Venezuela Substitutes Colombian Imports through Trade Deal with Argentina

Venezuelan President
Hugo Chavez and his Argentine counterpart, President Cristina Fernandez de
Kirchner, signed a $1.1 billion bilateral accord to promote trade between their
respective countries during a visit by Fernandez to Caracas on Tuesday. Trade between the two
countries was estimated at $1.4 billion last year.
By Kiraz Janicke - Venezuelanalysis.com

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Argentine President Cristina Fernandez sign trade deals (Agencias)
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Argentine President Cristina Fernandez sign trade deals (Agencias)
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Caracas, August 12th
2009 (Venezuelanalysis.com) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his Argentine
counterpart, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, signed a $1.1 billion
bilateral accord to promote trade between their respective countries during a
visit by Fernandez to Caracas
on Tuesday. Trade
between the two countries was estimated at $1.4 billion last year.

Chavez is aiming to replace imports
from Colombia
and vowing to reduce trade with his neighbour over its decision to grant the United States
the use of five additional military bases. Venezuela is Colombia's
second biggest trading partner after the U.S. The two countries shared an
estimated $7 billion in bilateral trade last year.

Venezuelan Trade Minister Eduardo
Saman said that Venezuela
aims to substitute all imports of raw materials from its neighbour by the end
of this year.

As part of this policy, Venezuela
signed a deal to import vehicles from Argentina to replace a recently halted
deal to import 10,000 vehicles from Colombia.

Fernandez said, "We're not taking away anything from anyone," and added
that the agreement is "very important" because it will boost vehicle production
in Argentina.

"This bilateral meeting today is aimed at deepening our vital
integration," said Fernandez, who was accompanied in Venezuela by a delegation of 70
Argentine businessmen.

The bilateral accord aims to promote
trade between the public and private sectors of both nations, cooperation in
agricultural and industrial sectors, as well as the formation of a number of
joint companies. A
permanent joint commission will be set up to monitor the progress of the
accord.

As part of the deal, Venezuela's
Science, Technology and Trade Ministries and Argentina's Production Ministry agreed
to carry out a number of investment projects involving technology transfer,
establishment of joint ventures, and technical assistance for trade in raw
materials, goods, machinery and technologies.

Among the 22 cooperation agreements signed, the Venezuelan Agrarian Corporation
(CVA) and Verandemi of Argentina agreed to carry out a feasibility study for
the development of various projects related to the exploitation and production
of soybeans.

As part of the push to substitute Colombian
food imports with those from Argentina
and other countries, Venezuela
also agreed to purchase 80,000 tonnes of beef from Argentina. Last year Venezuela
imported 200,000 tonnes of beef valued at $755 million - a third of its annual
consumption - from Colombia.

Venezuela's state importing agency SUVINCA
also signed a deal to purchase $100 million in textile imports from Argentina's
textile makers association, Fundacion Pro Tejer, this year.

A cooperation agreement on the mutual recognition of quality
certificates in the textile and auto parts sectors was signed, as well as other
agreements in the areas of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals , purchase of
drilling equipment, leather goods and poultry products.

Finally, Venezuela's Food Ministry and Argentina's Production Ministry
signed a letter of intent to guarantee a steady supply of a range of basic food
items in Venezuela.

During the meeting, Fernandez said the relations between Venezuela and Argentina are
"an example of the struggle for unity on the continent."

Key to achieving development throughout the region is a policy of
integration based on food and energy production, the Argentine president added.

"All the Argentine entrepreneurs who are participating in these
agreements and are part of this integration process, have a wonderful business opportunity
and Venezuelans should understand that the Argentines are here to work together
with the sister republic of Venezuela, towards the goal that has to be achieved
by the region: sovereignty and food security," she said.

President Chavez warned that U.S. imperialism had launched a new
offensive against Latin American integration, signified by the coup in Honduras and
the establishment of U.S.
military bases in Colombia
aimed at controlling the region's resources.

"We must be aware of the times we are living through, and to stand
together in defence, to defend our raw materials, namely, our vast natural
resources and, by acting together, promote the development of our peoples... and
contribute to the development of peoples further afield," he said.

The
consolidation of these agreements with Argentina is an important step in
that direction, he added. The two countries will hold a second round of
bilateral talks in November.