Venezuelan and Colombian businessmen ask for legal certainty to reactivate binational trade

Photo: La Patilla

 

Given the possible reactivation of commercial exchange between Venezuela and Colombia in the coming months through the Táchira border, after being blocked for more than three years, businessmen from both nations hope that the legal framework will be complied with so that it guarantees the restart of operations.

By La Patilla – Luz Dary Depablos

Jul 5, 2022

Ending the smuggling of large amounts of merchandise through the illegal crossings between Venezuela and Colombia will be one of the first challenges that the business sector that bets on formality must face, since the Chavista regime institutionalized smuggling when it allowed the legalization of contraband merchandise through the “Seniat” (Venezuelan Tax Office), to be distributed throughout the national territory, despite the closure of international trade with the neighboring country.

At the signing of the Border Agreement held in San Cristóbal, Adam Celis, First Vice President of Fedecamaras, said that he hopes that “these bridges will definitely open to the trade of products and the transit of people in vehicles.”

“We have seen how the transit of goods has become informal. All businesses that are in the informal world are businesses that do not bring anything positive to the country. The formal business is the one that generates value for you, it is the one that pays taxes to the country, it is the one that generates jobs with respectable salaries and generates benefits,” emphasized the Fedecamaras representative.

Mr. Celis believes that Venezuelan producers are committed to “balancing the competitions”, that is, that there is fair competition in the market.

Likewise, Ms. Tiziana Polesel, President of Consecomercio, considers that although the restart of commercial operations will be slow, it must be the market “that has to decide which products have more opportunity than others. Any type of intervention by the government or any external entity is an intervention that is going to be negative.”

On the other hand, Armando Peña, Director of the “Universidad Autónoma del Norte” (Colombia), indicated that in order to regain trust: “legal stability and administrative stability are necessary, since we are waiting for this to be consolidated, although there are already important advances.”

Mr. Peña said that in Norte de Santander they expect to recover between 3 and 4 percentage points of employment. “For example, more than 60 logistics companies closed and left as a result of the border closure.”

According to Isabel Castillo, President of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, on the Táchira border, “only 30% of trade tries to survive” in the midst of a crisis that has worsened in the last seven years, since Nicolás Maduro ordered unilateral and arbitrary closure of the Táchira border.

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