The governor of Táchira state of Venezuela, Freddy Bernal, considers that the reopening of the border between Colombia and Venezuela will bring benefits to the local economy of the state he governs, as well as to all border regions of Venezuela and Colombia. He made this statement during an interview, where Bernal also commented that once the border is reopened, it will promote tourism and cross-border trade exchanges.
Such exchanges would generate jobs on both sides of the border and economic benefits for both the countries, Bernal remarked. He also gave some details about how the economic recovery in the area is projected.
Táchira aspires to achieve a trade volume between Colombia and Venezuela of around $7 billion, in addition to the benefits to about 500 businesses in San Antonio de Ureña municipality. The cross-border trade is also projected to generate or reactivate about 3,000 direct jobs in the state in the upcoming months, and up to 20,000 indirect jobs.
Bernal specified, “The Federation of Chambers of Commerce (Fedecámaras) of Táchira is ready for the reopening of the border since it will be a win-win for all.” He added that in the next few days a meeting will take place in San Cristóbal between the Chambers of Commerce of Venezuela and Colombia to fine-tune the cross-border trade mechanisms.
The Táchira state government has been in contact with the superintendent of the National Integrated Customs and Taxes Administration (SENIAT), José David Cabello, to determine which products can be imported, so as not to undermine locally and nationally produced goods.
Bernal clarified that the border had been closed “solely and exclusively” under instructions from outgoing Colombian President Iván Duque, despite several reopening efforts made by the governments of Táchira and Venezuela with authorities of Norte de Santander department of Colombia.
The recent call by the president-elect of Colombia, Gustavo Petro to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro signals a political will for a commercial reopening. Governor Bernal expressed hope that from now on, there will be greater controls in the illegal crossings originating from Colombia.
¡Buenas noticias #Táchira! El presidente electo de Colombia, @petrogustavo, se comunicó con nuestro gobierno, para abrir nuevamente la frontera Colombo-venezolana. ¡Vamos rumbo a la prosperidad económica! ¡Somos hombres de palabra! pic.twitter.com/7We5wzZMWz
— Freddy Bernal (@FreddyBernal) June 22, 2022
“Paramilitaries and armed groups are protected by Colombian police and army,” stated Bernal. “I am sure that this will change when Petro assumes the presidency and smuggling will be minimized.”
(RedRadioVE) by Ana Perdigón
Translation: Orinoco Tribune