VENEZUELA

Logistic and forwarding services in Venezuela

Venezuela

Capital City
Caracas

Population
30 Mio. (est.)

National languages
Spanisch

Currency
Bolívar (BsF)

Gross national product (GNP)
USD 374 Mrd. (est.)

GNP per person
USD 7.576 (est.)

Financial exports to Switzerland
CHF 386 Mio

Financial imports from Switzerland
CHF 4 Mio.

Bilateral relations Switzerland–Venezuela

Bilateral relations between Switzerland and Venezuela are good, but not particularly well-developed.

Economic cooperation

In 2015, Switzerland imported goods – primarily gold and to a lesser extent agricultural products and metals – worth CHF 278m. The value of Swiss exports – primarily pharmaceuticals, machinery and precision instruments – totalled CHF 377m.

In 2014 Swiss direct investments stood at CHF 1.7bn and around 6,773 people in Venezuela were employed by Swiss firms.

 

Business Language

Spanish. English can also be used in correspondence with large companies.

 

Dimensions and weights

Metric system.

Currency

National currency 1 Bolívar (BsF) = 100 Céntimos.

ISO code: VEF

Customs tariff

Harmonised system.

Import control

Import is largely liberalised. If an import licence is required, this must be obtained before shipment of the goods. The goods must arrive in the country before the licence expires (they are generally valid for 180 to 360 days). The import of meat and meat products is somewhat restricted. Approval from the Ministry of Agriculture is required to import disinfectants, fungicides, herbicides and insecticides. There is a ban on the import of goods including psychotropic substances, asbestos, slags, used tyres, vehicles and clothes.

There are foreign currency controls in Venezuela. Foreign currencies for foreign trade transactions must be applied for in advance from the control authorities CADIVI by the economic agents and obtained from here.

Standard VAT rate: 12%

Terms of payment and tenders

Tenders in all freely convertible currencies, preferably EUR or USD on a CIF basis. Letter of credit or cash on delivery advisable. Small transactions should be handled using payment in advance where possible (consult with the banks). Tenders in freely available currencies. Tenders in Spanish where possible.

Designations of origin

No general regulations. Since December 2016 Venezuela is excluded from the “Mercosur”.

Marking/labelling

There are labelling regulations for the disposable packaging of all consumer goods and medical preparations. Designations of origin required on fabrics. Ask the importer or his representative. Some goods are subject to special regulations.

Packaging

Seaworthy packaging, stable but as light as possible. Indicate the gross weight and the port of destination on boxes. Do not package goods of different customs classes in one package where possible. Where this is unavoidable, indicate the precise net weight for each customs position, total tare and gross weight and separate fob values. Avoid hay and straw otherwise a disinfection certificate is required. Used sacks are prohibited. The regulations of ISPM no. 15 apply for wooden packaging materials. If imported items bear national Venezuelan emblems approval by the Venezuelan Interior Ministry is required.

Product samples

Samples which have no retail value as they have been cut, holes have been made in them or similar can be imported duty free. The samples should ideally be labelled “Muestras sin valor comercial”. Samples with a value must always be declared even if no payment is made (security totalling the import duties).

Shipping and accompanying documents

Standard and:

a) Commercial invoices: 2 commercial invoices in Spanish with all standard information including the country of origin, value in EUR or an agreed currency, individual and total price, delivery and payment terms etc. An oath must be given at the end of the invoice in the form of the following price declaration signed by the exporter: “Declaramos bajo fé de juramento que los precios cotizados en esta factura son los normales de exportación al mercado venezolano para esta fecha”. No certification by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce or General Consulate is required.

b) Consulate invoices are not required.

c) Certificates of origin are generally not required, with the exception of goods intended for human consumption, then: certificate of origin (1 copy) or a health certificate from the country of origin. The certificate of origin must be legalised by the consulate. Indicate the country of origin (ask the Chamber of Industry and Commerce about the consular fees).

d) Bills of lading, no certification, order bills of lading not permissible even if a notify address is given. Sea freight must be used. Each bill of lading may only refer to one recipient. All bills of lading must be hand signed.

e) Postal packages up to 31,5 kg: 1 international dispatch note, 3 customs declarations in Spanish/French/English with a description of the goods based on the Venezuelan customs tariff. Postal packages should not be addressed to banks. Sending packages directly to the payer or an agent in the port of La Guaira FAO the bank, where applicable sending the bill of exchange to the bank, is recommended.

f) In the case of food exports, a certificate showing compliance with maximum radioactivity values is required where applicable (instructions can be obtained from the importer, ask the Chamber of Industry and Commerce).

 

Venezuela is to be excluded from Mercosur

The four other member states of the Mercosur trading bloc, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, have excluded Venezuela from “South America’s Common Market”. The stated reasons are fundamental infringements of the constitutional and democratic principles, compliance with which is a requirement for membership.

Conditions from the accession protocol not fulfilled

An official communication from the government of Paraguay datedDecember 2, 2016, indicates that Venezuela has been excluded from the trading bloc. As a result, Venezuela is now only an associate member, which is only allowed to take part in certain meetings at the invitation of the member states. As early as last summer, Venezuela was set a deadline of December 1, 2016, to comply with the entrance requirements. The Mercosur states accuse the country of not fulfilling fundamental principles of democracy and the rule of law, and of exhibiting deficits in the adoption of the Mercosur rules in matters of trade.

The Mercosur states base their decision on Article 60 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. Venezuela has sharply criticized the decision and characterized it as unlawful.

Impact on trade still unclear

Venezuela is primarily an importer in the Mercosur alliance, which means that any restriction to the preferential tariff arrangements could above all affect the remaining member states. But for the relationships with the EU and EFTA, the decision could mean that free-trade negotiations will be taken up again with greater vigor.