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Venezuela and Colombia seek to “increase their commercial trade, that was very much affected (with a decrease from 2 billion U$ to 600 million) throughout 2002 and 2003 by the coup d’état, the oil sabotage, and a wave of terrorism,” said president Chávez, after his interview in Cartagena with Colombian president Alvaro Uribe.

Chávez assured that integration should not only be commercial. He acknowledged the work of the ministers of commerce of both countries to increase their commercial trade because “we are now recovering and getting close to 2 billion U$”.

He stressed that both countries are committed to upgrading bilateral relations and to solving the problems that might hinder integration between Venezuela and Colombia. “There is such dynamic activity along the border line, that we must upgrade it and solve all the difficulties we may find ahead, whether they are legal, human, related to customs, or to macroeconomic policies” he pointed out.

Among the several issues discussed by Chávez and Uribe in this meeting-the fourth one between the two presidents- is their preliminary agreement made on July 14th in the El Tablazo petrochemical complex(Venezuela), to construct a gas pipeline between both countries, which will also include Panama.

Both presidents went over topics like the electrical interconnection and commercial trade between both countries, and the construction of a multiple pipeline that will extend between 1,000 and 1,300 kilometers, from Maracaibo, Venezuela; to the Colombian Pacific coast, in order for Venezuela to export hydrocarbons to Asia.

“We have come to continue working on issues like the gas pipeline, the electrical and fluvial interconnection, commercial trade, and the South American Union”, Chávez commented. At first, the gas pipeline would enable Colombia to send the required supply to its western regions, and thus offset its deficit. Then it will be used for gas exportation, once the surplus levels of production have been achieved in these fields. The study of the project’s economic and technical feasibility was carried out upon the signature of a preliminary agreement by the Colombian oil company Ecopetrol, Chevron Texaco, operator of the Ballena field; and the Venezuelan state oil company Pdvsa.

Published in Quantum N.40