Discusses key economic indicators and trade statistics, which countries are dominant in the market, the U.S. market share, the political situation if relevant, the top reasons why U.S. companies should consider exporting to this country, and other issues that affect trade, e.g., terrorism, currency devaluations, trade agreements.
Last Published: 3/20/2019
Venezuela is experiencing the worst economic depression in the country’s history.  Under the Maduro government, the economy has contracted nearly 50 percent between 2013 and 2017.   Without comprehensive economic reforms, there are few prospects of a recovery in the short term.

For the last 18 years, Venezuela's anti-market orientation has complicated business opportunities in the country.  U.S. exporters to, and investors in, Venezuela are well advised to be mindful of the considerable challenges when assessing opportunities in the Venezuelan market. 

The United States remains Venezuela’s most important trading partner, claiming 39 percent of Venezuela’s exports (primarily petroleum and petroleum products) and 36 percent of its imports in 2016, making Venezuela the United States’ eleventh-largest export market in Latin America.

 Companies seeking to do business in Venezuela must navigate its complex and frequently revised foreign currency (FX) regime.  Multiple FX mechanisms and exchange rates have been introduced, modified, and eliminated over the past several years.  Venezuelan law presently authorizes one official FX mechanism to sell dollars to private sector firms and individuals (Gazette No. 41.329, January 2018).  The mechanism, called the Complimentary Exchange Rate or DICOM, sells dollars to the private sector for all products and services.  The DICOM rate is a variable rate determined by a BCV-managed auction system launched in May 2017.  The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela’s (GBRV) FX regimes have not met market demand for dollars for several years.  A robust parallel market has emerged as a result.  Obtaining foreign exchange on the parallel market is illegal under Venezuelan law.  However, rates for currency sales made outside of Venezuela are updated daily on internet sites. 

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.