The reopening of the border between Colombia and Venezuela has led to commercial growth between the two countries and represents a “complete success,” according to recent public remarks from Germán Umaña Mendoza, minister of the nation’s Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism in Colombia (MinCIT).
Photo: Officials gathered recently to discuss Colombian/Venezuela trade at an event called “The Border as a Bridge.” (redit: MinCIT)
After being closed for seven years since a high-profile fallout over Colombia’s support for Juan Guaidó as the nation’s legitimate leader, the reopening of the border for commercial and non-commercial ground transportation in Norte de Santander helped increase total trade value to $143.8 million USD in the nine-month period from September 26, 2022, to June 30, 2023, according to the MinCIT.
Of that total, Colombian exports represent the vast majority, accounting for $130.4 million USD, while imports totaled $13.4 million USD, according to MinCIT.
Mendoza pointed out that one of President Gustavo Petro’s key objectives after taking office was to re-establish economic and trade relations with Venezuela. The reopening of the border for ground transportation through Norte de Santander was a significant achievement in furthering those goals, and the countries also negotiated the development of the Partial Scope Agreement No. 28, which has already been applied.
The minister also highlighted that the ultimate goal is to translate these developments into improved well-being for citizens on both sides of the border. “With this process in the Norte de Santander, the integration of borders is revived and ongoing,” said Mendoza. “From this government of change, we work not only for regional integration, the friendly resolution of conflicts, humanitarian, economic, and social crises experienced in some border areas, but also to overcome gaps and ensure institutional improvement and adequate socioeconomic development.”
The meetings, named “The Border as a Bridge,” where the minister made his remarks featured the participation of authorities from both countries, including Venezuela’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment Promotion Johan Álvarez, Venezuelan General Consul in Cúcuta Sergio Ramón Arias, Colombia’s Ambassador to Venezuela Milton Rengifo, and the Norte de Santander Governor Silvano Serrano.
The official report by MinCIT ranks Venezuela seventh in terms of Colombian exports of agricultural, agro-industrial, and non-mineral industrial goods to the market. The neighbor nation accounts for 2.8% of these export categories from Colombia.
The transportation market, through multiple border crossings and other transportation methods, amounted to $234.1 million USD for Colombia, representing an 8.4% growth compared to the same period in 2022. There was also a 14.1% increase in terms of volume.