Venezuela: Nicolás Maduro met with the Argentine ambassador, Oscar Laborde
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The president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, visited the residence of the Argentine embassy in Venezuela. He was accompanied by the People’s Power Minister for Petroleum, Tareck El Aissami, the People’s Power Minister for Agriculture, Wilmar Castro, and the Office Minister of the Presidency, Jorge Elieser Márquez. For Argentina, he was received by Ambassador Oscar Laborde and the Head of the Argentine delegation in the Mercosur Parliament, Alejandro Karlen.

During the meeting, the progress of the mission of Argentine companies “Argentina and Venezuela twinned by production”, which are currently in Venezuela, made up of, among others, Biogénesis Bagó, a regional biotechnology company that researches, produces and markets veterinary products and services; Farmalife, a chain of pharmacies; Isowean pig production; Santa Clara, dedicated to the production and marketing of dairy products; Rizobacter agricultural microbiology and De Vivar Agropecuaria.

“Important agreements were reached to increase bilateral trade, which will mean a substantial increase in Argentine exports to Venezuela, helping to alleviate external restrictions. Agreements on cooperation in the field of animal vaccination, pig production, technology transfer, and collaboration agreements and productive articulation are advancing. It was agreed with the Argentine businessmen to advance with technology and exchange agreements”, stated the Argentine ambassador Oscar Laborde.

For his part, President Maduro informed the Argentine authorities and the business delegation that Venezuela was the country that grew the most in the world, in line with the announcement by the president of the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV), who reported in September that the The economy of the OPEC member country grew 17.04% in the first quarter of 2022.

In addition, he added that Argentina this year tripled its commercial relationship with Venezuela. The Venezuelan head of state was particularly interested in jointly developing and promoting buffalo cattle, since Venezuela is the country with the second largest number of buffaloes in the American continent, with 3 million heads. In this regard, he is working on a project to declare it as an animal of Mercosur, granting it free transit.

In the presence of the Minister of Petroleum, Tareck El Aissami, the measures for energy integration were discussed and analyzed, as well as the integration of the waterway with the Orinoco basin. A group of companies from the agro-industrial sector carried out a business mission in Venezuela this week, in order to detect commercial opportunities for Argentine products and evaluate various investment possibilities in Venezuelan agriculture, based on coordinated work with the representations of Argentina. The delegations were received at the Argentine Residence by the ambassador, Oscar Laborde, and the Mercosur parliamentarian, Alejandro Karlen, and the son of the Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro Guerra, who was elected as a constituent of the ANC on July 30, 2017, and as a PSUV delegate.

Based on the needs raised by the Venezuelan government to increase the planting of corn, rice, soybeans, sunflower, cotton and sorghum, the Argentine Embassy has been designing trade missions and schedules of activities and meetings between businessmen and authorities. “The objective is to detect business opportunities for sectors such as agricultural machinery, seeds and fertilizers, among others,” said Ambassador Laborde, who also stated that “the intention is to cultivate Venezuelan fields, for which they have the assistance of INTA technicians. , recognized for their extensive and efficient trajectory”.

The day before, a meeting was held with Tareck El Aissamim, who has served as Minister of Industries and National Production since June 14, 2018 and as Minister of Oil since April 27, 2020, and Ambassador Laborde also attended. There they analyzed the regional energy integration process and potential development agreements. In this regard, Karlen pointed out that the Mercosur Parliament has been working on “promoting the development of the energy infrastructure of our countries as an element that guarantees the sustainability of South American integration, but also thinking about the development of renewable energies, since they comply with an important role in the diversification of the primary energy matrix, energy security, the promotion of universal access to energy and the preservation of the environment”.

Before the end of the year, Argentine producers will be cultivating a significant number of hectares in Venezuelan territory, a surface that will be expanded in the coming years. For the operation of these productive units, agricultural machinery, seeds, fertilizers, irrigation systems, spare parts and machinery parts, among others, will be exported from Argentina. Likewise, it should be noted that the Argentine embassy has detected export opportunities for this technological package also for other fields in Venezuela, for which business rounds have already been developed.

As a result of the progress made by the various missions, a substantial increase in bilateral trade is expected, which has already been recovering in recent months. In this regard, it is essential to highlight the historically surplus character of bilateral trade with Venezuela. The Venezuelan government seeks to increase the planting of corn, rice, soybeans, sunflower, cotton and sorghum. As is public knowledge, the agri-food supply in Venezuela is characterized by having been structured according to the consumption of the population concentrated in the main urban centers, and has been largely determined by the progressive linkage of the Venezuelan agri-food sector to the agri-food system configured to international scale. This link resulted, in practice, in a high degree of dependence on imports of raw materials for agro-industrial processing.

In the meeting, which lasted more than three hours, the issue of Venezuela’s return to Mercosur was discussed. In this regard, Karlen expressed that “there is a commitment from the Mercosur States Parties committed to working in favor of re-entry, which contemplates a solution in favor of the well-being and development of the Venezuelan people and as a call to the entire region to the need to a greater and more enlarged union. The Mercosur Parliament itself has a draft recommendation of its own in this regard. “We are working from the Mercosur Parliament to strengthen and highlight Argentina as a provider of technical cooperation and agri-food partner of Venezuela, given the economic complementarity between the two countries,” said parliamentarian Karlen. And he concluded: “It is part of the process to consolidate the integration of what is considered the most important political agreement in the region, as an element of stability that undoubtedly strengthens its economic and political ties.”

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