Venezuela Free Trade Agreements

Venezuela is convinced that the implementation of the results of the Uruguay Round, which it considers positive on a global scale, will lead to more stable, reliable and predictable trade conditions, based on open markets and the strengthening of multilateral trade rules and disciplines. Improvements to the GATT dispute settlement mechanism, which Venezuela has repeatedly referred to, are of particular importance to Venezuela. The effectiveness of the systems has been enhanced by the automatic adoption of the panel`s reports and the possibility of using the appeal body, whose conclusions and recommendations will be binding. Since the late 1980s, Venezuela has concluded numerous bilateral and regional trade agreements with its neighbours or with other countries in Central and South America. Venezuela is also engaged in longer-term regional trade projects, such as the Free Trade Area for the Americas and the Latin American Integration Association. The report stresses that such agreements must remain open and liberal. EU trade with Venezuela is affected by Venezuela`s ongoing economic crisis. In 1990, Venezuela, Colombia and Mexico began negotiations for an economic complementarity agreement that would lead to the creation of a free trade area. On 1 January 1995, the tripartite free trade agreement came into force, which marks an important step in the economic relations between the signatories and for the future of Latin American integration processes. Despite the serious economic problems that have arisen in recent years, Venezuela has largely avoided the reversal of major trade reforms launched in 1989, as well as a broad programme of macroeconomic reforms. However, foreign exchange controls introduced in 1994 to limit capital flight can have significant commercial effects. Over the next few years, Venezuela will continue its policy of negotiating and opening trade to create a broader economic space that will improve the competitiveness of its economy at the international level.

These aspects are of particular importance to Venezuela, especially as trade relations have increased considerably in recent years. As part of the process of adapting to the new realities of the global economy, Venezuela`s participation, first in the GATT and then in the WTO, is seen as part of the highest importance of a development strategy including the promotion of production sectors, the increase in non-oil exports and the modernization of Venezuela`s legal framework for foreign trade. In December 1994, the Congress of the Republic ratified the WTO agreement, underscoring the importance Venezuela attaches to the agreement. In addition, it was agreed to abolish the application of special tariff regimes in the sub-region on 1 January 1996 in order to avoid distortions within the customs union. Historically, Venezuela`s trade relations with North America have been important. For many years, the United States has been the largest export market for Venezuela and, as in the case of Mexico and Canada, potentially the largest recipient of Venezuelan products in North and South America.