Colombian opposition Senator Piedad Cordoba will work to re-establish ties with Venezuela during a visit to the socialist country next week.
Cordoba, who on Wednesday met with representatives of Colombian businesses affected by Venezuela’s trade restrictions, said that she does not rule out meeting with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to press him to re-open trade with Colombia, reports Caracol Radio.
The meeting between Cordoba and the business representatives took place in the Chamber of Commerce in Cucuta, the capital of the Santander department, which borders Venezuela.
According to Cordoba, the Colombian businesses have written a letter to Chavez asking him to produce a “road map” to alleviate the commercial situation and pay debts to Colombian exporters, reports the European Press Agency.
The letter requests that the Venezuelan government “study the possibility of repaying [the debt owed to Colombian exporters] with fuel.”
They also request that Venezuela establish an import quota for food manufactured in Santander, which they claim would benefit thousands of Colombians and Venezuelas in the border region who have lost their jobs due to the trade restrictions imposed by Chavez following diplomatic disputes with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.
Colombian exporters, who sold $6 billion worth of goods to Venezuela in 2008 but only $4 billion in 2009, estimate that Venezuelan importers owe them more than $1.5 billion in unpaid debt.