable ivory" for its whiteness and hardness.
The head of the Commercial Office of Ecuador in Shanghai, Diego Vega, explained to Efe today, the tagua, also called corozo, is already used more and more in the world of fashion as an alternative material to the plastic and the bone in the buttons , although they also want to disseminate industrial and craft uses.
An Ecuadorian trade mission participates from 11 to 13 October at the Textile and Accessories Fair of Shanghai for this promotion, which includes advertising videos, exhibitions and meetings with young designers from China and other countries to analyze the use of this material and its possibilities .
"The durability and resistance of the tagua button makes that within the fashion industry is already well known," said Vega, who explained that the researcher Javier Carvajal, from the Catholic University of Ecuador, is studying the possibility of using this material vegetable as polymer base for industrial use.
In Ecuador, tagua is also used as a substitute for ivory in the production of handicrafts, something that could be of interest to a country like China, where the demand for elephant tusks encouraged cross-border illegal trade for years.
Due to its use in the textile industry, Ecuador already exports tagua to markets such as Hong Kong (1.2 million dollars), Turkey (927,000 dollars), China (525,000 dollars) and to a lesser extent to Spain and Italy, although in the Chinese case the 35% tariff that applies to this product slows sales somewhat.
"We hope that during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Ecuador, in November, a tariff reduction can be negotiated," Vega told Efe.
The promotion of the tagua seeks environmental benefits that do not remain only in its possible use as a substitute for ivory, but also in the fact that it is trying to stop the cutting of its trees in coastal areas of Ecuador, where sometimes the forested areas they give way to banana crops or palms for oil.
"We want to stop deforestation, since it is a product of the area of Manabí, where the earthquake occurred this year, and give it a value because it is a product 100% biodegradable, resistant and that supports the environment," stressed the chief commercial. EFE