Despite being light years away from good times, US food and agricultural imports are on the rise in Venezuela.
For the past two decades, “enemies” have returned to businesses run by the private sector, despite fears from former partners about sanctions.
“Venezuela has been absent from the import and export world for some time, but it is coming back,” Luis Vicente Garcia, general manager of the Venezuelan-American Chamber of Commerce (VENANCHAM), told AFP.
“There is an important point,” he noted.
Total imports of food and agricultural inputs to Venezuela rose to $ 2.4 billion in 2021, 31.2% higher than in 2020, while the Caribbean country slumped to 80% in seven consecutive years of recession, with alarming growth.
Purchases from the United States reached $ 634 million, next to $ 934 million in purchases from Brazil, according to a report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture last April. Although far from the $ 1.4 billion recorded annually between 2010 and 2014, this figure is 44.8% higher than the previous year. In 2017, it reached $ 400 million.
Demand for this specialty has grown significantly as a result of recent corporate scandals, such as cereals, pasta, vegetables and processed fruits.
Venezuelan imports are preferred for food exemptions from 2018 onwards.
– Oil on the side –
The United States does not recognize the re-election of President Nicolas Maduro in 2018. A year later, in an attempt to provoke his downfall, it launched sanctions against the socialist government, including an oil embargo.
Previously, between 2017 and 2018, sanctions were personal, freezing bank accounts and barring dozens of U.S. citizens and companies from doing business with public officials.
According to VENAMCHAM, trade between Venezuela and the United States reached $ 38 billion in 2008, when the North American country was the largest consumer of Venezuelan oil. It was recorded at $ 1.955 million in 2021, but the free fall stopped.
According to the same company, the exchange rate continues to rise: 27.72% in the first quarter of 2022, compared to the same period of the previous year.
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