Venezuelan non-oil exports hit 60-year low
The private sector estimates exports below USD 1 billion this year
Venezuelan non-oil private exports this year will end at a record low, according to Francisco Mendoza, a former president of the Venezuelan Association of Exporters (AVEX).
"This year we will break the floor of less than USD 1 billion in exports, which had not happened in Venezuela since the 1960's," Mendoza said at the 68th Annual Meeting of the Federation of Trade and Industry Chamber (Fedecámaras).
The activity continues to decline because of the serious obstacles faced by Venezuelan domestic manufacturers. "The outlook is pretty gloomy; competition in Venezuela is becoming increasingly complex due to recently enacted laws, the situation (of delays) in ports, and the shortage of foreign exchange."
Additionally, he noted that legal uncertainty and an exchange rate "artificially fixed" are two other major hindrances. "Only a few companies, namely those participating in very specific markets, are still involved in exports," Mendoza added.
In this sense, he warned that Venezuela's entry into the Common Market of the South (Mercosur) can be counterproductive for domestic entrepreneurs. "Venezuela is not ready (for Mercosur)."
He recalled that 10 years ago Venezuela recorded a surplus in its trade balance with Colombia, but gradually the situation changed and now Colombia prevails in bilateral trade.
José Vicente Rangel clearly said: "We are not conducting negotiations threatened with a gun in the head." He warned behind closed doors in the midst of the social upheaval occurred during the oil strike in 2002 and 2003. Dissenting Timoteo Zambrano answered back that no other option was available: "The thing is that otherwise, you do not negotiate."