Venezuelan businessmen make their way into ABC islands after the drop in consumption in the country

El presidente de Consecomercio, Gustavo Valecillos


According to figures from the National Council of Commerce and Services (Consecomercio), the sector registered a contraction of around 7% during the first half of 2023.


During a visit to Carabobo State, the President of Consecomercio, Gustavo Valecillos, expressed concern about the current contraction of the economy. He explained that the low consumption of Venezuelans, high inflation and the lack of bank financing for both producers and consumers are some of the reasons that affect the contraction of the market.

“We need financing to be able to start a recovery, and financing for everyone, including consumers who may then get consumer loans,” he reiterated.

Valecillos pointed out that the only sectors that had growth in the first half of 2023 were technology, consumer goods and pharmacies. The latter registered a 5% increase in sales.

The President of Consecomercio indicated that after the drop in consumption by Venezuelans and the contraction of the market, some producers and manufacturers are making their way into international markets such as the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao). “They are looking outside, because they have to find where to sell their merchandise,” he said.

For her part, the Second Vice President of Fedecámaras, Tiziana Polesel, pointed out that the opening with the ABC islands and Colombia represents an opportunity for sectors of the economy that have been stagnant for years, such as construction.

She said that in these islands there is a need for construction products and materials, so there are already some manufacturers that have established the first contacts to start exporting.

“In the ABC islands there is a gigantic need for construction materials, for everything that has to do with the construction sector and this is one of the most affected (…), because it is the sector that in Venezuela depends directly on credits and during all these years it has been the most stagnant in Venezuela,” she said.

According to figures from the Venezuelan Chamber of Construction, this sector of the economy has contracted 96% in the last 10 years, which has resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs and a housing deficit.

Ms. Polesel added that another sector that has explored international markets is agro-industrial.


The second vice president of Fedecámaras commented that in order for these sectors of the Venezuelan economy to be competitive in other markets, customs processes must be professionalized and streamlined.

“It is important to change that mentality of being only an importing country and begin to see ourselves as an exporting country. For this, we have to prepare ourselves, we have to be more efficient at customs, much faster, because international markets are much more demanding and obviously we have to be prepared for that,” she said.

In addition, she pointed out that other aspects that reduce price competitiveness when placing products on the market are fiscal voracity, failures in public services and irregular fuel supply.

She stated that they hope that the Tax Harmonization Law can solve the issue of high taxes within the municipalities that, she assured, were moving commerce and industry away from formality.

“In some way, we aspire to make it a mechanism that helps lower the tax burden that was hurting a large number of sectors of the economy,” she stated.