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South America’s neighbors are friends again – but trade worries

South America’s neighbors are friends again – but trade worries

After several years of frosty relations with a significant drop in trade as a result, Venezuela and Colombia have officially resumed diplomatic relations, TT reports.

The new Colombian ambassador, Armando Benedetti, arrived in Caracas on Sunday, and in a video clip said that relations between the two countries should never have been severed.

“We’re brothers and a makeup streak can’t differentiate us,” he says.

Many aggravating factors

But it is not certain that trade between South America’s neighbors will recover as quickly as many had hoped. Although the shops in the border towns were prepared by stockpiling and event planning, the opening of the border did not happen as quickly as many had hoped. In addition, black trade has increased, which can be difficult to push back.

Limited import capacity

The Chamber of Commerce of Venezuela asserts that the Venezuelan economy has shrunk and the import capacity is limited. This has resulted in consumers not enjoying the purchasing power as before. With trade waning, Maduro has signed trade deals with political allies such as Iran and Turkey, and it is now unclear how that will affect the situation.

– I am concerned when I hear people say that they want to strengthen the existing trade relations of both countries, because unfortunately these are informal relations. What we want to rebuild are formal relations, on equal terms for all, without setbacks, says Tiziana Polisel, president of the Venezuelan Chamber of Commerce.

Refusal to recognize re-election

The frosty relationship between the two countries emerged in 2019 after former Colombian President Ivan Duque refused to recognize the re-election of embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. But when Colombia’s new left-wing leader Gustavo Petro won the presidential election in June, both countries decided to reopen their embassies.

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