A Colombian delegation will travel to Venezuela Wednesday in an effort to secure a new legal framework for trade between the neighboring nations, reported W Radio Tuesday.
The delegation, consisting of Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin and Trade Minister Sergio Diaz-Granados, is seeking new relations due to Venezuela’s pending departure from the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) trade bloc this April.
President Juan Manuel Santos stated that his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chavez, has reciprocated his desire for Colombian exports to begin flowing freely again to Venezuela. Various diplomatic crises under the administrations of former President Alvaro Uribe considerably damaged trading between the two countries.
Since coming to power, President Santos has emphasised the need to restore political ties with Venezuela and have a new trade deal in place by April 2011.
Santos also added that outstanding Venezuelan debts to Colombian exporters are in the process of being repaid. The president assured Colombian businesses that he is seeking more progress on the matter though.
According to Angela Holguin, “We have information that they [Venezuela] have repaid $600 million but from the Colombian side we are hearing grievances that these resources are yet to arrive.”
However, the minister affirmed that the amount outstanding, some $200 million to $250 million, is sought by businesses that do not have their paperwork in order and therefore are not in a position to demand immediate repayment from Venezuela.
Venezuela announced in 2006 that it would leave the CAN due to the respective pursuit by Colombia and Peru of trading agreement with the U.S.