The Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez Frías announced last Tuesday the signature of an agreement for the extraction -in Barinas state, Venezuela- of 30 million cubic feet of gas per day, by the Spanish company Repsol.

The Head of State attended a meeting between Venezuelan and Spanish businessmen, as part of his official visit to Spain.

The Venezuelan minister for the Especial Economic Areas of Development, Francisco Natera, who also attended the encounter, announced a meeting and a major business round in the first weeks of March, between Venezuelan and Spanish entrepreneurs.
“Venezuelan businessmen are already convinced of what great opportunities for development and investment we have”, he said.

According to Natera, this is an ideal opportunity for Venezuela and Spain to close deals and to carry out productive activities for the benefit of both peoples.

The president of Empresas Polar (Venezuela), Lorenzo Mendoza, part of the group that accompanied president Chávez in his visit, said that “the delegation has proved successful, the visit has been productive, the president transmitted a message in which private entrepreneurship is important”. He added that at this moment, the Spanish and the Venezuelan business sectors are willing to make long term investments in the development of the country.

The Spanish businessman José Cuevas said to the media that his fellow businessmen expect the Venezuelan government and entrepreneurs to present set forth a document specifying the areas that they consider of greater priority for investment and commercial exchange. He informed that Spain will present a document with the commercial and investment initiatives of the Spanish businessmen for Venezuela.

Cuevas pointed out that this visit should also be regarded as a set of entrepreneurial operations with an impact on the trade balance. He said that a new stage is starting in Venezuela, amid a new economic, social, and political atmosphere, in which Iberian businesses can create instruments for development in all investment plans.

“Curiously, although we invest more in Iberoamerica than in Europe, we sell from 60% to 80% of our production in this continent, and 7% to 8% of it in Iberoamerica”, he explained.

In this first meeting, there were representations of the 25 most important companies in Spain, including Repsol, La Compañía de Telefonía Española (The Spanish Phone Company), and Banco Santander. In the second meeting ,Venezuelan and Spanish businessmen will set forth specific projects.

The Venezuelan minister of Production and Commerce, Wilmar Castro indicated that after president Chávez’ visit to Spain, the goal is to increase the trade balance between the two countries from 800 million to a billion euros.

“Throughout the last eight years, we’ve had a very even trade balance, at an average 800 million euros in exports and imports, although in the last year, there was an enormous decrease, as a result of the estrangement between Venezuela and the previous government”, said Castro Soteldo.

“We believe that these trade volumes can not only be recuperated, but also increased. We are setting ourselves a goal of above a billion euros in the trade balance” he noted.
The Venezuelan officials met with the representatives of the tourism business, as well as with industrial and financial sectors.

“The initial intention is to promote our country as a space for strategic investment in areas that are highly important for both nations, such as energy, telecommunications, agriculture, metal manufacturing, construction and tourism”, said Castro.

They also held conversations with the strong sector of the social economy, especially with the Coren and Mondragón cooperatives.

Published in Quantum N.42