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Jean-Paul ILLY
Head of International Desk Latin America

Support by the
Crédit Agricole group

Last updated: September 2021

The International Desk for Latin America of the Crédit Agricole Group provides support to the Group’s business clients in Venezuela to help them implement their operations on location, particularly opening accounts, and providing financing and guarantees, information and banking advice.

To this end, it draws on a frontline local partner bank with a large network of offices across the land.

For the non-banking sector, the International Desk offers the support of local law firms and accountants. It should be noted, however, that due to the severe political, economic and social crisis of recent years, reinforced by international sanctions, the Venezuelan market has a very unfavourable business climate and is practically closed to foreign investment.

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Means of payment

With Venezuela

Company cheque

Bank cheque

SWIFT transfer

Bill of exchange

Promissory note

Documentary remittance

Documentary credit

Usage

Weak / None

Weak / None

Common

Weak / None

Weak / None

Common

Common

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Advice from the
international desk

General Information

Venezuela is a country rich in natural resources, equipped with the largest petrol reserves in the world (over 379 billion barrels in June 2020), but with a collapsing economy. Oil prices have remained low since 2014, and the government’s economic plan, which is financed by its oil reserves, has not been able to sustain itself. The people are demonstrating in the street and every reform made by the current government or submitted by the opposition cannot make its way through due to the political problems.At the beginning of 2018, the opposition leader Juan Guaidó proclaimed himself president of the country, being supported from several countries since then, including the United States, most of Latin America and the EU. On the other hand, Venezuela continues to be supported mainly by Russia and China, the latter being the country’s largest creditor.

It is a market that should not be neglected but which is highly difficult to access and with heavy controls on foreign currency exchange within a complex legal, political and tax environment and the highest inflation rate in the world.

Testimonies regarding personal safety in Caracas are not encouraging. The national weakness in industry and agriculture and, therefore, high dependence on external sources for supply, despite access difficulties, nevertheless offers trade prospects. It should be noted that the country became a full member of Mercosur on 31 July 2012 but that it was then suspended indefinitely in April 2017. In order to penetrate the Venezuelan market it is recommended to obtain the support of legal and tax advice and to consult the list of priority imports, as this is developed based on the protectionist policies meant to protect the national production sector.

Spanish is Venezuela’s official language. English is frequently used in the business world but the use of Spanish definitely helps trade transactions. In Venezuela business is often discussed over long meals where the atmosphere can be more personal and informal. Even if financial interests can take precedence over personal considerations, the maintenance of good personal relationships is particularly important in establishing trust.

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