After seven years of a ‘depressed‘ commercial exchange, the arrival of a new government in the Narino Palace promised a different economic dynamic between Colombia and its neighbor Venezuela, making it the main axis of his foreign policy.
Almost four months after the commercial reopening on the border between North of Santander and Tachira, the business dynamics still does not meet the expectations generated, according to experts and businessmen in the sector, although for other actors, “the situation is going well”.
This recovery process commercial through this border point it culminated operationally on January 11 when cargo passage was established over the bridge Atanasio Girardotformer Tienditas, which days before inaugurated the private passage of vehicles between the two countries, one of the verticals that remained to be restored.
“Being able to pass freely in private vehicles and public transport has positively impacted supermarkets, restaurants, the sale of auto parts, pharmacies and commerce in general”, pointed out Sergio Castillo, executive president of the Cúcuta Chamber of Commerce.
This transit authorization will increase the trade flow between the two countries, which for now only counts the other two bilateral connections: the bridges Simon Bolivar and Francisco de Paula Santander.
So, for these points, from September 26 to January 5 1,270 vehicles circulated with 28,906 tons transported, which represented a commercial exchange of $27.2 million, according to figures provided by the Ministry of Commerce.
And, in general terms, trade has been multiplying between January and October 2022, where exports to the neighboring country have grown 102.5%; imports have done the same in 30.5% and the trade balance favorable to the country rose 121.7% compared to the previous year.
“I see very good prospects for trade between the two countries. We estimate that trade could end up above US$650 million in 2022, a figure that can be considered low compared to the past, but we only have almost a semester to reopen”, explained Maria Luisa Chiappepresident of the Colombian-Venezuelan Chamber (CCV).
“Exports, without reopening, have been higher than last year. This behavior has been evident since January, before reactivating the border”, reaffirmed the directive.
Physical and legal security These are the requests made by foreign trade actors in the face of the resurgent economic dynamic with the neighboring country, which is advancing at a slow pace.
Javier Díaz, president of Analdex, maintained that the commercial restoration “it will take more time than originally mentioned”, taking into account the great drop in Venezuelan GDP from more than 70% in seven years.
One of The expectations Facing the reestablishment of these relations is in the normalization in terms of security but, according to the manager, this has not yet fully materialized, since “the mafias that used to be under the bridge are now on it” Y “until it is solved“, not there may be an increase considerable confidence for vehicular traffic.
A similar situation was denounced from the Chamber of Commerce from La Guajira, formerly the main passage for merchandise to Venezuela. “No change is perceived for the area. The entry and exit of merchandise by trails is reported to evade controls and taxes “they pointed out.
Flights, agreements and consulates: what is coming
Among the next steps to promote the relationship between the two countries there is the rubric of bilateral agreements of complementarity in different areas, in order to guarantee the requests of the private sector.
Another of the stages to be developed is in the massification and standardization of commercial flights between the two countries, which currently only have charter flights.
Also, after the second meeting between Petro and Maduro, It was agreed to expedite the return of the main consulates.