Economy & Business - October 2023


COLOMBIA/VENEZUELA | A year since the border reopened. Colombia’s minister of trade, industry & tourism, Germán Umaña, said on 26 September that bilateral trade between Colombia and Venezuela at the three main border crossings between the countries totalled US$196.8m in the year since the border was reopened to vehicle traffic. Reopening the Simón Bolívar, Francisco de Paula Santander, and Atanasio Girardot international bridges between Colombia’s Norte de Santander department and Venezuela’s Táchira state was one of the first major diplomatic and economic acts of Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro, reversing the deep hostility which characterised bilateral relations under his predecessor, Iván Duque (2018-2022). Umaña said that Colombian exports to Venezuela dominated the cross-border trade flow over the past year, with Colombia exporting US$177m of goods and importing US$19.8m. He said that, beyond these figures, the restoration of cross-border traffic had restored the role of institutions and brought social benefits. This was an allusion to the soaring power of smuggling gangs in the border region while the frontier was closed to vehicle traffic from 2015-2022.

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