Venezuela Expands Range of Food Items Considered of “Essential Necessity”

On Thursday, the Venezuelan government officially classified a range of vegetables, meats and milk products as “goods of essential necessity” or “goods of mass consumption,” exonerating them from import tariffs. 

By Juan Reardon – Venezuelanalysis.com

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Numerous vegetables including carrots, lettuce, and tomatoes are now classified by the Venezuelan government as “goods of essential necessity” (archive).
Numerous vegetables including carrots, lettuce, and tomatoes are now classified by the Venezuelan government as “goods of essential necessity” (archive).
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Mérida, March 11th 2011 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – On Thursday, the Venezuelan government officially classified a range of vegetables, meats and milk products as “goods of essential necessity” or “goods of mass consumption,” exonerating them from import tariffs. According to Venezuelan government newspaper Correo del Orinoco, the Venezuelan Ministry of Land and Agriculture (MPPAT) and Ministry for Food and Nutrition (MINPPAL) prepared the resolution so as to ensure the Venezuelan people’s nutritional needs are secured.

The newly classified goods cited in the government’s resolution include: bovine meat and its sub-products, milk and its derivatives; onions, leeks, garlic, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, turnips, carrots, lettuce, and tomatoes. In addition, powdered milk formulas for infants and other protein-derived nutritional supplements are included.

The agricultural inputs required to produce these “essential” food items – such as seeds and agrochemical inputs - also fall within the government’s resolution.

Based on articles 91 and 92 of Venezuela’s Organic Law on Customs, the newly classified “goods of essential necessity” are now exempted from import tariffs and other fees that often affect the quantities and prices of the imports.

As noted in the government’s resolution, “the [Venezuelan] state seeks to guarantee the food security of the country, assure the permanent availability of nutritional food items, as well as the production of goods and services that satisfy the [food] needs of consumers.”

The increase by 27 of specific goods defined as of “essential necessity” is part of a larger strategy by the Venezuelan government to invest in and consolidate a national food production and distribution system that can fully meet the Venezuelan people’s food and nutritional needs on its own.

Often referred to as the Food Sovereignty Framework, this model requires efficient controls on imports so that national food production is protected. However, it must also establish appropriate import policies to ensure sufficient amounts of foods are available at any given point in time.

In the case of this new resolution, importers interested in bringing these goods into Venezuela must demonstrate in writing that domestic production is not sufficient to meet the population’s needs, at which point MINPPAL will determine what specific amounts of each item can be imported without the normal import fees.     

Officially signed into law on 4 March 2011, the new classification is valid for one year from the 10 March 2011 date it was published in the government’s Gaceta Oficial Nº 39.629.