A year ago, Colombia and Venezuela reestablished trade relations suspended since 2015. Bilateral trade has been taking small steps and challenging some legal and political obstacles.
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However, the challenge for Colombian businessmen is to recover spaces and expand beyond the border, where there is greater agility and commercial exchange. However, countries like China, the United States and Brazil are ahead.
To this end, this September 27, 28 and 29, a macro business roundtable will be held in Caracas, in which it is expected – according to data provided by Procolombia – that more than 200 businessmen of both nationalities will exchange proposals.
In a press conference a few weeks ago, Carlos Luna, director of the Procolombia office in Venezuelahighlighted that the idea is to integrate the productive chains of both countries and that progress has been made in updating agreements and protecting investors.
According to sources from the specialized trade portal, trademap.org, by 2022, Venezuela’s exports to Colombia place the New Granada country in 11th place. While China, Türkiye, Spain and the United States are above.
Imports from Colombia to Venezuela are ranked fifth. First is China, the United States and Brazil. Colombia fights for position with the Turks.
Sources from the commerce sector told EL TIEMPO that Venezuelan businessmen are very willing to work with their neighbors, that there is even 60 percent of installed capacity in Venezuela that is not being used and that could be beneficial for both.
Data from the Colombian presidency estimate that one year after reestablishing relations with Venezuela, Colombia has exported 600 million dollars. In 2022, Colombia’s total exports to Venezuela reached 632.2 million dollars, 90.9 percent more than in 2021.
Some obstacles between Colombia and Venezuela
Payment and legality mechanisms have been part of the obstacles. For example, there are businessmen who fear that the lack of legal security on the part of Venezuela will lead to mistakes from the past being committed, such as old ones contracted by Caracas that were never settled.
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The sanctions imposed by the United States on Venezuela are also worrying, as investors fear being sanctioned or Some payments are even rejected if they are made to state companies.
Venezuela’s re-entry into the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) would be of great help – this is what the businessmen have stated – since even immigration and mobility issues would be facilitated.
The CAN has an Andean legal order that allows governments to adopt mandatory community standards and policies on issues of common interest. It is read on its website that the mechanism managed to ensure that 100% of products of Andean origin circulate without paying tariffs within the CAN.
“We achieved that our commercial exchange in the subregion is composed mainly of manufactured products, which are the ones that generate the most employment. We have a complete Intellectual Property Regime that protects the creations of human intellect. We have citizen rights such as traveling with an identity document, without the need for a visa or passport,” details the CAN.
President Gustavo Petro has asked that Venezuela return to the organization it left in 2006 to join Mercosur, where it is suspended.
The latest reports show that Venezuela exports petrochemical products, raw materials and metals to Colombia, while Colombia has exported food and medicines.
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It is expected that the conclusions of the macro business roundtable will be available at the end of the day, in which the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism of Colombia will participate through ProColombia, the Ministry of Popular Power of Economy, Finance and Foreign Trade of Venezuela , and the Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean (CAF).
ANA MARÍA RODRÍGUEZ BRAZÓN
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