BOGOTA Aug 2 Venezuela and Colombia have agreed
to create a special exchange rate to boost plummeting bilateral
trade between the two Andean countries, their presidents said.
The exchange rate will be set at a later date and will
enable each country to trade in its own currency and exchange
any trade surplus into an international currency.
"We have established a system, a mechanism for bilateral
payments, to facilitate the financial aspect of trade," said
Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos after a meeting with his
Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro in the Colombian coastal
city Cartagena on Friday.
Trade between the two countries has fallen 70 percent over
the last five years due to political disputes between the
preceding leaders of the two countries, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez
and Colombia's Alvaro Uribe.
Venezuela's oil-based economy is heavily reliant on imports
but the country is facing shortages as importers struggle to
obtain dollars whose supply is controlled by the government
through a tiered system of exchange rates.
(Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra; Writing by Peter Murphy,
editing by David Evans)