US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte has met Ecuador's President Rafael Correa during a four-nation tour of the region aimed at improving ties.
Talks between Negroponte and Correa appeared cordial
Mr Correa is an ally of Venezuela's left-wing President Hugo Chavez and has criticised US President George W Bush.
But he called on the US to extend a preferential trade deal. Mr Negroponte said that was Mr Bush's intention.
Mr Negroponte has already visited US ally Colombia, and is set to fly on to Panama and Peru.
Analysts say the tour is a response to accusations the US is neglecting the region and to counter the influence of Mr Chavez.
It follows President Bush's five-nation tour of the region in March.
Talks between Mr Negroponte and Mr Correa appear to have been cordial, says the BBC's Americas editor, Will Grant.
"We want to move forward with long-term commercial ties," said Ecuador's Foreign Affairs Minister Maria Espinosa.
But analysts say the US is carefully watching developments in Ecuador, where Mr Correa recently cancelled a trade-protection deal with the US, said he would close down the American military base in Ecuador, and has thrown out the World Bank representative.
This is the first diplomatic tour for Mr Negroponte, the former US national intelligence director, in his new role at the state department, though he has previously served as a US ambassador in the region.
In Bogota, he held talks with President Alvaro Uribe.
Mr Negroponte said that he hoped Colombia "would soon benefit from the approval by our Congress" of a bilateral trade pact which is awaiting ratification.
Colombian Vice President Francisco Santos had warned that a lack of progress on the deal could affect relations between the two countries.