Colombian Commerce Minister says Colombia will take measures to ensure the flow of trade continues after Venezuelan protesters closed a border crossing Wednesday in the latest of a series of crises that are negatively affecting Colombian exports to Venezuela.
Protesters in Venezuela closed a border crossing with Colombia near Cucuta, the capital of the northwestern state of Norte de Santander, for an undisclosed length of time calling on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to improve social conditions a Venezuelan national media source said Wednesday.
The Colombian Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Santiago Rojas said he was confident that “the flow of trade between Colombia and Venezuela can be maintained” reported the Venezuelan newspaper.
The closing of the border by Venezuelan protestors came on the same day Rojas discussed the detrimental effects the continuous economic and social crises are having on Colombian exports during a conference for Proexport, an organization that promotes investment and trade in Colombia. Rojas said that exports to Venezuela, “a natural market and very important” for Colombia currently hover around $2.5 billion while in years past exports had reached as high as $7 billion annually says El Espectador newspaper.
According to data from DANE (National Administration Department of Statistics) Colombian exports to Venezuela amounted to $2.1 billion between January 2013-November of 2013 which amounted to 4% of Colombia’s exports during that same period. Total exports for Colombia during the period of January 2013-November 2013 was $53.5 billion. The $4.5 billion drop in Colombian exports to Venezuela presented by the Rojas could translate to as much as an 8% loss in total annual exports for Colombia.
The government has made an increased effort to open new windows of trade with other countries, particularly in the Middle East and Africa to make up the financial loss attributed to fewer exports heading to Venezuela says El Espectador.
Colombia also reportedly owns a large amount of Venezuelan debt which has made trade between the neighbors more difficult as Colombian exporters try to simultaneously extract debt payments and open new export channels to Venezuela.
- Comercio, gran afectado por la crisis con Venezuela (El Espectador)
- Comercio Exterior – Exportaciones (DANE)
- Manifestantes cierran frontera entre Colombia y Venezuela (El Universal)