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Venezuela Files Complaint With WTO Regarding US Sanctions Targeting Petro

On Jan. 8, the World Trade Organization (WTO) published a dispute settlement request that was filed by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela with regards to executive orders and sanctions maintained by the United States that target Venezuela and the nation’s cryptocurrency, the petro. The document was filed with the WTO on Dec. 28.

Venezuela Files WTO Request for Consultation With the United States Regarding Sanctions

The document, titled “United States — Measures relating to trade in goods and services,” has revealed that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela seeks consultation with the United States regarding “certain measures imposed by the United States in relation to trade in goods and services,” including sanctions that target Venezuela’s oil-backed cryptocurrency, the petro.

The measures in question include an executive order from 2015 that blocked property and suspend the entry of “certain persons contributing to the situation in Venezuela,” and subsequent executive orders issued in 2017 and 2018 that further target the Venezuelan economy. Venezuela asserts that the U.S. sanctions breach the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994 and the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).

United States Accused of Imposing Discriminatory Trade Measures on ‘Venezuelan Digital Economy’

The request asserts that the U.S. has unilaterally imposed “coercive trade-restrictive measures … on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,” including “Discriminatory coercive trade-restrictive measures with respect to transactions in Venezuelan digital currency.”

Venezuela Files Complaint With WTO Regarding US Sanctions Targeting PetroVenezuela claims that the US sanctions subject Venezuelan financial service supplies to treatment that is “less favorable than that accorded to like services and service suppliers of WTO Member States not subject to the measures.”

The document states that “inasmuch as digital currencies originating in the United States are not subject to the same prohibitions as Venezuelan digital currencies, the United States is according less favorable treatment to Venezuelan financial services and service suppliers than to like domestic financial services and service suppliers, in violation of Article XVII:1 of the GATS.”

The request seeks the “modification, replacement or amendment” of the aforementioned U.S. sanctions targeting Venezuela.

What is your reaction to Venezuela filing a consultation request with the World Trade Organization regarding U.S. sanctions targeting the Venezuelan digital economy? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Written by Ravi Gupat

Ravi grew up in India and graduated in Economics. He is a serial entrepreneur who has founded and exited several companies in tech and media over the past 15 years. He is also an early stage investor and advisor in various blockchain-based companies.


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