Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez received on Tuesday Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in Caracas to sign agreements expanding trade between the two countries. Among the deals was an accord to import as many as 10,000 cars from Argentina this year instead of Colombia.
Chavez said last month he’d “freeze” relations with Colombia over the country’s plan to allow the US military to use its bases and accusations by Colombia that Venezuelan weapons fell into the hands of Colombian guerrillas.
“This bilateral meeting today is aimed at deepening our vital integration” Mrs. Kirchner said today on the steps of the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, following a meeting of the two leaders.
Venezuela is Colombia’s second-biggest trading partner, and last year bilateral trade rose to 7 billion US dollars.
Mrs. Kirchner and Chavez signed agreements for Venezuela to import one billion US dollars in agricultural machinery, leather goods and poultry products, Argentine newspaper Clarin reported on its Web site. The deals were signed after more than 70 Argentine businessmen arrived in Caracas Monday to meet with government officials.
Pedro Bergaglio, president of Argentine textile makers association Fundación Pro Tejer told reporters today in Caracas that Venezuela’s state importing agency Suvinca agreed to buy 100 million USD in textiles this year.
In preparation for Tuesday’s meeting, Argentina’s Production Minister Deborah Giorgi met with representatives from carmakers, including Renault Argentina unit, Ford Motor Co., Daimler AG’s Mercedes, Toyota Motor Corp. and Fiat Spa, according to a statement from the ministry.
Mrs. Kirchner also anticipated that among the bilateral agreements is “a rice export deal, the biggest ever in Argentina’s history”.