46 basic food items are exempt from import taxes
A total of 46 basic food items were exempted from import customs duties, according to a joint resolution of the Ministries of Food, Agriculture and Economy and CENCOEX. Coffee, sugar, rice, oil, tuna, palm hearts, meat and milk are some of the products that top the list of foods free of customs duties. More in Spanish: (Ultimas Noticias, http://www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/noticias/actualidad/economia/46-alimentos-basicos-quedaron-exentos-de-impuestos.aspx#ixzz3kZbeXvIi)
Food from Uruguay
The chairman of Uruguay's dairy institute INALE, has announced that during the first half of this month that nation will send 44,000 tons of powdered milk and 12,000 tons of cheese to Venezuela. More in Spanish. (Ultimas Noticias, http://www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/noticias/actualidad/politica/llegara-primera-carga-de-alimentos-desde-uruguay.aspx#ixzz3kZd40qLy)
Oil & Energy
No breakthrough seen at Russia-Venezuela oil meeting
A meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro, during which they will discuss stabilizing oil prices, is unlikely to yield any concrete results, a senior Russian source said. Putin and Maduro will attend a military parade in Beijing marking 70 years since the end of World War Two in Asia. They will hold a bilateral meeting to discuss "possible mutual steps" to stabilize global oil prices, according to the Kremlin. Russia, one of the world's top oil producers, so far has been unwilling to deliberately cut its crude oil output to support prices, saying it would later be virtually impossible to restart pumping oil at wells that mostly sit in the harsh climate of Siberia. (Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/02/russia-oil-venezuela-idUSL5N11834920150902)
Over 100 tons of tuna have arrived at port on the Venezuela fishing vessel Francisco de Miranda, according to Agriculture and Land Minister General Carlos Osorio. More in Spanish: (AVN; http://www.avn.info.ve/contenido/buque-francisco-miranda-llega-puerto-venezolano-m%C3%A1s-100-toneladas-at%C3%BAn)
POLAR's packing plant has been paralyzed for 35 days for lack of material to manufacture cans needed for packing juices, malts and soft drinks. The material is due to arrive from Germany, and in the meantime 150 workers are on home leave. Their Cleaning Products plant has halted activity for the past 16 days for lack of sodium sulfate for manufacturing soap. More in Spanish: (El Nacional; http://www.el-nacional.com/)
Economy & Finance
Venezuela announces US$ 5 billion Chinese loan for oil sector
President Nicolas Maduro announced China has granted his government a US$ 5 billion loan to boost oil output here. "We have signed a special program for a US$ 5 billion loan to progressively increase oil production in the coming months," Maduro said. The two countries will negotiate "joint projects in the areas of reconnecting oil wells and services associated with crude production," says Maduro. Maduro said the loan was destined "to increase oil production in a gradual way in coming months," without providing further details. A source at Venezuelan state-run oil company PDVSA reported that China was set to extend a "special" US$ 5 billion loan that would likely stipulate hiring Chinese companies to boost output in the company's mature oil fields. China also agreed to a gold mining deal and a joint development plan through 2025, according to Maduro, who traveled on August 29 to China and Vietnam, saying the trip was aimed at "seeking support in these difficult times." China's loans to Venezuela now stand at US$ 56.691 billion. (Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/02/venezuela-china-oil-idUSL1N11801K20150902; http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/02/us-venezuela-china-oil-idUSKCN0R201V20150902; The Economic Times, http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/business/venezuela-announces-5-billion-chinese-loan-for-oil-sector/articleshow/48778847.cms; El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/economia/150902/china-grants-loan-to-venezuela-to-increase-oil-production; and more in Spanish: El Mundo, http://www.elmundo.com.ve/noticias/economia/politicas-publicas/prestamos-chinos-a-venezuela-ascienden-a--56-691-m.aspx#ixzz3kfdqDpdI)
Venezuela starts the month with US$ 16.5 billion in FOREX Reserves after having serviced the VENZ 22 and 31 (US$ 423 million) and the VENZ16 and 18 (US$ 115 million) bonds in August. (Veneconomy, http://www.veneconomy.com/site/index.asp?ids=44&idt=45313&idc=2)
Border closures could lead to increased prices here
A report by the ODH economic research firm indicates that "increasing border controls increases the risk of contraband, which could lead to increasing prices on basis goods and could have the same impact on the unofficial exchange rate". More in Spanish: (El Nacional; http://www.el-nacional.com/)
Politics and International Affairs
Border and migratory conflict with Colombia continues:
- President Nicolas Maduro announced he will continue taking "structural and radical" measures at the country's border as his government decided to expand state of emergency over the entire border state of Táchira.
- At the same time, Maduro expressed his wish to talk directly to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.
- UNASUR Secretary General, former Colombian President Ernesto Samper also proposed a bilateral meeting between Maduro and Santos.
- Vice President Jorge Arreaza says the Maduro regime is "evaluating" imposing similar restrictions along the border in Zulia state.
- National Assembly President, Lieutenant Diosdado Cabello also said the regime is thinking of decreeing a state of siege in some other parts of the border, in the states of Apure and Zulia.
- Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has described his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolás Maduro's claims of an alleged plot to assassinate him with "the consent" of Bogotá as "absurd", and attributed shortages and devaluation to the failure of the Venezuelan economic model.
- Opposition leader Henrique Capriles warns Colombia's Santos to avoid Maduro's diversionary trap: "The Venezuelan regime, headed by Nicolás Maduro, is trying to provoke the Colombian government" in an effort to distract attention from the domestic crisis.
- Ambassadors to Colombia from more than 20 countries and a representative of the Organization of American States (OAS) have visited the city of Cúcuta, on the border with Venezuela, to ascertain the effects of a migration crisis between the two countries.
(Latin American Herald Tribune, http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=2395617&CategoryId=10717; Veneconomy, http://www.veneconomy.com/site/index.asp?ids=44&idt=45302&idc=1; El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150902/luis-almagro-accepts-invitation-to-visit-cucuta; http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150902/santos-describes-as-absurd-alleged-plot-to-assassinate-maduro; http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150902/ambassadors-from-more-than-20-countries-visit-the-colombia-venezuela-b; and more in Spanish: Ultimas Noticias, http://www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/noticias/actualidad/politica/gobierno-evaluara-medidas-en-frontera-de-zulia-con.aspx#ixzz3kfYYDsRJ; http://www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/noticias/actualidad/politica/capriles-pidio-a-santos-no-denunciar-a-venezuela-e.aspx#ixzz3kfZX3joN; AVN; http://www.avn.info.ve/contenido/ejecutivo-evaluar%C3%A1-situaci%C3%B3n-fronteriza-del-estado-zulia-autoridades-regionales; http://www.avn.info.ve/contenido/samper-propone-reuni%C3%B3n-presidentes-maduro-y-santos-para-tratar-tema-fronterizo; El Nacional; http://www.el-nacional.com/; El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150903/cabello-no-descarta-estado-de-excepcion-en-apure-y-zulia)
UN Mission remains in Guyana where they have met with that country’s authorities over the territorial dispute with Venezuela, and is expected to immediately travel to Caracas. The Guyanese government has ratified its stand of taking the territorial dispute to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. (Veneconomy, http://www.veneconomy.com/site/index.asp?ids=44&idt=45314&idc=1)
Spain's Senate presses for freeing political prisoners in Venezuela
Spain's Senate has passed a motion urging that nation's government to press Nicolás Maduro for freeing 75 political prisoners "as soon as possible". There were 234 votes in favor of the motion, one against, and 5 abstentions. The resolution also urges the government to send observers under the aegis of the European Union to guarantee credibility of parliamentary elections here. More in Spanish: (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150902/senado-espanol-pide-gestionar-libertad-de-presos-politicos-en-venezuel)
Lilian Tintori meets with John Kerry, López sentence expected momentarily
Lilian Tintori, the wife of opposition leader Leopoldo López, has met with US Secretary of State John Kerry to apprise him of the current status of a lawsuit against the Venezuelan opposition leader and coordinator of Voluntad Popular (People's Will) party. Earlier, the closing arguments in the trial against López had been presented, where, according to the counsel for the defense, there was no evidence of any links between the defendant and the violent events that occurred in Venezuela in 2014. Tintori also advocated the release of all Venezuelan political prisoners and respect for human beings. (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150902/lilian-tintori-meets-with-john-kerry)
Seven ministers and other officials must resign this week to run for the National Assembly
Venezuela's election watchdog NGO SUMATE has warned that according to the law seven Cabinet members and other officials must resign by September 6th if they mean to run for the National Assembly. This includes the Ministers of Housing and Habitat, Education, Oil and Mining, President's Secretariat, Land Transport, Communes, and Indigenous People. It also includes the mayors of San Francisco (Zulia) and Guanare (Portuguesa), and First Lady Cilia Flores, who heads social programs, and the wives of the governors of Nueva Esparta and Táchira. More in Spanish: (El Nacional; http://www.el-nacional.com/).
Venezuela sends 13 tons of food to homeless in Dominica
Venezuela has shipped a third cargo with humanitarian aid to Dominica, for a total of 13 tons of food for the people hit by the passage of Erika tropical storm in the Caribbean island. The cargo "consists of 10 tons of medicines, food and drinking water," said Venezuela´s Minister of the Interior, Justice and Peace General Gustavo González. It follows an initial shipment carried in a military helicopter last week, when the storm took a toll of at least 31 people dead and dozens of missing people in Dominica. (El Universal, http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150902/venezuela-sends-13-tons-of-food-to-homeless-in-dominica)