Ecuador's Lasso issues decree to boost investment

Ecuadorean President Lasso testifies at the National Assembly, in Quito

QUITO (Reuters) -Ecuador's President Guillermo Lasso on Tuesday signed a decree to attract private investment and create new jobs as the South American nation faces deepening political uncertainty.

The decree would create regions with special customs, tax and foreign trade regimes, as well as tax exemptions, the government said.

"We are going to positively transform local and international trade," Economy Minister Pablo Arosemena told reporters at the decree-signing event.

Lasso is ruling by decree after dissolving the national assembly legislature which had sought to impeach him.

Tuesday's decree, like the tax cuts he announced last week for middle-income earners and small businesses, is subject to approval by the constitutional court.

Lasso, a conservative former banker, has called for early elections, citing Ecuador's political crisis and domestic turmoil.

It is unclear whether Lasso will run in the elections, which are likely to be held Aug. 20. One international media outlet quoted him saying he would not, but the minister of government said on Tuesday Lasso was weighing the decision.

Lasso is set to give a speech marking the start of his third year in office on Wednesday.

Afterward, he will travel to the United States for a medical procedure, the government said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon, returning May 28.

(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Carolina Pulice; Editing by Richard Chang and Grant McCool)