Venezuela -- land of opportunities

Jun 28, 2012 12:00 AM

Venezuela is a bridge connecting North America, South America and Europe, and its proximity to the Panama Canal facilitates access to all those countries bordering the Pacific Ocean. The country has advantages in terms of rich and diverse natural resources, including the largest oil reserves in the world, and the seventh largest in terms of natural gas.
Furthermore, the country has abundant resources in the following areas: hydroelectricity, minerals, aquifers, agriculture, forestry, climate and soil diversity, and biodiversity in flora and fauna. It also boasts huge tourism potential, massive hydrological resources, road infrastructure, advanced welfare and education systems.

The policy platform of social justice that has been pushed by President Hugo Chavez since he came to power in 1999 requires the diversification of production and the adoption of measures to develop a strong social economy. This was achieved through the setting up of micro businesses, new kinds of cooperatives, peasant-run businesses, complementary measures in terms of financial provisions, technical assistance, training, commercialization, and the reform of regulatory mechanisms.
As a result of these policies, the macroeconomic indicators for the Venezuelan economy have registered an average growth of 10.42 % over 21 consecutive terms.

Average inflation during the Chavez government has been the lowest recorded in almost two decades, and Venezuelan GDP grew 47.8 % between 2000 and 2007, according to statistics from the Ministry of Popular Power for Planning and Development and the Central Bank of Venezuela.
This growth trend in GDP since 1999 was only interrupted by two incidents: an attempted coup d’état in April 2002 and a strike in the oil sector at the end of that year and beginning of 2003. These cost the republic more than $ 10 bn and brought a fall in the GDP of 8.9 %.

The decisions and actions taken by the Chavez government have managed to elevate Venezuelan GDP to fourth place among the Latin American economies, behind Brazil, Mexico and Argentina and ahead of Chile, Colombia and Peru.
Private consumption has seen strong growth since 1999 due to factors such as lower inflation, the drop in unemployment, the recuperation of workers’ salaries and a set of social policies aimed at guaranteeing basic consumer goods for those sectors of the population who have traditionally suffered exclusion.

Venezuela's trade policy in the period from 2001 to 2008 has allowed for the creation of a solid basis for a production model capable of generating self-sustaining growth, promoting product diversification and achieving international competitiveness in the context of macroeconomic stability. This has facilitated a resounding and wide-ranging reengagement in globalized international trade.
Opportunities for investment and trade in Venezuela are plentiful in sectors such as oil, electricity distribution, petrochemicals, aluminum, iron, steel, agriculture, tourism and mass consumption services.

And Venezuela's extensive participation in regional and sub-regional treaties and agreements means that many Venezuelan products can be exported with low tariffs and free from duties.
Many of these products also enjoy preferential access to North American and European markets.

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