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U.S. Department of State
Venezuela Country Commercial Guide
Office of the Coordinator for Business Affairs


                                VENEZUELA

                        COUNTRY COMMERCIAL GUIDE
                             FISCAL YEAR 1996


This Country Commercial Guide (CCG) represents a comprehensive look at 
Venezuela's commercial environment through economic, political and 
market analysis.

The CCG's were established by recommendation of the Trade
Promotion Coordination Committee (TPCC), a multi-agency task force, to 
consolidate various reporting documents prepared for the U.S. business 
community.  Country Commercial Guides are prepared annually at U.S. 
embassies through the combined efforts of several U.S. Government 
agencies. 


I.   EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

II.  ECONOMIC TRENDS AND OUTLOOK:
     
     Major Trends & Outlook                    
     Principal Growth Sectors           
     Government Role in the Economy          
     Balance of Payments situation           
     Infrastructure Situation                

III. POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT:

     Nature of Political Relationship with 
          the United States                  
     Major Political Issues Affecting 
          Business Climate                   
     Elections and Major Political Parties                             

IV.  MARKETING U.S. PRODUCTS AND SERVICES:

     Distribution and Sales Channels              
     Use of Agents and Distributors;         
          Finding a Partner
     Franchising                             
     Direct Marketing                        
     Joint Ventures/Licensing                
     Steps to Establishing an Office         
     Selling Factors/techniques              
     Advertising and Trade Promotion              
     Pricing Product                         
     Sales Service/Customer Support
     Selling to the Government
     Protecting Your Product from IPR 
          Infringement                       
     Need for a Local Attorney               

V.   LEADING SECTORS FOR U.S. EXPORTS 
          AND INVESTMENT:

     Best Prospects for Non-Agricultural
          Goods and Services                 
     Best Prospects for Agricultural
          Products                           
     Significant Investment Opportunities    

VI.  TRADE REGULATIONS AND STANDARDS:

     Trade Barriers, Including Tariffs, 
          Non-Tariff Barriers and Taxes      
     Customs Valuation                       
     Import Licenses                         
     Export Controls                           
     Import/Export Documentation             
     Temporary Entry                         
     Labeling, Marking Requirements          
     Prohibited Imports                      
     Standards                               
     Free Trade Zones / Warehouses           
     Special Import Provisions               
     Membership in Free Trade Arrangements   

VII. INVESTMENT CLIMATE:

     Openness to Foreign Investment          
     Conversion and Transfer Policies        
     Dispute Settlement                      
     Political Violence                      
     Performance Requirements/Incentives     
     Right to Private Ownership and          
          Establishment
     Protection of Property Rights           
     Regulatory System:  Laws and            
          Procedures
     Bilateral Investment Agreements         
     OPIC and Other Investment Insurance     
     Labor                                   
     Foreign Trade Zones / Free Ports        
     Capital Outflow Policy                  
     Major Foreign Investors                 

VIII.TRADE AND PROJECT FINANCING:

     Brief Description of the Banking        
          System
     Foreign Exchange Controls Affecting     
          Trade
     General Financing Availability          
     How to Finance Exports / Methods             
          of Payment
     Types of Available Export financing     
          and Insurance
     Project Financing Available,            
          Including Lending from 
          Multilateral Institutions and 
          Types of Projects Supported
     List of Banks with Correspondent U.S.        
          Banking Relationships

IX.  BUSINESS TRAVEL:

     Business Customs                        

     Travel Advisory and Visas               
     Holidays                                
     Business Infrastructure                 

X.   APPENDICES:

     A. Country Data:                        
          
        Population
        Pop. Growth Rate
        Religion
        Government System
        Language
        Work Week

     B. Domestic Economy:                    

        GDP
        Est. 1996 GDP Growth Rate
        GDP Per Capita
        Gov. Spending as a percent of GDP
        Inflation (pct)
        Unemployment (pct)
        FX Reserves
        Avg. FX Rate per USD
        Debt Service Ratio
        U.S. Econ/Mil Assitance 
          (if applicable)

     C. Trade:                               

        Total Venezuelan Exports             
        Total Venezuelan Imports
        U.S. Exports to Venezuela
        U.S. Imports from Venezuela

     D. Investment Statistics                

     E. U.S. and Country Contacts            

     F. Market Research:

        Agricultural / Non-Agricultural,     
          FY95/planned FY96
          
     G. Trade Event Schedule                 


I.  EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The government of Venezuela faces continued economic policy challenges 
during 1995 and 1996.  Despite this, Venezuela will continue to offer 
many opportunities to U.S. suppliers and investors.

The effects of the economic crisis that struck Venezuela in 1993 and 
1994 continue to be felt.  A recession began in 1993 and deepened with 
the failure of many banks.  In mid-1994, the Government instituted tight 
exchange controls to stop capital flight, and fixed the exchange rate.  
Price controls were decreed on a basket of basic commodities.  
Additional government measures, including utility rate controls, new 
checks on government spending, an "anti-inflation pact," and delays in 
exchange approvals for private debt and dividend remittances have cut 
into free market advances of the past decade.  
 
Over the long term Venezuela's strong "fundamentals" assure a return to 
robust growth.  It is rich in natural resources, enjoys relatively cheap 
skilled labor, has extraordinarily advantageous energy costs and is 
geographically located to take advantage of several major markets, 
including the United States.

The United States has traditionally been Venezuela's most
important trading partner.  It exported USD 4 billion worth of 
merchandise to Venezuela in 1994, representing more than half of the 
country's total imports.  Preliminary indications are that this level 
will be met or exceeded in 1995.  The country's strongest markets are in 
petroleum technologies and in infrastructure, particularly 
telecommunications, followed by computer hardware and software, 
vehicles, environmental, security and medical equipment, and engineering 
services. 

The key sector for foreign investment is petroleum.  In July 1995, the 
Venezuelan congress approved foreign participation in light and medium 
oil exploration and development.  Some government-owned aluminum 
companies may also be opened to  private investment.  In other sectors, 
privatization has been stalled since 1992.

Most foreign and domestic companies operating in Venezuela have learned 
to live with delays and added paperwork brought by new government 
controls, at least in the short term.  Product entry is still relatively 
simple in most cases.  Import duties remain at a maximum of 20 percent 
in almost all categories, although a 12.5 percent tax on the CIF value 
is now also applied, and other "luxury" taxes may apply as well.    

Businesses should familiarize themselves with the following when doing 
business with Venezuela:

o    Foreign exchange procedures, and how to maximize assurance of 
payment or repatriation of profits.  

o    Price controls, consumer protection laws, intellectual property 
protection, "quality standards" and phytosanitary restrictions as they 
may affect their product or investment. 

o    Multi-tiered taxes which are applied over and above tariff rates, 
sometimes adding more than 30 percent to the landed cost of a product.

o    Labor laws which can add significant costs to establishing offices 
or retaining representation.


II. ECONOMIC TRENDS AND OUTLOOK

Major Trends and Outlook

The short-term outlook for U.S. exports is decidedly mixed.  The overall 
business climate is dampened by recent banking and fiscal crises.  
Government spending for major infrastructure projects has been sharply 
restrained and economic policy appears more geared to produce a classic 
"muddle through" than a dramatic economic reversal.  1995 is expected to 
be the third straight year of GDP shrinkage.  In the aggregate, private 
sector demand is expected to remain somewhat depressed, although pent-up 
demand and the perception of a possible future devaluation may drive 
private sector demand upwards in certain sectors.

The sheer volume of U.S. exports to Venezuela, at about $4 billion per 
year, and the relative ease with which U.S. products penetrate this 
neighboring market, make Venezuela a market that U.S. exporters can ill 
afford to ignore, despite the short-term downturn.  U.S. sales to 
Venezuela fell by 12 percent from 1993 to 1994, but are not expected to 
register a further decline in 1995.  There is early evidence that the 
U.S. market share is increasing, which is surprising since Colombia--the 
second most important supplier--is also gaining market share.

The investment climate has been depressed due to a range of  unfavorable 
factors.  Recent memory of 1992-1993 political instability, debt service 
concerns, the reintroduction of exchange controls and skepticism over 
the government's ability to manage the economy together translate into 
falling international investor confidence.  Current economic 
difficulties have added urgency to opening the hydrocarbons, mining and 
metals sectors to foreign investment through strategic partnerships, and 
raising revenues by privatizing state companies.  Dramatic developments 
in these areas could result in a significant new surge in foreign 
investment in Venezuela in the medium-term.  The number of major U.S. 
and multinational companies watching progress in these areas is growing.

Longer term, the Venezuelan market is expected to fall back into line 
with regional trends towards robust growth.  The country's natural 
resource wealth, low energy costs, and relatively skilled workforce 
provide fundamental strengths.  Short-term difficulties in the 
Venezuelan business world are kept in perspective by a telling 
statistic: not one of the hundreds of U.S. investor firms with 
operations in Venezuela has withdrawn from the market since the economy 
faltered in 1992.

Principal Growth Sectors

While the government hopes to develop "non-traditional" sectors, the 
major near-term growth prospects remain in the extractive and 
infrastructure-related areas; the growth industries are mining, 
petroleum and other hydrocarbons, telecommunications and other 
infrastructure-related areas, and power generation.

Government Role in the Economy

There has been a return to Government intervention throughout the 
economy, reversing the 1989-1993 trend toward loosening of government 
controls.  The current government's measures originated in response to 
the economic and financial crisis which came to a head in early 1994.  
Subsequently, a myriad of measures have been introduced to eliminate 
capital flight, soak up excess liquidity, reign in inflation, reduce the 
Republic's debt burden, stabilize the financial sector, open the 
petroleum sector to joint ventures with foreign firms, introduce 
incentives for direct foreign investment in the non-petroleum sector, 
and assist small- and medium-sized industry.  In May, 1995 the 
government negotiated an anti-inflationary pact with labor unions and 
the private sector to hold down wages and retail prices.  The Finance 
Minister is expected to implement a series of fiscal measures, including 
some tax reforms and cuts in central government spending to close the 
1995 fiscal gap.  

Fiscal Policy and Taxation:  The Venezuelan government's bailout of the 
financial sector led to a 15.2 percent deficit on a consolidated public 
sector basis in 1994.  For 1995, the government is trying to close a 
central government administration budget deficit of 8 percent; the 
consolidated public sector balance will depend primarily on additional 
financial assistance the government provides to the banking sector, the 
cost of servicing the domestic debt incurred in the 1994 bank bailout, 
and the government's ability to rejuvenate its privatization program 
(see below), including reprivatizing intervened financial institutions.  
Over 50 percent of the commercial banking sector deposit base was 
affected by the crisis.  The government has intervened 17 financial 
institutions, nationalizing 9 commercial banks and closing 7 others plus 
one financial group.  More intervention and consolidation is expected, 
especially in the insurance industry.

Price Controls:  The government imposed price controls in July 1994.  
Price ceilings were decreed on a basket of basic goods and services.  
Many prices have been revised upward since then.  We expect an informal 
pricing agreement to remain in place between government and business, 
given the administration's intent to bring down the inflation rate in 
1995.

Exchange Rate Policy and Foreign Exchange Controls:  On June 27, 1994, 
the Caldera administration implemented a fixed foreign exchange rate of 
Bs. 170=$1 and foreign exchange controls to stem capital flight.  The 
Government created the Foreign Exchange Board (JAC) and the Office for 
Technical Administration of Foreign Exchange (OTAC) that regulate and 
process applications authorizing the sale of foreign exchange 
respectively.  The government is giving imports first priority, followed 
by debt repayment.  Thus little foreign exchange for repatriation of 
capital, dividends, and profits has been made available.  The 
government's priority in providing for a consistent flow of basic food 
products into the country is to avoid social instability.  The state 
petroleum company PDVSA is able to pay for goods and services because of 
an established rotating fund that operates outside of the foreign 
exchange control bureaucracy.  

The competitive parity of the bolivar was believed to be between Bs. 230 
and 240 to USD 1 as of July 1, 1995.  Although there have been 
discussions about implementing a multi-tiered foreign exchange system, 
foreign exchange controls are expected to remain in place over the next 
year.

The government plans to liberalize controls under the new
exchange control regime law approved by Congress on April 27, 1995.  The 
government is likely to restrict capital outflows for Venezuelan 
citizens, residents, and corporations at least through the near term.  
The government will also continue to carefully monitor foreign exchange 
transactions to avoid a decline in its international reserves position.

Privatization:  Venezuela achieved initial success in its privatization 
program with partial sales of the state telephone company, CANTV, and 
the state airline, VIASA, in 1991.  The program has stalled as the 
country has struggled with banking and economic crises.  In 1993 and 
1994, only six minor privatizations were completed generating revenues 
of $22 million and $3 million respectively.  The government's 
privatization efforts were dealt a serious blow with its failed attempt 
to sell the state-owned airline Aeropostal in May 1994.  The Venezuelan 
Investment Fund (FIV) began 1995 with an ambitious plan to generate $4 
billion in privatization revenue for the government, but soon sharply 
scaled back its plans.

It is important to note that in the current Venezuelan context, the term 
"privatization" can be confusing.  There is a clear trend towards 
private participation in state-controlled industries through strategic 
associations or limited equity sales, which is frequently mislabeled 
"privatization" by the local media.
 
Export Incentives:  Although Venezuela has reduced the number and type 
of export incentives it offers over the last several years, new programs 
may be introduced this year as the government attempts to promote 
exports, especially non-petroleum exports.  Venezuela currently 
administers a partial duty drawback system and exporters may receive a 
rebate of the wholesale tax paid on imported inputs.  Exporters do not 
have to seek prior government approval to use foreign currency earned 
from export sales for expenses, including goods, services and payment of 
debt.

Balance of Payments Situation  

Venezuela's balance of payments position recovered in the second half of 
1994 with the imposition of foreign exchange controls.  The current 
account registered a surplus because of the decrease in imports, caused 
by strict foreign exchange controls and the devaluation of the bolivar.  
At the same time, exports increased.  Oil export volume and average 
price rose.  Non-oil exports reached a record $4.5 billion due to weak 
domestic demand, competitive export pricing due to the maxidevaluation 
of the bolivar, and a boost in trade created by regional trade
integration.  

For 1995, Venezuela is expected to continue this trend,
registering a surplus in the current account and a deficit in the 
capital account, leading to a small overall balance of payments surplus 
for the year.  These expectations are based on an average export 
petroleum price of $13.50 a barrel, moderate increases in petroleum 
production and non-traditional exports, a continuing depressed market 
for imports, and restricted trade and services and capital outflows with 
the continuation of foreign exchange controls.   

Infrastructure Situation

The Venezuelan government recognizes the need for infrastructure 
improvements, which are generally adequate (though deteriorating) in 
urban areas, and thin in the interior -- especially the agricultural 
flatlands and south of the Orinoco river.

Transport is mostly by road.  The country has a total of 95,725 km of 
roads, of which 32,800 are paved, 28,000 gravel-covered and the 
remainder compacted earth.  An ambitious road-building program to be bid 
under the 1994 concessions law has been initiated.  Venezuela has few 
railroads, with the exception of a 160 km line from Puerto Cabello to 
Barquisimeto to Acarigua and an iron ore transport rail system from iron 
mines to Puerto Ordaz.  The government plans for a 4,000 km rail system 
to be built over a period of twenty years, again under a concessions 
system.

Of the 280 authorized airports and landing strips, only about 40 have 
scheduled commercial service, some by small regional airlines flying 
airplanes of less than 20 passengers capacity.  The airports are under 
central government control, with the exception of two privately owned 
international general aviation airports and one, on Margarita Island, 
managed under a concession.  The air traffic control system and 
navigational aids are being operated by the Ministry of Transport and 
Communications:  that system's reliability is spotty and
suffering from insufficient budgets.

The only navigable river with significant traffic is the Orinoco, mainly 
for bauxite and (in the delta) for the outgoing iron ore shipments.  A 
project for an Orinoco-Apure river transportation system to open up the 
flatlands, connect Colombia, and to transport coal from Andean coal 
mines to the steel plants on the lower Orinoco has been proposed but is 
not being pursued as of writing.  An older project, intended to connect 
the Orinoco via the Rio Negro with the Amazon, is still being mentioned 
in connection with a long-range development plan for the areas south of 
the Orinoco river, rich in timber, bauxite, gold, diamonds and tourism 
development possibilities.

The ports have now been turned over to the states in which they are 
located.  Some states have chosen to turn their ports over to private 
companies for their operation, maintenance and further development, 
while others are operating their ports as commercial companies.  Port 
efficiency has increased tremendously since this move.

Electric power is supplied by seven privately owned and five government 
utilities.  Installed generating capacity is 18,953 megaWatts, of which 
10,765 are hydraulic, 8,131 steam and gas turbines and 47 diesel.  The 
distribution system is integrated and controlled by a central load 
control center.  Two new hydroelectric dams are under construction.  
While demand has been increasing, there is surplus power, and 
negotiations are underway to sell power to northern Brazil and to 
Guyana.

The transportation system for natural gas for industrial and domestic 
use via pipelines is constantly being enlarged and by now most 
industrial concentrations of the country are being supplied with natural 
gas as fuel.

Telecommunications have developed quickly since the partial 
privatization of the national telephone company and the opening up of 
the sector to private, including foreign, ownership.  Two cellular phone 
telephone companies are now competing and in 1994 and 1995 had the 
highest growth rate in the world.  Investments in this sector are 
estimated to surpass the USD 1 billion mark annually.  The regulatory 
agency CONATEL sees its main role, in addition to normal regulatory 
functions like frequency administration, as the stimulation and 
promotion of new and additional services.


III.  POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT

Nature of Political Relationship with the United States

Venezuela and the United States have long shared a cordial bilateral 
relationship.  Under President Caldera, the Venezuelan Government has 
stressed the need for regional integration with other Latin American 
states.  Various bilateral treaty negotiations with the United States 
have not progressed for the time being.  Despite this, government 
officials, and the country as a whole, have a generally pro-United 
States attitude. 

Major Political Issues Affecting Business Climate

Venezuela has endured a series of political challenges since 1989 which 
have contributed to worsening political risk assessments by 
international banking institutions.  Major rioting in Caracas in 1989 
was put down with military support.  Two attempted military coups were 
successfully fended off by President Carlos Andres Perez in 1992; but in 
1993, he was constitutionally removed from office on grounds of misuse 
of government funds.  The interim government of Ramon J. Velasquez 
upheld the country's traditions and held democratic elections in 
December 1993, resulting in the presidency of Rafael Caldera.

The Caldera administration inherited a difficult economic
situation, exacerbated by the collapse of the banking system and 
government measures to respond to the crisis.  Frequent changes in 
economic planning and in key economic decision-making posts have also 
contributed to a contraction of the economy.  The June 1994 decree 
declaring temporary price and exchange rate controls has adversely 
affected international business perceptions of the Venezuelan investment 
climate.

However, the Caldera government has had success in restoring political 
stability, and in particular, in resolving problems within the armed 
forces and reestablishing military unity and discipline.

Political System, Schedule for Elections, and Major Political Parties

Venezuela is a republic with an active multiparty democratic system and 
a longstanding commitment to democracy.

Since 1958, Venezuelan politics has been mostly dominated by two large 
parties: the Democratic Action party (AD), associated with the Socialist 
International, and the Social Christian Party (COPEI) which is 
affiliated with the Christian Democratic movement.  In recent years, 
other political parties have challenged the political dominance of AD 
and COPEI.  These parties include: the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS), 
consisting of democratic-leftists allied with Caldera; the Radical Cause 
Party (Causa R), a working-class oriented group; and the Convergence 
Party (Convergencia), a new party established in 1993 by Rafael Caldera. 

Venezuela held presidential and congressional elections in December of 
1993 and President Caldera began his current five- year term in February 
1994.  President Caldera represents a coalition of political factions, 
incorporating most of the political spectrum from left to right, 
distinct from the two parties - AD and COPEI - that have dominated 
Venezuela's 40 year democratic history.  Caldera emerged as the victor 
in the 1993 four-way race with little more than a 30 percent plurality.  
As a result of the 1993 national elections, the congress has evolved 
from a bi-party system dominated by AD and COPEI to a more diverse five-
party system.  This has complicated the legislative process.  
Nonetheless, Caldera has had repeated success in securing from Congress 
the major pieces of economic legislation which his administration has 
proposed.

The election of mayors and governors took place for the first time in 
1989.  The direct election of state and local officials represents an 
important development in the ongoing process of political 
decentralization and transformation in Venezuela.  State and municipal 
elections to choose 22 state governors, over 320 mayors, state 
legislators and city councilmen will be held in December 1995.  

The next round of national elections are scheduled for 1998. 
          
IV.  MARKETING U.S. PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Distribution and Sales Channels

Distribution is not limited by any existing laws or regulations. All 
channels are possible: manufacturer's representative or commission 
agent; wholesale importing distributor; importing retailer; or direct 
sale to end-user.  It is quite common to find Venezuelan companies 
undertaking several of these functions simultaneously.  No specific 
business license is required for a local company or individual to be a 
importer (exchange controls do require importers to be registered to 
obtain dollars through the system to pay for imported goods or 
services).  Many retailers administer their own imports, sometimes 
placing orders through commission agents or purchasing directly from 
foreign suppliers.

Since parallel sources of supply are often used, true exclusivity of 
distribution is difficult to enforce.  Government agencies, however, 
usually require that a seller of specific types of equipment be an 
authorized seller for the foreign manufacturer and multiple bids by the 
same manufacturer may result in disqualification.  Authorization to 
resell is especially important where  after-sale support might be 
needed.

Use of Agents/Distributors.  Finding a Partner

A commission sales agent, or manufacturer's representative, finds 
customers, passes the order to the foreign company and receives a 
commission on the sale. The amount of commission will vary widely 
depending on the nature of the product and the work or time required by 
the agent.  It can vary between 5 percent and 30 percent. The use of 
agents where there are multiple levels of customers may be the most 
practical and efficient means of covering the market.  Wholesalers or 
stocking distributors often have minimal outside sales force, relying on 
advertising and on walk-in customers or buyers. Distribuotrs may be 
important where there is strong after-sale support needed on the 
product.
Venezuelan companies at any step in the distribution channel tend to 
place repeated small orders. Foreign company requirements as to minimum 
orders, or even minimum annual sales, may meet with strong resistance 
from prospective distributors or agents.  There are numerous ways to 
find a business partner.  The various US&FCS services, such as the 
Agent/Distributor Service, Gold Key Service, Trade Missions, Catalog 
Shows and USDOC-Certified trade shows are commonly used.  No service or 
list of potential leads can replace a visit to the country to study and 
interview prospects.  Venezuela has no set of laws or regulations which 
protect a local agent, requiring indemnification regardless of what the 
written agreement calls for.iuiatzation in case an agreement is 
cancelled with or without cause. The  written agreement in all 
principal-agent, supplier -distributors arrangements is binding. It is 
common practice to have medium- termn trial agreements with clear 
performance objectivess when entering new business relationships.

On the other hand,  placing a Venezuelan citizen on the company's 
payroll can be unexpectedly costly in case of separation, since in that 
case he is entitled to all benefits of the very generous labor laws. 
Absent unusual circumstances, commission agents are not considered 
employees.

Franchising

Franchising is allowed under the existing foreign investment laws.  
Franchise payments, royalties, patent or technical assistance agreements 
must be registered - but are not subject to re-negotiation or other 
controls - with the Superintendent of Foreign Investment (SIEX). Certain 
payments for the use of franchised rights may be subject to withholding 
taxes. Decree 2095 guarantees the ability to remit funds for franchising 
rights but exchange controls now require that the company remitting be 
registered with SIEX and obtain approval of the exchange control 
authorities (OTAC) in order to remit such funds. 

From a marketing standpoint franchises will probably only be successful 
if they bring technology, services or systems which are not generally 
available in the country.

Direct Marketing

Marketing, through TV commercials, newspaper inserts, house visits or 
street vendors, is common.  Mail orders are impossible because of low 
reliability of the postal system.  Placing orders by phone with delivery 
by messenger is becoming popular, and several such companies have been 
successful by placing their catalogs in newspapers as weekend issued 
inserts.  As the telephone system continues to improve, direct marketing 
by phone will become more common.  Almost all businesses now use fax in 
their day-to-day business.

Joint Ventures / Licensing

The formation of joint ventures by forming a new company with local 
capital or by buying into an existing local company is quite common.  
Only registration of the venture with SIEX is required.  No limit on the 
amount of dividends, reinvestment, or repatriation is imposed by law, 
but these can only be remitted with the approval of OTAC under existing 
exchange controls regulations. Similarly, manfuacturing under license is 
permitted but to pay license fees, royalties or trademark and patent 
fees the license mujst first be registered with SIEX and the then 
approved by OTAC before remittance.  See Investment Climate (Chapter 
VII) below.

Joint ventures and wholly-owned subsidiaries of foreign companies are 
treated the same as Venezuelan firms.  Such enterprises as security 
companies (guard services, armored cars, etc.), TV and radio 
broadcasting and the publication of Spanish language newspapers are 
restricted from foreign investment of more than 20% of the capital.  
Professional services (attorneys, medical services, CPAs, architects, 
etc.) are also restricted, falling under the Law of Professions.  
Foreign professionals wishing to work in Venezuela must revalidate their 
title at a Venezuelan university.  This, however, does not eliminate 
consulting services under contract for a specific project.  Banking, 
insurance and brokerage services and companies have recently been opened 
to foreign investment.

Steps to Establish an Office


A business must first be registered with the Venezuelan "Commercial 
Registry" to be legally established.  The opening and operating of a 
coordinating or reporting office is not considered foreign investment or 
a business activity as long as the office does not sell and is being 
financed from the home office.  Any other more detailed activity would 
fall under the Commercial Code.  Business enterprises can be registered 
as corporations, as limited liability companies, as partnerships or as 
sole proprietorships.

It is advisable to have an attorney draft the registration documents.  
Registration itself is fast and inexpensive.  After that, a municipal 
business license has to be obtained, which also requires the payment of 
a small quarterly tax.  The final step would be to obtain from the 
Ministry of Finance the income tax registration number (the "R.I.F.") 
which must be shown on all fiscal documents and serves generally as an 
identification number for the entity. 

Office space is widely available for rental or purchase. Real estate can 
be purchased by foreing companies without restriction. Standard Lease 
contracts do not cover utilities.  While telephone lines are becoming 
more available, there can still be a long wait depending on the area of 
town and the exchange being used. Some office buildings do lease office 
space with at least one phone line. 

Selling Factors / Techniques

U.S. companies often make the mistake of providing sales literature in 
English when selling to their agents or distributors.  While many 
businessmen speak English, much of their staff and customers will not.  
Consequently, failure to prepare materialsin Spanish eliminates a key 
selling tool.  In most cases, support has to be given new agents or 
distributors in the form of technical information on applications 
especially if a product is new or entails new technologies.  The average 
Venezuelan business does not have sales engineers or specialists, and 
some form of education is required.  The same situation exists for 
maintenance or repair technicians, and the agent might request that his 
personnel be trained in the United States.  Venezuelan end users of any 
type of machinery or equipment require that spare parts, repair service 
and after-sale support is available.  Sales at the retail level are not 
much different from those in the United States.  Price haggling in 
established stores is not common.  Special offers are frequent but are 
specifically saeasonal in nature. There are numerous malls, but few 
department stores.

Advertising and Trade Promotion

While there are some specialized publications, the daily newspapers are 
the most common form of advertising.  This even includes machinery or 
industrial equipment.  TV and radio commercials are used heavily to 
promote durable and non-durable consumer goods.  Billboards are common 
as well as distribution through leaflets, newspaper inserts, and in-
store promotions. There are numerous advertising companies, some being 
subsidiaries of well-known U.S. companies.

There are many trade shows and expositions (see listing), some organized 
on behalf of trade or industrial associations by capable local show 
organizers.  U.S. companies also have organized trade shows in Venezuela 
directly.  Normally they are widely advertised and, even if specialized, 
visited by the public in general.  These shows have proven to be an 
excellent vehicle to promote a new product, or to find an agent or 
distributor.  Off-the-floor sales are not common, however, except for 
pre- Christmas gift shows and toy and furniture shows.

Premiums are not widely used for trade promotion purposes, but are often 
available in companies for their customers or business associates.  
Business gifts are common around Christmas for steady customers, and can 
be expensive.

MAJOR DAILY NEWSPAPERS:

El Universal
Edificio El Universal
Avda. Urdaneta
Caracas, Venezuela
Phone:  (582)563-7511
Fax: (582)561-9639

El Nacional
Puente Nuevo a Puerto Escondido
Caracas, Venezuela
Phone:  (582)408-3111
Fax: (582)793-4083

El Diario de Caracas
Avda. Principal de Boleita Norte
Caracas, Venezuela
Phone:  (582)576-8211
Fax: (582)34-1927

Economia Hoy
Edificio Di Mase
Alcabala a Urapal
Caracas, Venezuela
Phone:  (582)576-8211
Fax: (582)572-5470

Reporte
Edificio El Telar
Avda. Urdaneta
Caracas, Venezuela
Phone:  (582)481-7441
Fax: (582)482-5275

The Daily Journal (only English language newspaper published in 
Venezuela)
Avda. Fuerzas Armadas
Crucecita a San Ramon
Caracas, Venezuela
Phone:  (582)562-1122
Fax: (582)562-1322

While many more newspapers are published both in Caracas and in all 
major towns in Venezuela, those listed above have country- wide 
distribution.

MAJOR MAGAZINES:

Automotriz (Automotive trade)
Avda.  Los Mangos
No. 86, La Florida
Caracas, Venezuela
Phone:  (582)74-3957
Fax: (582)74-4168

Business Venezuela (published by the Venezuelan-American Chamber of 
Commerce)
Edificio Credival
2da. Avda. Campo Alegre
Caracas, Venezuela
Phone:  (582)263-0833
Fax: (582)263-1829

Computer News
Edificio Tajamar
Piso 4, Parque Central
Caracas, Venezuela
Phone:  (582)574-3313
Fax: (582)576-8858

Dinero (Finance, Business)
Edificio ACO
Avda. Principal Las Mercedes
Caracas, Venezuela
Phone:  (582)993-5633
Fax: (582)993-0644

El Mundo de la Seguridad (safety and security market)
Edificio Cipriano Morales
Avda. Urdaneta
Caracas, Venezuela
Phone:  (582)83-7310
Fax: (582)862-4448

Numero (Business)
Edificio Agfa
3ra. Transversal Los Ruices
Caracas, Venezuela
Phone:  (582)238-3393
Fax: (582)203-9104

Pricing Products

In an effort to control inflation, the government has placed price 
controls on an increasing number of products, particularly foods, 
pharmaceuticals and services deemed "essential."  Government and 
industry have recently entered into an "anti- inflation" pact designed 
to keep product prices in line with increased in productivity.  
Government has also indicated that maintenance of lower prices may 
result in priority for imports under exchange controls.  Outside of 
specific price controls pricing is left to market and competitive 
forces. High mark-ups of 100 percent or more are not uncommon if the 
market can bear it.  Price fixing among manufacturers or dealers is 
prohibited by law, and heavy fines can be levied on violators. 

The cost of doing business in Venezuela is relatively high, because of 
the very steep labor fringe benefits, and the high price of quality 
labor where English language ability or technical know-how is needed.

Basically, prices are calculated on the basis of:  cost of product in 
Venezuela port (CIF), plus import duties, plus value added tax, plus 
local transportation, plus warehousing costs, plus promotion, 
advertising or marketing cost, plus sales commissions, plus mark-up for 
profit and possible additional taxes.  This can lead to a product 
costing $100 CIF having a price tag of two to three times that when sold 
to the end-user. In the past few years, discount stores have appeared 
for the first time in Venezuela.

Sales Service / Customer Support

It is not normally possible to sell equipment, whether industrial or 
durable consumer, without offering sales support, spare parts or 
service. It is therefore extremely important that prospective agents or 
distributors are able to provide this support or are able to contract 
for it.  Maintaining an adequate stock of spare parts may well be 
considered essential.

Selling to the Government

The purchase of goods and services by government agencies is ruled by a 
complex system of laws, decrees and regulations.  The basic law of 
procurement (Ley de Licitaciones) of July 20, 1990 establishes the 
framework.

Venezuelan government officials are not permitted to conduct official 
business in any language except Spanish.  Replies or correspondence in 
English are unlikely to get a response.

There is no specific Venezuelan agency in charge of government 
procurement or which provides guidance to foreign bidders/sellers.  The 
purchasing agency within the government unit buying the goods or 
services may be the vbest source of assistance, especially to foreign 
companies with no previous experience in Venezuela.

Anyone wanting to sell to a Venezuelan governmental agency must be 
registered in the National Register of Contractors, which is maintained 
by the Central Office of Statistics and Informatics. This National 
Register can open sub-registers, normally found in all ministries and 
governmental agencies which regularly purchase goods or services.

Although it is acceptable practice to pay commissions, these cannot be 
an additional item over the final sales price to the government (since 
they are considered a part of the seller's cost of doing business and, 
therefore, should not be charged to the buyer).  Government comptrollers 
frequently check the quoted price against the published export price 
list to make sure that commissions are not added. The Venezuela gneeral 
controller maintains offices in the United States to assist in verifying 
pricing used in international bids.

Exporters are advised to proceed with caution if they are requested to 
make changes in a contract after it has been signed. If such a request 
is made,  the agency's request, and the change in contract language or 
terms, must be in writing.  There have been occasions where changes were 
requested by a governmental agency but these were not put into writing.  
Later, it was difficult to collect payment, as the excuse was that the 
terms of the contract were not followed.  Litigation against the
government is most difficult and enforceability of any judgment 
precarious at best.


                        GOVERNMENT TENDERS

Tenders may be opened:

     a) Only to domestic companies
     b) To domestic and foreign companies
     c) Exclusively to foreign companies

In the case of public tenders open to foreign bidders, it is sometimes 
stipulated that the foreign company must form a consortium with a 
domestic firm.

Registration exemptions:  If tenders are opened at an international 
level with only foreign companies expected to participate, these are 
exempt from prior registration but must register once pre-selected 
(short-listed).  Companies that expect to sell goods or services costing 
less than 100,000 bolivars (US$590.)are exempt from having to register.

                         TYPES OF TENDERS

Purchases of up to 100,000 bolivars (US$590) are not subject to tenders.  
All others fall under one of these three
classifications:

        a)     General tender
        b)     Selective tender
        c)     Direct purchase

A)   GENERAL TENDERS (Licitacion General) are for:

     - Purchase of goods or the contracting of services valued 
       at over 10 million Bs (US$59,000.).

     - For construction projects of over 30 million Bs.
       (US$177,000).


B)   SELECTIVE TENDERS (Licitacion Selectiva) are used:

     - For services or goods valued between one and ten
       million Bs (US$5,900. to US$59,000.).

     - For construction projects valued between ten and thirty
        million Bs (US$59,000. to $177,000.).

     - When there are less than ten qualified suppliers listed
        in the National Register of Contractors.

     - If the goods are only available outside of the country. 
     - For goods and services related to state security.

For all selective tenders, at least five suppliers must be invited to 
bid with a minimum of three offers actually submitted, or the process 
will be declared null and void.

C)   DIRECT PURCHASE (Adjudicacion directa) is used:

     - For purchases of less than 1 million Bs (US$5,900.). 
     - For construction projects of less than 10 million Bs
        (US$59,000.).

     - If needed for the completion of a project in process 
     - For purchasing artistic or scientific works

     - When there is only one supplier

     - In emergencies

     - When determined that no other purchase methods are
       possible.

                       THE BIDDING PROCESS

Bid proposals usually must be separated into two parts:  The first part 
consists of legal documentation regarding the supplier, description of 
experience, list of prior clients, etc.  The second part provides 
information on the actual technical offer and price.

The bids are usually reviewed by a commission established by the buyer 
and in the presence of a representative of the national Comptroller.  
The review of the technical part may necessitate outside opinions, such 
as from the College of Engineers, The National Council of Science and 
Technology, or a Congressional Committee established for this purpose.  
In all cases, the National Comptroller has the final word and may stop a 
bidding process at any time if he feels that procedures have been 
flawed. 

The tender publication usually contains a time schedule for pre- 
selection, submission of the final offer, and the date of the final 
selection.  When several organizations are involved in the final 
selection, the deadline frequently slips and bidders are asked to 
provide a date up to which they will hold their prices. If that date 
passes, price increases may be accepted. 

If a U.S. company feels that the bidding process of a foreign tender in 
which it is participating is flawed or unfair, we suggest it contact the 
American Embassy's Commercial Section for assistance.  

Protecting Your Product from Intellectual Property Right
Infringement

Although intellectual property protection in Venezuela has improved over 
the last year, U.S. companies continue to express concern about 
inadequacies in enforcement of patent, trademark, and copyright 
protection, particularly as applied to pharmaceuticals, computer 
software, and motion pictures.  Venezuela remained on the USTR's Special 
301 "Watch List" for the review completed in Spring 1995. 

Venezuela is an active member of the World Intellectual Property 
Organization (WIPO) and a signatory to the Bern Convention For the 
Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, the Geneva Phonograms 
Convention, The Universal Copyright Convention and has ratified its 
membership in the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial 
Property.  Venezuela is also a signatory to the Uruguay Round 
intellectual property rights agreement, TRIPS.  

Venezuela's legal framework for patent and trademark protection is 
currently provided by Andean Pact Decision 344, superceding Venezuela's 
national Patent and Trademark Law which dates from 1955.  Decision 344 
provides for patentability of pharmaceutical products, except those 
listed on the World Health Organization list of essential medicines, and 
recognizes the rights of "famous trademark" holders.  Andean Pact 
Decision 345 covers plant varieties specifically.  New national patent 
and trademark legislation is expected to be introduced in Congress this 
year, and is likely to focus on implementation of the TRIPS agreement, 
judicial reform, and enhanced border controls rather than changes to the 
legal framework.

Venezuela's 1993 Copyright Law is modern and comprehensive and extends 
copyright protection to all creative works, including computer software.  
Andean Pact Decision 351 is complimentary to Venezuela's national law 
for copyrights.  These legal texts enhanced sanctions against copyright 
infringement, but enforcement has not kept pace.  Nevertheless, several 
significant judicially-authorized seizures have taken place recently, 
and copyright owners should be encouraged by these actions.  The 
Venezuelan government announced in June 1995 that is in the process of 
establishing a National Copyright Office for the registration and 
protection of copyrights.

Since Venezuela does not automatically recognize foreign patents, 
trademarks or logos, foreign investors should be sure to register 
patents and trademarks appropriately and in as many categories as are 
applicable.  It is necessary to register with the Autonomous Service of 
the Industrial Property Registry of the Ministry of Development.  It is 
advisable not to have the agent or distributor do this in their name 
because the agent or distributor then becomes the registered owner.  
Registration should be done through a local attorney experienced in 
these matters.  Care should be taken to use the registered trademark. 
Venezuelan regulations allow for cancellation of the registration if the 
trademark is not used in at least one of the Andean Pact countries for 
three consecutive years.

Need for a Local Attorney

Contracting a reputable local law firm is advisable for any U.S. company 
wishing to establish a presence in Venezuela, from joint ventures, 
register a trademark, or enter into any type of business relationship.  
They cam provide essential start-up information on labor laws, tax 
regulations, purchase of real estate and drafting by-laws of the local 
subsidiary. Venezuelan laws are complicated, even more so since many 
activities are regulated, not only by laws but also by presidential 
decrees or specific regulations.  The bureaucracy and paperwork is often 
complicated.  A number of large law firms have attorneys who have also 
studied in the United States and are familiar with matching an American 
company's requirements to the local law.

A list of Venezuelan law firms which specialize in various aspects of 
commercial and investment law can be requested from the U.S. Embassy in 
Caracas (See Appendix E for contact
information).


V.  LEADING SECTORS FOR U.S. EXPORTS AND INVESTMENT

Best Prospects for Non-Agricultural Goods and Services

Rank    Name of Sector           ITA Code ----      --------------
        --------  1    Telecommunications Services TES

                                   1994      1995      1996 
A.   Total Sales:                  2,200     2,500     3,000 
B.   Total Local Firm Sales:        N/A       N/A       N/A 
C.   Total Exports:                 N/A       N/A       N/A 
D.   Sales by Foreign Firms:        N/A       N/A       N/A 
E.   Sales by U.S. Firms:          1,800     2,000     2,200 

Comments:   Billings from telecommunications services will continue 
their long-term growth trend, although 1995 will continue the slow 
growth of 1994.  New telecommunications services are coming on stream, 
and demand for such services is still unsatisfied.  The privatized 
national telephone company continues to add subscribers and services and 
its billings will continue to rise, partly because of authorized rate 
increases.  The two cellular telephone companies continue to grow at a 
rapid rate.  All of the privately owned non-telephone companies (data, 
voice, video, trunking etc.) have some U.S relationships, either through 
full or partial ownership, or carrier or satellite contracts.  They thus 
contribute to sales by U.S. companies in this market.


 2   Telecommunications Equipment                   TEL

                                 1994      1995      1996 
A.Total Market:                 1,030     1,234     1,459 
B.Total Local Production:          31        35        60 
C.Total Exports:                    1         1         1      
D.Total Imports:                1,000     1,200     1,400 
E.Total Imports from U.S.:        450       500       600      

Comments:  Investments in the burgeoning telecommunications industry 
will continue at a high level, but slowed in 1994 due to general 
economic conditions.  Some recovery is expected for 1995.  The expansion 
of the sector will continue at a somewhat slower rate once the initial 
new services allowed after liberalization and privatization are in 
place.  U.S. firms face growing competition by aggressive sales efforts 
by European suppliers. 

 3   Oil and Gas Field Machinery and Services       OGM

                                   1994      1995      1996 
A.   Total Market Size:            304       387       471 
B.   Total Local Production:       137       154       171 
C.   Total Exports:                 -         -         -
D.   Total Imports:                167       233       300 
E.   Total Imports from U.S.:       91       103       114 

Comments:  Preliminary figures indicate that Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. 
(PDVSA), Venezuela's oil holding company, will allocate sufficient funds 
for the production, refining and exploration activities.  Aging oil 
fields tend to require increasing investments and servicing to maintain 
their production level. The exploration effort continues as the country 
searches for more petroleum and gas.  In addition, the marginal 
oilfields reactivation program will go ahead, and recent government 
discussions have included examining how to utilize a reopening to 
private investors to expand the industry.


 4   Automobiles and Light Trucks/Vans              AUT

                                   1994      1995      1996 
A.   Total Market:                 1,630     1,670     1,720 
B.   Total Local Production:*      1,150     1,100     1,200      
C.   Total Exports:                   20        30        80 
D.   Total Imports:**                500       600       600 
E.   Total Imports from U.S.:***     480       250       450

*  From imported kits with about 30 percent local component content.
** Includes kits for local assembly.
*** Include non-U.S. made cars sold through U.S.-based dealers. 

Comments:   The deteriorated value of the local currency will cause an 
estimated 35 percent decrease in vehicle sales, with locally assembled 
vehicles less affected than imports.  Even with some improvement in the 
economy, the high local cost of domestically assembled and of imported 
vehicles will make these unaccessible to large sectors of the 
population.  New luxury taxes are also expected to result in a 
restructuring of the Venezuelan demand picture.  This situation will 
give a great advantage to the manufacturers of small and less expensive 
vehicles.

 5   Automobile Parts and Service Equipment         APS

                                   1994      1995      1996 
A.   Total Market:                 665       645       680 
B.   Total Local Production:       200       195       200 
C.   Total Exports:                 35        50        70 
D.   Total Imports:                500       500       550  
E.   Total Imports from U.S.:      300       280       310 

Comments:   The domestic parts and components industry claims to be 
supplying about 30 percent of the total needs of the country for such 
products, which includes sales to the assembly plants. With decreasing 
sales by the assemblers, local production should decrease, partly offset 
by exports to Colombia and Ecuador under the common automotive industry 
policy agreement.  New car sales are decreasing, and with the growing 
age of the vehicle population, sales and thus imports of replacement 
parts should grow, offsetting the decreasing needs of the assembly 
industry. The U.S. market share may decrease as foreign cars take a 
larger share of the market.


 6   Computers and Peripherals                      CPT

                                   1994      1995      1996 
A.   Total Market Size:             230       241       280 
B.   Total Local Production:          0         0         0 
C.   Total Exports:                   0         0         0  
D.   Total Imports:                 230       241       280 
E.   Total Imports from U.S.:       200       191       216 

Comments:  The local desktop PC subsector (including PC's and 
workstations) continues to grow, accounting for 62% of total sales in 
Venezuela.  Networks (both LAN and WAN) are gaining ground in the local 
market due to various factors:  improved telephone lines, greater use of 
fiber optic cable, more powerful and better priced machines.  Banks and 
other leading private sector companies are making substantial 
investments in networking systems.  While the U.S. has the dominant 
market share,  competition is increasing, and Asian countries are 
providing strong competition to U.S.-made computers.

 7   Medical Equipment                              MED

                                   1994      1995      1996 
A.   Total Market Size:             293       337      370 
B.   Total Local Production:         78        72       80 
C.   Total Exports:                   7        10       10 
D.   Total Imports:                 222       275      300  
E.   Total Imports from U.S.:        85        98      100 

Comments:   Domestic production of medical equipment consists primarily 
of expendables and of hospital furniture.  Japan and Germany are the 
principal competitors to the U.S. for electro- medical equipment of all 
types, while U.S. manufacturers are the major suppliers of surgical 
instruments and appliances, radiation equipment, magnetic resonance and 
tomography equipment and implant devices.  Under present budgetary 
restraints, there will be limits to the equipping and modernization of 
existing and construction of new hospitals, despite the new government's 
commitment to improving health care and facilities.  The principal 
market should continue to be private hospitals and individual 
physicians.  The U.S. Trade and Development Agency is funding a 
feasibility study for the health sector.  IDB and the World Bank will 
finance a five-year hospital modernization project totalling over USD 
400 million.

 8   Electrical Power Systems                       ELP

                                   1994      1995      1996 
A.   Total Market Size:             277       317       360 
B.   Total Local Production:        161       184       208 
C.   Total Exports:                  24        27        29 
D.   Total Imports:                 140       160       181 
E.   Total Imports from U.S.:        60        67        73 

Comments:  The Interamerican Development Bank is providing a loan of USD 
500 million for the Caruachi Project.  Over the next three years the 
following systems may be privatized:  Enelbar, Planta Centro, Enelco, 
and Isla Margarita.  Private sector companies also continue expansion 
plans.

 9   Computer Software and Services                 CSF

                                   1994      1995      1996 
A.   Total Market Size:             135       175       200 
B.   Total Local Production:         11        12        16 
C.   Total Exports:                   7         8        10 
D.   Total Imports:                 131       171       194 
E.   Total Imports from U.S.:       112       147       165 

Comments:  This subsector maintains a steady upward growth as end-users 
become aware of the need to modernize their businesses in order to be 
competitive in international markets, especially as software programs 
become much more user-friendly and cost effective.  The United States 
continues to be the major supplier of software to Venezuela 
(approximately 90% of all imports). There is a small local production 
sector, mainly in the area of accounting and business administration 
applications, which is prospering due to price and adaption to local 
practices.  Local software companies have been exporting to other Latin 
American countries and to the Spanish-speaking market in the United 
States.

10   Pumps, Valves and Compressors                  PVC

                                   1994       1995      1996 
A.   Total Market Size:             250        261       275 
B.   Total Local Production:        132        138       147 
C.   Total Exports:                   7          7         8 
D.   Total Imports:                 125        130       136 
E.   Total Imports from U.S.:        80         84        87 

Comments: The United States' position as a supplier of pumps, valves and 
compressors has traditionally been very strong, thanks to the special 
historical relationship with Venezuelan petroleum and petrochemical end-
users.  Projects in water supply systems -- upgrades, expansion and 
refurbishment -- and in the electrical industry offer potential sales 
opportunities.  U.S. equipment will face competition from European and 
Japanese suppliers. 


11   Security and Safety Equipment                  SEC

                                   1994      1995      1996 
A.   Total Market:                   91        95        99 
B.   Total Local Production:         12        12        14 
C.   Total Exports:                   0         0         0 
D.   Total Imports:                  79        83        85 
E.   Total Imports from U.S.:        39        42        45 

Comments:   Growing crime, especially automobile theft and home break-
ins, has fueled a growing market for all security devices.  Local 
production and assembly of such products have shown steady small 
increases and diversification, although the industry does not produce 
electronic systems, closed circuit TV systems or elaborate equipment for 
banks.  The market for industrial safety equipment, fire prevention and 
fire fighting does not appear to be growing, probably because of the 
generally depressed economic conditions affecting industry and municipal 
governments.  The United States appears to be the major supplier of all 
types of equipment in this sector, with the exception of video systems 
which generally come from Japan.

12   Pollution Control Equipment                    POL

                                   1994      1995      1996 
A.   Total Market Size:              72        76        80 
B.   Total Local Production:          6         8        10 
C.   Total Exports:                   4         4         5 
D.   Total Imports:                  70        72        75 
E.   Total Imports from U.S.         50        55        60 

Comments:    The market for the poolution control sector is presently 
undergoing important changes.  During the last couple of years the 
sector showed moderate growth, but because of the 1992 passage of the 
Criminal Environmental Law (CEL), this sector is expected to grow 
considerably.  CEL will give a definite boost to all pollution control 
related investment: air, noise, water and toxic wastes.  The U.S. is the 
major supplier of pollution control equipment to Venezuela.  Medium 
term, market prospects will probably shoot up.

13   Mining Industry Equipment                      MIN

                                   1994      1995      1996 
A.   Total Market Size:              60        66        68 
B.   Total Local Production:          -         -         - 
C.   Total Exports:                   -         -         - 
D.   Total Imports:                  60        66        68       
E.   Total Imports from U.S.:        42        45        46        

Comments:    There is a growing interest in the Venezuelan mining sector 
due to two important new developments: a) the approval of a new law in 
September, 1991 which significantly lowered the tax rate applied to 
mining companies to a maximum of 30%, and b) the granting of mining 
concessions to foreign owned companies, which had been restricted for 
many years.  This is certain to attract substantial investment from the 
U.S. and other countries to develop Venezuela's impressive deposits of 
coal, gold phosphates and other minerals.  Most of this is open-pit.  
U.S. products are highly regarded in this industry and continue to have 
a high market share.

14   Water Resources Equipment                      WRE

                                   1994      1995      1996 
A.   Total Market Size:              70        67        74 
B.   Total Local Production:         15        17        20 
C.   Total Exports:                   5         5         5 
D.   Total Imports:                  60        55        59 
E.   Total Imports from U.S.:        35        35        36 

Comments:  The Venezuelan water resources sector is expected to expand 
rapidly in the next 5-7 years. Both the U.S. Trade and Development 
Agency (TDA) and U.S. Eximbank are currently supporting projects and 
U.S. suppliers may also wish to follow up with the Inter-American 
Development Bank (IDB) and the World Bank, as these multilateral lending 
institutions are considering funding Venezuelan water resource projects. 
The decentralization process has brought about several regional water 
companies which will be responsible for water supply, waste water 
treatment, and sewage and sanitation related projects.  Due to increased 
demand for potable water, the water supply is expected to experience 
significant growth which will require foreign sourced water supply and 
operation equipment.


Best Prospects for Agricultural Products

The United States is the traditional supplier of 30 percent of 
Venezuela's imports of agricultural products.  Traditionally, two-thirds 
of our agricultural exports are bulk commodities such as wheat, yellow 
corn, soybeans and soybean meal.  While it is unlikely that exports of 
these commodities will grow in 1995- 1996, they still represent 
significant U.S. exports, and are therefore listed below.

Units: Thousand Metric Tons

Name of Sector                     PS&D Code
Wheat                              0410000

                              1994     1995     1996

A.   Total Market Size        1060     1050     1060
B.   Total local production      0        0        0
C.   Total exports               0        0        0
D.   Total imports            1036     1050     1060
E.   Total Imports from US     700      605      605

Comments:  Venezuela consumes 1 million metric tons of wheat per year on 
the average, with no local production of relevance.  Imports of U.S. 
wheat will compete directly with Canadian and EC wheat, as well as 
smaller amounts of Argentinean wheat and other sporadic sources. In MY 
1992, an EEP program helped reach 838,000 MT of U.S. wheat imports, 
which have since declined slightly due to the program no longer being in 
effect, a local recession, and highly subsidized imports from the EC.  
The prospects on the increase of U.S. share in this market are based on 
improvement of the local economy, the relationship between the Bolivar 
and the U.S. Dollar, and the presence or absence of an EEP program to 
counterbalance Canadian and European subsidies.


YELLOW CORN (Feed Grains)          0440000

                              1994     1995     1996

A.   Total Market Size        1900     2174     2190
B.   Total local production    645     1000     1000
C.   Total exports               0        0        0
D.   Total imports            1210     1190     1190
E.   Total Imports from US     800      780      800

Comments:  Venezuela produces around 400,000 MT of feedgrains, and 
requires approximately 1.2 to 1.5 MMT to supply the local animal feed 
industry, a highly sensitive market that is
frequently hindered by local policies to buy local grain.  Venezuela has 
traditionally been a near monopoly for U.S. grain, despite small sales 
by Argentina. Minimum expectations for U.S. grain imports seldom fall 
below 450,000 MT.

SOYBEANS                           2222000

                              1994     1995     1996

A.   Total Market Size         209      243      288
B.   Total local production      9        9       10
C.   Total exports               0        0        0
D.   Total imports             200      212      244
E.   Total Imports from US     148      200      200


Comments:  Venezuela's imports of soybeans averaged 125,000 MT of beans 
for the period 1990-1993.  Bolivian soybeans, which do not pay tariff 
due to Andean Pact preferences, are currently the sole competition for 
U.S. beans. 

SOYBEAN MEAL                       0813100

                              1994     1995     1996

A.   Total Market Size         800      554      550
B.   Total local production    125      178      222
C.   Total exports               0       90      120
D.   Total imports             560      258      308   
E.   Imports from US           270      219      241

SOYBEAN MEAL:  Another component needed for the manufacturing of animal 
feed; local production of soybean meal is from the
crushing of imported U.S. soybeans, and so follows the same trade 
patterns as the beans.  Imports of meal from the U.S. averaged 400,000 
MT for the period 1990-1993.  Prospects for imports are based on the 
relationship between importing U.S. soybeans or soybean meal, and the 
expansion of the animal feed/poultry industries.


Significant Investment Opportunities

(A) Petroleum - Foreign Company Participation  

-  Strategic Associations:  the state-owned petroleum holding company, 
Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A., and its operating companies Maraven, 
Lagoven and Corpoven, have been actively pursuing foreign partners to 
inject much-needed capital to develop oil and gas capacity.  Deals 
approved include the Cristobal Colon natural gas project, valued at USD 
5 Billion, with Venezuelan partner Lagoven joined by Exxon, Shell and 
Mitsubishi;  a USD 2.0 billion Maraven-Conoco joint venture to produce 
and upgrade heavy crude, and a joint study by Maraven and Chevron to 
produce asphalt for extra-heavy crude.

-  Profit-sharing Agreements:  exploration and production
agreements for light and medium crudes are expected to be
announced by year-end 1995.

-  Vehicle Gas Conversion:  the Venezuelan government plans to convert 
120,000 vehicles from gasoline to natural gas, aiming for in excess of 
60,000 vehicles in the first three years.
  
(B) Privatization of State-Owned Heavy Industries

-  The Corporacion Venezolana de Guayana (CVG) is seeking foreign 
capital for its financially-troubled operations.  The Venezuelan 
Congress has given the go-ahead for private sector participation in six 
CVG-owned businesses, primarily in the aluminum sector.  In the longer 
term, additional opportunities are expected in forestry, hospital 
modernization, ports and airports and infrastructure.

The Government of the United States acknowledges the contribution that 
outward foreign direct investment makes to the U.S. economy.  U.S. 
foreign direct investment is increasingly viewed as a compliment or even 
a necessary component of trade.  For example, roughly 60 percent of U.S. 
exports are sold by American firms that have operations abroad.  
Recognizing the benefits that U.S. outward investment brings to the U.S. 
economy, the government of the United States undertakes initiatives, 
such as Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) programs, 
investment treaty negotiations and business facilitation programs, that 
support U.S. investors. 


VI.  TRADE REGULATIONS AND STANDARDS

Trade Barriers, Including Tariffs, Non-Tariff Barriers and Import Taxes

All imports are assessed a one percent customs handling charge. The 
import duties are calculated on the CIF value of the shipment.  
Venezuela has adopted the harmonized tariff schedule.  Beginning in 
1995, Venezuela generally adheres to the Andean Pact's Common External 
Tariff, which has four tariff levels:  5, 10, 15 and 20 percent.  
Automobiles carry a duty of 35 percent, and motor oil bears surcharge of 
Bs. 60 per kilogram.  All imports also face a twelve and one-half 
percent tax.  A luxury tax, on a sliding scale of up to 20 percent, will 
also apply to some goods, including, certain alcoholic beverages and 
luxury cars.

Venezuela implemented the Andean Pact Price Band system for certain 
agricultural products (includding wheat, feed grains, rice, pork and 
poultry meat, oilseeds, fats and oils, oilseed meals and milk).  This 
system tracks the estimated landed price of certain marker commodities.  
If the marker prices fall outside of the established price band, the 
Venezuelan ad valorum tariff for the marker product and specified 
related products is adjusted upward or downward.  The implementation of 
the new price band scheme has not been smooth, and there is a fair 
amount of confusion among both importers and customs officials.

The Venezuelan Ministry of Agriculture has used its authority to issue 
sanitary and phytosanitary import permits to unfairly prohibit the 
importation of certain agricultural products which compete with domestic 
products.  This has not occurred for processed food products.

Customs Valuation

Customs calculates duties on the landed (CIF) cost of the product and on 
the gross weight of the import, thus including the weight or value of 
the packaging.  Venezuela has recently established procedures for 
imposing countervailing duties to avoid dumping and counteract 
subsidies.  Such duties have been levied on products, such as blue jeans 
coming from Asia and some plastics. Typically customs authorities accept 
the value of the shipment as indicated on the documents, but recent 
regulations allow them to reference a base price for purposes of 
determining mimimum base price for purposes of customs value. government 
officials
indicated that this base price system is GATT-compliant.  Underinvoicing 
in any event can result in heavy fines to the importer as well as 
forfeiture of the goods in question.

Complaints by importers of inconsistency in customs treatment in various 
ports of entry have led to an effort by SENIAT, an agency of the 
Ministry of Finance, to build a common data base of information and 
otherwise coordinate and ensure uniform valuation principles by customs 
offices in the country.   

Import Licenses

Import licenses are rarely required, but there are a number of products 
which still require permits. These include arms and explosives, which 
require an import permit from the Ministry of the Interior.  Import 
certificates are required for certain products subject to special 
supervision.  Almost all foods and agricultural imports must have 
sanitary or phytosanitary import certificates, issued by the Ministry of 
Agriculture, to be allowed entry.  Medicines, foods and cosmetics 
require registration with the Ministry of Health.  Customs will let 
products pass without a label showing the registration number if the 
importer produces the appropriate documentation from the relevant 
Ministry.

In the case of imported alcoholic beverages, the tax "band" must be 
affixed across the bottle closure before the shipment can leave the 
customs premises.  Imported cigarettes are also subject to this type of 
measure and adhesive labels are not allowed. 

Export Controls

In rare cases controls can be applied by the Foreign Trade Institute 
(ICE).  These are usually applied to avoid domestic shortages.  Certain 
mineral resources also are subject to export controls.  The re-export of 
capital goods is normally not allowed, unless the owner has made prior 
arrangements (BEFORE importing) to the effect that the equipment is to 
be used in Venezuela only for a specific project and are not to stay in 
country (see Temporary Entry).

Import / Export Documentation

Venezuelan Customs requires that all documents be in Spanish. The 
invoice must be typewritten; a photocopy will not be accepted.  The 
manifest of importation and declaration of value must be in 
quadruplicate.  The following documents may be required:  commercial 
invoice; bill of lading; packing list; certificate of origin (if 
required); special certificates or permits when required (such as 
phytosanitary or quality standards certificates or Ministry of Interior 
permit for firearms).  Exporters should consult with the Venezuelan 
importer regarding what documentation is required in addition to the 
invoice.

Exporters should quote CIF prices for Venezuela (not FOB) since import 
duties are calculated on the CIF price.  Insurance and freight must be 
listed separately on the invoice.

The invoice must be in duplicate and list both the value per unit and 
the total value of the shipment.  Shipping and insurance costs are to be 
listed separately.  The description for the merchandise must include the 
appropriate tariff number, which the importer can supply. 

To simplify the import process for a large amount of cargo for one 
project, there should be a single declaration for all items, and each 
item then listed separately with its respective tariff number.

For new products, particularly those whose tariff number cannot be 
readily identified, it is important to obtain a specific tariff number, 
which the importer can obtain from customs. 
More details on special requirements and documentation are available in 
publications such as the following:

     Shipper's Export Manual
     Bureau of National Affairs
     1231 25th Street N.W.
     Washington, D.C. 20037
     Phone:  (202)452-4200
     Fax: (202)822-8092

     Exporter's Encyclopedia
     Dun & Bradstreet International
     140 Allen Street; Suite 200
     Liberty Corner, N.J. 07938
     Phone:  (908)604-7900
     Fax: (90)604-7958

All shipments must be made on a direct consignment basis. Customs 
regulations stipulate that the consignee is the owner of the shipment 
and is responsible for all customs payments.  Thus, a consignee may make 
the required payments and remove the merchandise from customs. It is 
important to have a reliable and known consignee as the ownership status 
allows the consignee to have complete control over the imported product. 
Similiarly, some U.S. companies have had difficulties with sight draft 
transactions.  When Venezuelan companies either delay or refuse to claim 
merchandise arriving in Venezuelan ports Customs will impounds goods not 
claimed, and, if steep fines and storage fees are not promptly paid, 
sell the goods at auction.  In some instances, the original consignees 
have successfully bid on the same goods at auction and obtained them for 
well less than the CIF value.  For this reason, exporters are advised to 
investigate Venezuelan companies thoroughly and carefully evaluate the 
advantages and risks of sight drafts versus irrevocable letters of 
credit.

Since Venezuelan customs procedures are cumbersome and involve many 
steps, most importers use the service of a customs agent. The Commercial 
Section of the U.S. Embassy can provide names of reputable agents.

Venezuelan customs brokers typically charge one percent of the CIF 
value, or less on regular orders.  There are additional charges for 
document preparation and incidentals.  These expenses are normally paid 
by the importer.

To the extent that an exporter expects to be paid through the 
authoroized exchange controls, current regulations require authorization 
by OTAC (see Sections V and VII) prior to importation of the products 
for which hard currency to pay will be requested. This requires 
additional import documentation (see  which is also the responsibility 
of the importer to obtain and submit.  

Temporary Entry

The customs law and its regulations allow the import of merchandise on a 
temporary basis for exhibitions, cultural purposes, demonstrations, 
scientific purposes or specific contracts.  The importer must request 
permission for temporary entry, providing an exact description of the 
merchandise, its number or volume, its value and its expected date of 
re-export. Temporary entry forms may be requested from the Director 
General de Servicios Aduanales (General Director of Customs Services) at 
the Ministry of Finance in Caracas at fax number (58-2) 41-57-71. A bond 
covering the full value of the duty payable in case the products stay in 
the country must be obtained which will be returned once the products 
have left the country.  Normally, temporary entry permits are granted 
for a maximum stay of up to six months.  The one percent customs 
handling charge must be paid and is not reimbursable.

Temporary entry of samples by visiting businessmen is allowed, but the 
determination of what is a sample is left to the customs agent at the 
port of entry.  Samples arriving unaccompanied as freight are never 
considered as such, unless declared as having no commercial value and 
prepared in such a form that they cannot be sold commercially.

Labeling, Marking Requirements

Spanish is the official language of Venezuela, and the only official 
measuring system is metric.  Labels must list all ingredients, the 
contents of the package in the metric system or in units, and the 
registration number of the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of 
Agriculture in the case of animal feeds or veterinary medicines.  
Stickers are allowed in the case of imported products.  These stickers 
must also identify the importer.  Operating instructions or owners 
manuals must be in Spanish.

Prohibited Imports

At this time, imports of used autos, used clothing and used tires are 
prohibited.  Pork from most countries, and poultry from the United 
States, is also banned.  Some products can only be imported by 
government agencies, such as cigarette paper (tax authorities calculate 
cigarette tax on the volume of cigarette paper imported by the 
manufacturers), bank notes, weapons of war and certain explosives.  The 
government can delegate authority to import on its behalf, and can place 
orders for such products with the local sales agents of the foreign 
manufacturers.  Weapons for private use, such as shotguns, sporting 
rifles, air rifles, non-military pistols and commercial explosives can 
only be imported with authorization of the National Office of Arms and 
Explosives of the Interior Ministry and of a company owned by the 
Ministry of Defense named CAVIM (the latter can be delegated to 
established stores and users of commercial explosives).

Standards

The Venezuelan standards agency COVENIN has established over 300 
obligatory standards that apply to both domestic and imported products.  
These standards are not necessarily in conformity with or based on US 
Standards. In all cases involving products falling under such standards, 
customs authorities require a Venezuelan certificate of compliance.  The 
certificate can on occasion be obtained with a letter of certification 
confirming compliance issued by a recognized standards institute in the 
country of origin.  Importers have experienced some difficulty where no 
recognized foreign standards exist and Venezuela requires such a 
certificate of compliance. Exporters should consult with their 
customers, since it is the responsibility of the importer to provide 
such certificates.

COVENIN has compiled a list of recognized foreignprivate certification 
institutes for customsto consult. Recently, some products with UL 
listing from the United States have qualified for entry. Where no 
qualifying  certificate can be obtained, COVENIN willin some cases 
arrange for local testing at the cost of theimporter, although this can 
present difficulties when, forexample, the tester is a local competitor 
of the imported product.  Cost may also be prohibitive in the case of 
small or mixed shipments.  It does not appear that adherence to ISO9000 
guidelines will be acceptable in place of a standardscompliance 
certificate.

For updates and clarifications of COVENIN standards, contacteither the 
Foreign Commercial Service at the U.S. Embassy inCaracas or COVENIN (See 
Appendix E).

Free Trade Zones / Warehouses

Venezuela has two free trade zones.  One, located on the Paraguana 
peninsula, is for industrial purposes only, such asassembly, manufacture 
for export (or maquila) and is very small.  It is being used by only a 
few enterprises.  The other one is the duty-free area comprising the 
entire island of Margarita.

The sale of duty-free merchandise from the island to themainland is 
subject to quotas.

Duty-free bonded warehouses are available at ports, airports andin most 
major towns.  Industrial establishments can also bedeclared in-bond if 
these are used for assembly, completion orimprovement of products for 
re-export.  Only clothing manufacturers are known to be using this 
facility.

Special Import Provisions

There are no special requirements except those discussed above. It 
should be noted that freight handling in ports and airports is somewhat 
rudimentary and that damage might occur unless the products are well 
packed.  Containers are handled efficiently, but will not pass customs 
as such unless their contents fall under one single tariff 
classification number.  If they contain consolidated mixed cargo, 
customs will separate their contents to check each single item.  In 
order to alleviate congestion at ports and airports, Customs will 
authorize this procedure to take place in a bonded warehouse or under 
special arrangements at extra cost at the recipient's warehouse.  The 
containers must be sealed during the transfer.

Courier services such as UPS, Federal Express and DHL should not be used 
to transport merchandise if packages exceed two kilograms in weight.  In 
those cases, the shipments are treated as air freight and could be 
subject to delays in customs.  These facilities should be used primarily 
for the shipment of documents.  Likewise, parcel post shipment using the 
mails should be avoided.  Venezuelan mail is very unreliable. If such a 
parcel arrives, customs will send by mail a notification to the 
recipient, who then has to reply by mail that he is willing to accept 
the package.  The recipient then has to go in person to the central post 
office, where in the presence of a customs official the package is 
opened.  This entire procedure can take several weks or even months.  In 
short, the speediest procedure is air freight, or in the case of very 
heavy shipments, sea freight.

Membership in Free Trade Agreements

Venezuela is a member of the Andean Pact with Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia 
and Peru, and as such is a member of the group's free- trade zone.  The 
Pact negotiated a common external tariff (CET) which entered into effect 
in February, 1995, for Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador.    

Bilateral commerce with Colombia has increased substantially as a result 
of Venezuela's free trade arrangement with its neighbor.  Venezuela is 
also expanding its relations with Mexico and Colombia through the Group 
of Three free trade agreement, which became effeective January 1, 1995.  
Venezuela has partial free- trade agreements with Chile, countries of 
Central America and CARICOM.  

Together with other Andean pact members, Venezuela is involved in talks 
to establish a free-trade zone with MERCOSUR countries, replacing 
partial free-trade agreements due to expire in early 1996.  It has 
expressed some interest in eventual membership in NAFTA, but discussions 
on this are not likely to be advanced in the next few years.


VII.  INVESTMENT CLIMATE

Openness to Foreign Investment

The Venezuelan government has eliminated legal barriers to foreign 
investment in most sectors. It has also attempted to move toward a more 
export-oriented and diversified economy.  At this time, disincentives to 
invest in Venezuela stem principally from government economic policies, 
including its management at the macroeconomic level and the imposition 
of price and foreign exchange controls. 

LEGAL FRAMEWORK

Venezuela's main legal framework for foreign investment is provided in 
Presidential Decree 2095, which was published in the Official Gazette 
No. 34930 on February 13, 1992.  The Decree implemented Decisons 291 and 
292 of the Cartagena Agreement (Andean Pact) and made further 
improvements to liberalize foreign investment regulations in Venezuela.  

Decree 2095 expanded foreign investment opportunities in Venezuela by 
lifting most restrictions on foreign participation.  All sectors of 
Venezuela's economy, except those specifically noted, are open to 100 
percent foreign participation.  Since 1992, foreign companies have been 
able to operate in certain sectors formerly reserved to companies with a 
Venezuelan majority interest, including retail sales, export services, 
telephone and telecommunication services, electrical services, and water 
and sewage services.  Note, Decree 2095 does not cover investments in 
the petroleum, petrochemical, coal, mining, banking and insurance 
sectors, which are regulated by "special laws."  

The process for making a foreign investment in Venezuela was also 
simplified.  Decree 2095 eliminated the requirement to obtain prior 
government authorization for foreign investments in sectors covered by 
Decree 2095.  The decree only requires that investors register with the 
Superintendent of Foreign Investment (SIEX) within 60 days of the date 
the new investment is realized.  Foreign companies may also establish 
branch operations without prior authorization from SIEX.  Proposals to 
use new technology need only be registered as well.  No prior 
authorization is required for technical assistance, transfer of 
technology, or trademark use agreements, provided they are not contrary 
to existing legal provisions.  Also, intangible technological 
contributions are now accepted as foreign direct investments.  The 
Decree provides that shares of foreign companies may be sold publicly.

Decree 2095 also guarantees foreign investors the right to repatriate 
100 percent of profits and capital, including proceeds from the sale of 
shares or liquidation of the company, and allows for unrestricted 
reinvestment of profits.  Royalty payments to foreign companies, parent 
company or otherwise, are also guaranteed without limit or prior 
official authorization;  subsequent registration must be made with SIEX.  
Nonetheless, Venezuela's current exchange control system does establish 
certain procedures and documentary requirements for investors wishing to 
remit dividends, capital, and royalty payments (see the section on 
Conversion and Transfer Policies).     

Venezuela's new Banking Law (Extraordinary Official Gazette no. 4,649), 
and Insurance Reform Law (Extraordinary Official Gazette No. 4,822) 
opened the banking and financial services, and insurance and reinsurance 
sectors to 100 percent foreign ownership at the beginning and end of 
1994, respectively.  Foreign banks may now enter the Venezuelan market 
in one of three ways:  acquisition of shares of existing commercial 
banks or other financial institutions; creation of a new bank or other 
financial institution wholly owned by foreign banks or investors; or 
establishment of a branch of a foreign bank or financial institution.  
Applications for entry into the sector are submitted to the Bank 
Superintendency, which must seek an opinion from the Central Bank before 
granting authorization.

In the insurance sector, foreign investors may now acquire shares of an 
existing company or establish a branch of a foreign insurance or 
reinsurance company.  Applications for entry into the sector are 
submitted to the Insurance Superintendency for authorization.  The law 
still requires that a majority of the executives of an insurance company 
be Venezuelan citizens resident in the country.  Foreign insurance 
companies are also prohibited from offering insurance contracts realized 
outside of Venezuela, unless the premiums are deposited and effectively 
part of the net worth of an insurance company operating in Venezuela.  
Venezuela has no special regulations governing joint ventures, aside 
from the provisions of Decree 2095 which regulate foreign capital 
participation in national and mixed companies, and the "special laws."

SECTORAL RESTRICTIONS

As stipulated in decree 2095, foreign capital is restricted to a maximum 
of 19.9 percent in enterprises engaged in radio, television, the Spanish 
language press, and professional services subject to licensing 
legislation (e.g. attorneys, security services, architecture and 
engineering, medical professions, veterinary practice, economists, 
business administration/management, and accounting).  Basic industries, 
that is those designated as basic by the President in the Council of 
Ministers, may be reserved for "mixed companies." 

MINING:  The mining sector is subject to a Mining Law, which dates back 
to 1944, and a complex set of executive decrees.  Under the present 
structure, potential mining concessionaires are often faced with an 
obscure investment regime, mainly due to the overlapping roles of the 
Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) and the Corporacion Venezolana de 
Guayana (CVG) regarding approval, registration, and oversight.  However, 
the government has reduced mining taxes (to 30 percent) and successfully 
promoted more "mixed" companies, i.e., those with a maximum of 49 
percent foreign capital.  New mining legislation designed to promote 
private participation and reduce red tape is being considered by the 
Venezuelan Congress this year.  

PETROLEUM:  In July 1995, the Venezuelan congress approved a proposal by 
PDVSA and the Caldera administration that would allow private firms to 
participate as equity partners in profit-sharing contracts for the 
exploration and production of light and medium crudes.  This is the most 
significant development in the Venezuelan hydrocarbons sector since 
nationalization in 1976.   

Venezuela's 1975 Hydrocarbons Law reserves exploration,  production, 
refining, transport, storage, and marketing of hydrocarbons to the 
State.  However, Article V provides that private companies may engage in 
hydrocarbons related activities through operation contracts or, when 
found to be in the public interest, through equity joint ventures 
(generally referred to as "strategic associations") as long as the state 
maintains control over the project, the contract is for a pre-determined 
amount of time, and the congress has been made aware of all of the
pertinent circumstances and has granted its approval in joint session.   

Operation of marginal or inactive fields by private companies under 
service contracts does not require congressional approval.  The private 
firms commit themselves to investing a minimum amount of capital over a 
fixed period of time.  If the reactivation is successful, the operators 
are paid a set fee per barrel of oil produced.  However, the oil itself 
is turned over to PDVSA.  PDVSA has a number of service contracts with 
private companies and might offer up new marginal field units in the 
future. 
Since 1993, PDVSA and its affiliates have entered into joint ventures 
with foreign partners in liquid natural gas, and extraction and upgrade 
of extra-heavy crude.  In mid-1994, Maraven announced it was conducting 
feasibility studies for joint ventures in the production of propylene 
and propane, white oils and other specialty products, and lube base 
oils. (Note:  Joint ventures in the petrochemical and coal sectors do 
not require congressional approval).
  
PRIVATIZATION

In June 1995, Congress approved reforms to Venezuela's 1992 
Privatization Law granting the Venezuelan Investment Fund (FIV) greater 
flexibility and freedom of action in conducting privatizations.  Foreign 
participation in privatizations is only limited to the extent provided 
by any special laws regulating the sector in question (see the Sectoral 
Restrictions section above).  Although the Venezuelan Investment Fund 
(FIV) had an ambitious plan to generate $4 billion in privatization 
income in 1995, the result will undoubtedly fall far short.  The only 
significant privatization concluded so far this year has been the sale 
of the government's 41.3 percent share in the milk company Indulac to 
Italy's Parmalat for $14.7 million.  Sales of various hotels, the 
government's remaining 49 percent share in the national telephone 
company (CANTV), and Planta Centro, the largest thermoelectric 
generating plant in Latin America, and other electric utilities have 
been delayed, principally due to lack of investor interest stemming from 
uncertain economic and regulatory conditions.  The state-owned CVG 
industrial holding company is seeking "strategic associations" (joint 
ventures) with private capital in its heavy industry.  On March 15, 
1995, the Venezuelan Congress gave the go ahead to seek private sector 
participation in six CVG businesses:  Alcasa, Fesilven, Sidor, 
Carbonorca, Bauxilum and Venalum.  The FIV may now proceed with studies 
to evaluate each CVG company and decide on a privatization strategy.

Passage of a new "Organic Law of Concessions" in April 1994 has also 
opened up investment opportunities for infrastructure and other public 
works projects.  Under the law, the state will guarantee up to 75 
percent of the investment and under certain circumstances may raise this 
guarantee to 90 percent.  The president may also authorize 100 percent 
income tax waiver and exoneration of all import duties and taxes on 
equipment and services needed.  The state will guarantee the 
economic/financial health of the project if for reasons not attributable 
to the concessionaire the conditions of the project change.  Such 
conditions could be social, war, uprising, natural disasters, and other 
force majuere. 

INVESTMENT INCENTIVES

Investment incentives take the form of tax credits for certain 
industries, exemption from customs duties and some tax rebates.  
Incentives are available to both domestic and foreign companies and 
encourage production for the export market.  Tax credits are usually for 
five years.  The only industry tax incentives presently available under 
the income tax law are (1) a 10 percent credit on the value of new 
investments in fixed assets, excluding land, for investments in mining 
operations, forestry, generation and distribution of electricity, 
tourism, telecommunications, and approved industrial activities other 
than hydrocarbon exploitation; (2) a 10 percent credit on the value of 
investments for research and technological development or for the 
production of new goods; and (3) a 10 percent credit on the amount paid 
for new investments to eliminate or avoid environmental contamination.  

PETROCHEMICAL SECTOR:  Decree 1058 dated April 2, 1986, established a 
five-year tax holiday, beginning with the date of commercial operation, 
for domestic and foreign companies investing in the petrochemical 
sector.  To qualify, the project must make extensive use of goods and 
services produced in Venezuela; the foreign financing must not require 
guarantees or securities from the Venezuelan government or a state-owned 
company; and a portion of the capital raised must be offered to small, 
private investors through the stock exchange, promoting private 
ownership of the industry.


Conversion and Transfer Policies

On June 27, 1994, the Caldera administration implemented a fixed foreign 
exchange rate of Bs 170=$1 and foreign exchange controls to stem capital 
flight.  Despite periodic pressure on the bolivar because of 
inflationary expectations, the government appears intent on retaining 
the current rate of exchange for the time being.  Foreign exchange 
controls are expected to remain in place over the next year.  The 
Foreign Exchange Regime Law, which codifies Venezuela's foreign exchange 
controls, came into effect on June 17, 1995.

Although foreign investors, in both capital markets and direct 
investment, are guaranteed the right to repatriate dividends and capital 
under Decree 2095, foreign companies have in practice been unable to 
repatriate since the imposition of currency controls in mid-1994.  
Delays were initially caused by a lack of regulations covering foreign 
exchange requests related to investment.  These regulations were 
eventually promulgated in late 1994.  However, delays in obtaining 
foreign exchange for remittance of dividends and capital have continued, 
and have moved to the forefront among concerns of major foreign 
investors.  In response, the government has stated its intention to 
facilitate access to foreign exchange for repatriation purposes.  
Implementing regulations of the new Foreign Exchange Regime Law have 
exempted strategic associations in the petroleum sector from controls.  
In addition, regulations also published on June 17, 1995 have simplified 
the foreign currency application process for other foreign investors and 
have called for the establishment of a special foreign exchange fund for 
repatriation requests.  Foreign investors must still register their 
investment with SIEX prior to applying for foreign exchange for 
repatriation.  Applications for foreign currency must be submitted to 
the Technical Administration of Foreign Exchange (OTAC) through an 
approved intermediary, i.e. banks, financial institutions.  

The new law and regulations have also eased restrictions on importers 
and exporters.  Importers requiring less than $5,000 for the purchase of 
imports no longer must seek prior approval from OTAC.  Exporters may now 
use foreign currency earned from export sales for all expenses, 
including goods, services and payment of debt.  Any excess foreign 
exchange, however, must be sold to the Central Bank at the official 
rate.  Allowances may also now be sought by manufacturing importers for 
priority in purchasing raw materials and consumables.  Private debt 
requiring payment in foreign currency must be registered with the 
Finance Ministry (Hacienda) prior to making an application for foreign 
exchange with OTAC.  Limits still exist on the amount of foreign 
exchange available for certain activities, such as foreign travel, 
remittances to students studying overseas, and transfers to families 
abroad, but travelers are now allowed to take $5,000 out of the country 
and return with up to $10,000 without having make to declare it.  
Persons holding transient working visas are not eligible to obtain 
foreign exchange.  Non-export transactions involving foreign currency 
which does not enter Venezuela is not subject to sale to the Central 
Bank and conversion into Bolivars.  Currency transactions conducted 
outside the official system are illegal and carry heavy penalties. 

Dispute Settlement

Decree 2095 allows for arbitration of disputes as "provided by domestic 
law."  

ARBITRATION:  A Code of Civil Procedure, effective March 17, 1989, 
provides for the enforcement of arbitration clauses in commercial 
contracts, as well as for the enforcement of arbitral awards as final 
decisions of the court.  Although still not common, Venezuela has 
allowed dual jurisdiction or extra-territorial arbitration of commercial 
disputes, and international arbitration has been approved for technology 
licensing contract disputes in the past.  All of Venezuela's bilateral 
agreements for the promotion and protection of investments provide for 
international arbitration of investment disputes under the auspices of 
the World Bank's Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes 
(ICSID).  

INVESTMENT DISPUTES:  The foreign investor should note that contractual 
arbitration clauses notwithstanding, Venezuela's legal system permits 
criminal charges to be filed in what may appear to a U.S. investor as 
strictly a commercial dispute.  Although this has occurred in several 
instances, investment disputes are not common.     

Political Violence  

There are no confirmed recent incidents of politically motivated damage 
to foreign owned or operated companies, projects or installations in 
Venezuela.  Foreign interests, including some U.S. interests, in gold 
mining have been affected by vandalism, hostilities and thefts by small-
scale local miners who oppose the granting of concessions to the larger 
foreign firms.     

Performance Requirements

AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY:  An addendum to the Andean Pact Common Automotive 
Policy, which became effective January 1, 1995, eliminated previous 
Venezuelan exchange balancing requirements for local automotive 
assemblers and modified the formula for calculating local content.  
Local content requirement for category 1 vehicles (passenger cars, four-
wheel drive vehicles, vehicles for transporting up to 16 passengers, and 
certain trucks) is 30 percent for 1995 and 1996; 32 percent for 1997; 
and 33 percent for 1998.  Category 2 vehicles (others) have a local 
content requirement of 15 percent for 1995, plus an additional one 
percent each year through 1998.
  
Right to Private Ownership and Establishment

Aside from restrictions contained in The 1975 Hydrocarbons Law, foreign 
ownership is only restricted in the particular sectors noted above.  

Protection of Property Rights

Foreign investors may pursue property claims through Venezuela's legal 
system, but procedures are lengthy and judgements are uneven.

There have been no expropriations in the recent past. 
Expropriations, particularly of foreign-owned property, are not 
expected.  

Regulatory System:  Laws and Procedures  

LEGAL ENVIRONMENT:  As part of its economic reform program in the early 
1990's, the Government of Venezuela adopted three new laws to promote 
free market competition and prevent unfair trade practices:  an anti-
trust law, an antidumping law, and a consumer protection law.  Venezuela 
also replaced its former government contract law, the "Buy Venezuela" 
decree, with a new Law of Tenders dated July 20, 1990.  The law provides 
that for selection between offers within a reasonable range the 
Venezuelan Government may choose the bid which offers the greatest 
Venezuelan participation in technology and engineering, human resources, 
and other factors.

Venezuela's Criminal Environmental Law (CEL), which entered into force 
April 4, 1992, established rules comparable to those in the United 
States and Europe.  A major difference, however, is that the CEL has 
criminalized Venezuela's environmental rules.  Although the CEL more 
seriously addresses environmental problems in Venezuela than an earlier 
law, it has been criticized as too vague in certain sections and to have 
extended overly broad criminal liabilities.  Some investors have 
expressed concern over provisions governing the disposal of industrial 
and hazardous wastes, claiming that Venezuela's infrastructure is 
inadequate to meet the new standards of the CEL.  

A new Consumer Protection Law came into effect on June 17, 1995.  The 
law strengthens criminal penalties for ill-defined offenses involving 
profiteering or manipulation of markets.

TAX TREATMENT OF FOREIGN-OWNED FIRMS:  Except for the petroleum sector, 
the current Venezuelan income tax law does not differentiate between 
foreign-owned and Venezuelan-owned firms.  The maximum and most widely 
applicable individual and corporate tax rate is 34% under a new income 
tax law which came into effect on July 1, 1994 for tax years commencing 
on or after that date.  For those paying tax on a calendar basis, it 
became applicable from January 1, 1995.  All companies and individuals 
are required to register with the national tax authority.  Income 
received from any economic activity carried out in Venezuela is subject 
to taxation.

There are several different corporate tax situations to which foreign 
investors could be subject, depending upon the type of economic activity 
in which they are engaged.  Venezuela has international double taxation 
agreements in the areas of air and sea transport with several countries, 
including the U.S.  Venezuela is currently negotiating a double taxation 
agreement with the U.S. which covers most business sectors.

On December 1, 1993, a 1 percent business assets tax entered into force.  
The assets tax is assessed on the gross value of assets (with no 
deduction for liabilities) after adjustments for depreciation and 
inflation.  It is deductible for income tax purposes.  A new wholesale 
and luxury tax law, which became effective August 1, 1994, was published 
on May 27, 1994 in the official Gazette No. 4.727.  The wholesale tax, 
which is applied at both the wholesale and import levels ranges from 5 
to 20 percent.  The wholesale tax rate is currently set at 12.5 percent, 
but may be modified by the next budget law.  The law also established an 
additional luxury tax of 10 or 20 percent, to be levied on certain 
items.

These are three basic taxes applied to the petroleum industry.  First 
there is a 16.7 percent royalty payment on production.  Next, there is a 
67.7 percent income tax, and finally an export reference value tax.  The 
export reference value can vary between 0 and 20 percent.  The surcharge 
is being phased out:  it fell to 8 percent in 1994 and 4 percent in 
1995, and will be eliminated entirely in 1996.
 
Joint ventures with the state oil company, PDVSA, in the development and 
refining of heavy and extra-heavy crudes and the processing of 
unassociated natural gas are subject to a reduced income tax rate of 34 
percent in addition to the 16.7 percent royalty payment.  However, joint 
ventures with PDVSA for exploration and production of light and medium 
crudes, which are expected to be subject to the full 67.7 percent income 
tax and production royalty.

Bilateral Investment Agreements

The Venezuelan government has bilateral investment promotion and 
protection agreements with the Netherlands, Switzerland and Ecuador and 
is in the process of ratifying agreements with Chile, Argentina, 
Portugal, Barbados, Denmark, and Great Britain.  Negotiations are on-
going for investment agreements with Brazil, Spain, Canada, and Sweden.  
Negotiations with the United States have not resumed following their 
suspension in early 1993. 

OPIC and other Investment Insurance Programs

Venezuela participates in the Overseas Private Investment Corporation 
(OPIC) country program.  The U.S. signed an Investment Incentive 
Agreement with Venezuela on June 22, 1990, thereby granting investment 
insurance and guarantees by OPIC.  Also, on January 17, 1991, the 
Government of Venezuela approved Foreign Government Approval (FGA) 
procedures.  

Venezuela has also joined the World Bank's Multilateral Investment 
Guarantee Agency (MIGA).  MIGA encourages foreign investment in 
developing countries by providing investment guarantees against risks of 
currency transfer, expropriation, war and civil disturbance, and breach 
of contract by the host government; and advisory services to developing 
member countries on means of improving their attractiveness to foreign 
investment. 

Labor

According to the government's Central Office of Statistics, unemployment 
at the end of 1994 was 8.7 percent.  However, the government includes 
the underemployed in its statistics:  the Workers' Center for 
Documentation and Analysis estimates that unemployment reached 13 
percent at the end of 1994 and 15 percent by February 1995.  Government 
estimates of that portion of the labor force in the informal sector 
ranges form 50 to 55 percent.  Employment statistics are calculated on a 
total labor force of about 8 million.  About 25 percent of employed 
workers are covered by collective contracts.

According to the Labor Ministry, there was one legal strike in 1994, 
although there were numerous, brief public sector stoppages.  In early 
1995, the air traffic controllers staged a work to rule slowdown and 
were replaced by the military.  Declining economic activity enforced a 
sort of labor peace in the private sector.  

Following the increase in the urban minimum wage to Bs. 15,000 per month 
in May 1994, the Government decreed a Bs. 6,000 bonus in June 1994 for 
the lowest paid workers that is not included in their base wage for the 
calculation of final settlement should they be dismissed.  In April 
1995, the government announced a bonus of Bs. 500 per day for those 
earning less than Bs. 150,000 monthly, again without affecting the base 
wage.

The major labor organization in Venezuela is the Venezuelan Workers' 
Confederation, which represents most of the unionized workers in 
Venezuela; it claims a membership of 3 million, and is especially strong 
is the public sector.

The labor law which took effect in 1991 expanded existing fringe 
benefits, reduced the standard work week to 44 hours, and increased 
rates of overtime and holiday pay.  Critics of the legislation compare 
it to a lengthy collective contract and claim its lack of flexibility 
limits the ability of employers and unions to adapt to individual 
circumstances.  Many benefits--such as generous severance pay, profit 
sharing, vacation bonuses, and employer contributions to social 
security, housing funds, and unemployment insurance--are mandatory.  
Others, including allowances for lunches, transportation, and health and 
education services, depend on the workers' salary level and the number 
of workers employed.  The labor law includes a provision for 365 days of 
sick leave in certain cases, as well as maternity leave. It also 
provides employers with three options to provide child care:  Build a 
government-approved day care center; pay for the day care of each child 
at a private day care center; or pay 15 percent of the minimum wage for 
every worker to a children's foundation.

Venezuela's labor law places quantitative and financial restrictions on 
the employment decisions made by foreign investors.  Article 27 of the 
law requires that the number of foreigners hired by an investor not 
exceed 10 percent of employees, while salaries paid to foreigners may 
not exceed 20 percent of the total company payroll.  Article 28 allows 
for temporary exceptions to Article 27 and outlines the requirements to 
hire technical expertise when equivalent Venezuelan personnel is not 
available.  Bureaucratic procedures and corruption may hamper efforts to 
seek an exception.

Foreign Trade Zones / Free Ports

In August 1991, the Venezuelan Congress approved a Free-Trade Zone Law.  
The two existing zones are Paraguana (industrial), and Margarita Island 
(commercial).  Investors in the industrial free zone on the Paraguana 
Peninsula on Venezuela's northwest coast can receive a 10-year 
exoneration from income taxes on all profits earned from goods produced 
for export.  The government may extend such benefits for an additional 
10 years.  Few investors have taken advantage of the tax breaks in 
Paraguana due to infrastructure problems in the region.  Both Paraguana 
and Margarita zones provide exemptions from most import and export 
duties and offer foreign-owned firms the same investment opportunities 
as host country firms.  There is currently discussion of establishing 
another free-trade zone in the western part of the country.

Capital Outflow Policy

Venezuela currently offers no incentives for investment outside the 
country.  However, the state-owned oil company, PDVSA, is the sole owner 
of its U.S. subsidiary, CITGO, which represents the sixth largest 
foreign investment in the United States.  

Major Foreign Investors 

Major U.S. investors in Venezuela include GTE, AT&T, American Cyanamid 
Co., Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA), A.V.C.O. International, Avon 
Product Corp., Bellsouth Enterprises, Black & Decker, Bristol Myers 
Squibb, Colgate-Palmolive Co., Continental Can Co., Dow Chemical Co., 
Eastman Kodak Co., Firestone Tire and Rubber Corp., Ford Motor Co., 
General Electric Co., General Motors Corp., I.B.M., Kraft Inc.,Minnesota 
Mining & Manufacturing Inc., Pfizer Corp., Philip Morris, Proctor & 
Gamble Co., Ralston Purina Co., Revlon International Corp., Reynolds 
International Inc., Warner Lambert & Company, and Westinghouse Electric 
Corp.  Major third-country investors in Venezuela include AGA A.B., 
Allied-Lyons Netherlands B.V., Atlas Copco Venezuela, British American 
Tobacco, Ciba-Geigy, Citadel Corp., Fiat, Guiness Distillers, Hitachi de 
Venezuela, Hoechst, Kobe Steel, Mitsubishi Corp., Nestle, Shell, Showa 
Denko K.K., Siemens, Sony, Sumitomo Aluminum, Toyota, The Unilever 
Group, and The Vestrey Group. 

VIII.  TRADE AND PROJECT FINANCING

The Banking System

The Venezuelan financial system is small and seriously undercapitalized.  
At present, it is experiencing a severe structural crisis, with many of 
its institutions already intervened by the government.  Many of the 
assets held by intervened banks have been shown to be undervalued or 
non- existent.  It is not at all clear whether total financial systems 
now exceed the value assigned to them (US$25.6Billion)at the end of 
1993.

The Venezuelan banking industry is characterized by the dominance of 
financial groups.  There is a trend toward consolidation and 
concentration, which is expected to continue.

Recent banking legislation has reinforced the autonomy of the Central 
Bank and strengthened the powers of the Bank Superintendency.  The 
Superintendency can now require greater disclosure and higher levels of 
capitalization. Actual regulatory supervision is still intermittent and 
not comprehensive in nature or effect.

The continuing difficulties of the banking sector have led to the 
creation of a new Banking Council and an Emergency Board , with 
significant powers (for example, over dispositionof reserves) which 
affect the autonomy of all banks, including those in which the 
Government has not intervened.Recen t legislation has given the 
Presdient and the Council of Ministers significant powers over monetary 
matters in cases of emergency and thus impinged the autonomy of the 
Central Bank. This Legislation is the foundation for the imposition of 
exchange controls and fixed exchange rates. It is not clear whether this 
law will withstand consitutional challenge in the Supreme Court.

Because of past discriminatory practices, the U.S. presence in the 
banking sector remains small.  Currently, Citibank is the only U.S. bank 
with a presence in the retail banking sector. Many other U.S. banks have 
representative offices.  The large Dutch- based bank ING has recently 
opened offices in Venezuela and intends to offer merchant banking and 
trade financing services.  Venezuelan banking legislation have provided 
for full national treatment for U.S. banks since January 1, 1994, and 
allow foreign investors to take controlling interests in local banks, or 
to establish new banks or branches.  

Foreign Exchange

In July, 1994, the Venezuelan government enacted strict emergency 
exchange controls to halt the decline of the bolivar against the dollar 
and prevent further capital flight. The controls, first described as 
"temporary" by the Government, have recently been the subject of 
extensive codification in the Exchange Control Law and accompanying 
Regulations made effective on June 17, 1995. While improvements, 
liberalization of whole sectors and many clarifications were made, the 
documentation and authorizations required for most forms of exchange 
continue to delay fundamental commercial activities such as imports, 
debt payments, and all forms of capital transactions and license fees. 
(for details of the system at time of writing, see"Conversion and 
Transfer Policies" in section VII above).

General Financing Availability

Financing of any type is currently very expensive and difficult to find.  
Real domestic borrowing rates are very high, currently in excess of 40% 
per annum. Since the inception of the banking crisis in 1994,many 
foreign banks, including those in the United States, reduced or 
cancelled trade credit lines to Venezuelan banks.  Importers have 
continued to have trouble finding banks which will confirm their letters 
of credit.

How to Finance Exports / Methods of Payment

The recommended methods of selling to Venezuelan buyers remain letters 
of credit or prepayment, although Venezuelan buyers may have difficulty 
using either of these because of exchange controls and the general 
economic uncertainty besetting Venezuela.  Other methods, such as sight 
payment, may not provide sufficient legal protection in Venezuela to the 
exporter unless all parties to the transaction are well-known to the 
exporter.  Suppliers may also be able to use one of the several programs 
listed below.

Types of Available Export Financing and Insurance

Agriculture:  Venezuela benefits from several USDA programs which assist 
U.S. agricultural exports.  The primary such program is the Export 
Credit Guarantee Program, or GSM-102.  This provides coverage of 
commercial credits extended to finance exports, for credit periods up to 
3 years.  The FY 1994 program provides for coverage of up to $220 
million for U.S. exports to Venezuela of wheat, feedgrains, oilseeds, 
oilmeals, and other products. Venezuela also benefits from USDA's Export 
Enhancement Program (EEP), the Dairy Export Incentive Program (DEIP), 
the Sunflower Oil Assistance Program (SOAP), and the Cottonseed Oil 
Assistance Program (COAP).

Merchandise:  The U.S. Export-Import Bank (Eximbank) is active in 
Venezuela, providing guarantees and insurance for exports to Venezuela.  
Minimum transaction sizes, exposure fees charged based on the 
creditability of Venezuela and other requirements may limit the 
applicability of Eximbank support.

Project Financing

The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), Inter-
American Development Bank (IDB) and the Andean Development Corporation 
(CAF) are all active in Venezuela.  For information on multilateral bank 
related business opportunities, one should contact:

     Office of Multilateral Development Banks
     U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service
     U.S. Department of Commerce, Room H-1107
     Washington, DC. 20230
     Tel: (202) 482-3399
     Fax: (202) 273-0927

The IBRD, a member of the World Bank group makes long-term loans at 
market-related rates primarily to developing countries.  Loans are 
extended to promote broadly based economic growth and frequently focus 
on structural adjustment, sectoral reform and individual project 
lending.  Typically, the World Bank does not finance the entire cost of 
a project, but instead covers components of a project purchased with 
foreign exchange, which on average is about 40 percent of the total 
project cost.  Each project may cover a wide variety of sectors and can 
involve anywhere from one to hundreds of separate contracts providing 
export business opportunities for suppliers worldwide.

For further information on IBRD business opportunities please contact:

     U.S. Department of Commerce Liaison
     Office of the U.S. Executive Director
     International Bank for Reconstruction and Development 
     1818 H Street, NW, Room D-13004
     Washington, DC. 20433
     Tel: (202) 458-0118
     Fax: (202) 477-2967

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) provides funding to primarily 
public sector entities for the design and execution of projects.  IDB 
projects afford U.S. suppliers of goods and services significant export 
opportunities, mainly in the
transportation, environment, health, education, urban
development, tourism, agriculture, and energy sectors.  U.S. firms 
seeking information on IDB-financed commercial
opportunities should contact:

     U.S. Department of Commerce Liaison Officer
     Office of the U.S. Executive Director
     Inter-American Development Bank
     1250 H Street, NW, 10th Floor
     Washington, DC. 20005
     Tel: (202) 942-8265
     Fax: (202) 942-8275

List of Venezuelan Commercial Banks

The following commercial banks are listed by asset size, largest to 
smallest.  Those marked by an * have been intervened by the government.  
While Banco de Venezuela and Banco Latino are being restructured and 
will continue operations, the fate of other intervened banks was 
uncertain at the time this report was written.


Banco Provincial
Banco de Venezuela*
Banco Latino*
Banco Maracaibo*
Banco Mercantil
Banco Industrial de Venezuela
Banco Union
Banco Consolidado*
Banco Metropolitano*
Banco Progreso*
Banco Construccion*
Banco Republica*
Banco Principal*
Banco la Guaira*
Banco Italo Venezolano*
Banco del Caribe
Banco de Lara
Banco Bancor*
Banco International
Banco Exterior
Banco Caracas
Banco Barinas*
Banco del Orinoco
Banco Venezolano de Credito
Banco Banesco
Banco Occidental de Descuento
Banco Federal
Banco Profesional*
Banco del Caroni
Banco de Fomento Regional de Los Andes (BANFOANDES)
Citibank
Banco Sofitasa
Banco Amazonas*
Banco de Occidente
Banco Andino*
Banco Exterior de los Andes y de Espana (EXTEBANDES)
Banco Capital
Banco Plaza
Banco de Fomento Regional Coro (BANFOCORO)
Banco Guayana
Banco Empresarial
Banco Canarias de Venezuela
Banco Noroco
Banco Ganadero
Banco Tequendama
Banco do Brasil
Banco Popular

IX.  BUSINESS TRAVEL

Business Customs

U.S. companies interested in selling to the Venezuelan Government should 
note that, according to Venezuelan law, all correspondence must be in 
Spanish.  Companies that write to a government agency in English will 
probably not receive a reply.  Government officials are not permitted to 
conduct official business in any other language than Spanish.

Venezuelan importers prefer to buy directly from the manufacturer, 
instead of going through intermediaries.  U.S. exporters that are not 
manufacturers should try to associate themselves closely with a 
manufacturer, whenever possible.  Weekends and holidays are generally 
off-limits for business meetings with Venezuelans;  these times are 
reserved for family.  Travel Advisory and Visas

U.S. travelers may obtain current information on conditions in Venezuela 
by calling the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs at 
(202) 647 5225. 

To obtain a Venezuelan business visa you should contact nearest 
Venezuelan Consulate.  Visitors with business visas are required to pay 
local income taxes if their stay in the country goes beyond 180 days.

All visitors are required to pay an exit tax of 2,800 Bs.

Holidays 

Following is a list of the official Venezuelan Government
holidays.  There are also many bank holidays, where businesses remain 
open although banks are closed.

  Date         Day            Holiday

  Oct 12       Thursday       Columbus Day
  Dec 25       Monday         Christmas Day
  Jan 1        Monday         New year's Day
  Feb 19       Monday         Carnival  
  Feb 20       Tuesday        Carnival  
  April 4      Thursday       Good Thursday  
  April 5      Friday         Good Friday 
  April 19     Friday         Signing of Independence
  May 1        Wednesday      Labor Day
  June 24      Monday         Battle of Carabobo  
  July 5       Friday         Independence Day
  July 24      Monday         Bolivar's Birthday

In addition to the holidays listed above Maracaibo, Estado Zulia, will 
observe the following regional holidays:

  Oct 24       Tuesday        General Urdaneta's Birthday
  Nov 18       Saturday       Virgin of Chiquinquira Day

* Dates vary year to year.

Infrastructure:

Transportation.  

Public transportation in Caracas consists of buses, the metro (subway), 
and taxis.  Taxis are widely available in Caracas.  Taxi service at 
hotels runs about 50 percent higher than street taxis.  Several 
companies operate a radio-dispatched pick-up service.  During the 
morning rush hour, at mid-day and again in the early evening, it can be 
extremely difficult to find a taxi. 

The Metro is open Monday through Sunday from 5:30 a.m to 11:00 pm., and 
offers a cheap, efficient alternative to taxis. 

Existing lines are limited, primarily running east-west through the 
city.

Many foreign airlines serve Venezuela, most through Caracas, and a few 
through Maracaibo.  Domestic flights are available to almost all towns 
of any size.  Maiquetia, the international airport serving Caracas, is 
about 40 minutes from downtown.  Expect to pay USD 25-30 in local 
currency for taxi service from Maiquetia to the city.

Language.

Spanish is the official language of the country.  Executives speak 
English.

Communications.

Local mail service is not dependable and important correspondence should 
not be sent by mail.  International courier service should only be used 
for papers and documents and not include anything else or it will be 
delayed by Venezuelan customs.  Most correspondence is by fax.

Messenger delivery is frequently used within Caracas and other large 
cities in lieu of the mail (for correspondence, invitations to 
receptions, etc).

Important documents can be sent via international courier (such as DHL 
or Federal Express, and more recently, UPS) and are usually received in 
Caracas within a few days.

U.S. companies should note that Venezuela does not have daylight savings 
time.  The time is the same as U.S. east coast time from April 5 to 
October 25, and one hour later the rest of the year.  When attempting to 
contact someone in Venezuela, it is useful to know usual hours of 
operation:

  a) Offices... (Mon-Fri) 8:30-12:30 and 2:30-6:00
  b) Stores.... (Mon-Sat) 9:00-12:30 and 3:00-7:00
  c) Factories. (Mon-Fri) 7:30- 4:30 (often closed
                for vacation December 15 - January 15)

Newspapers

Newspapers are a very effective medium for advertising a product and 
attracting an audience to an event (such as a trade show or trade 
mission).

Caracas has many daily newspapers.  "El Universal" and "El Nacional" are 
the most widely read.  There is an English language daily--"The Daily 
Journal", which often carries ads for imported products that would 
appeal to foreigners residing in Venezuela. 

Housing

There are only three "five star" hotels in Caracas.  Stars are awarded 
by the Venezuelan Government, and do not correspond to any international 
standards.  Four star hotels are available at much lower rates, but 
service is at a lower standard.

Following is a list of the main hotels in Caracas:

     Hotel Tamanaco Intercontinental
     Las Mercedes
     Tel: (582)91-4555
     Fax: (582)208-7004

     Hotel Eurobuilding
     Calle La Guairita
     Chuao
     Tel: (582)907-1111
     Fax: (582)907-2189

     Hotel Caracas Hilton
     El Conde
     Tel: (582)503-5000
     Fax: (582)503-5003


X.  APPENDICES

A.   COUNTRY DATA

Population (1994 est.):       21.3 Million
Population Growth Rate:       2.3 pct        
Religion:                     Roman Catholic
Government System:            Constitutional Republic
Language:                     Spanish
Work Week:                    40 Hours Max. (non-manual)

B.   DOMESTIC ECONOMY

                              1994      1995(1)   1996 (2) 
GDP (USD billion)(3):
     Nominal                  55.9      71.5      66.1
     Real                     55.9      55.0      55.0

Real GDP growth rate (pct)    -3.3      -1.5       0.0

GDP per capita (USD)(3):
     Nominal                  2,624     3,282     2,967           
Real                          2,624     2,523     2,466      
Government spending           23.3      22.8      21.7
(as percent of GDP)

Inflation (percent)           70.8      50.0      40.0

Unemployment (percent)         8.7      11.4      12.0  

Foreign Exchange Reserves     11.5      10.5      10.5
(USD billion)

Average Exchange Rate         148.9     170.0     240.0      
(for USD 1.00)

Debt service/Total exports    18.6      17.4      21.6
(percent)
_____________

1.   Preliminary figures
2.   Forecast
3.   Nominal GDP is skewed by fixed official exchange rate  
C.   TRADE (US$ BILLIONS)          1994      1995(1)   1996(2) 
Total Venezuelan Exports           15.3      17.5      18.0       
Total Venezuelan Imports            8.0       8.6       9.2  
Exports to U.S.                     8.4       9.5      10.5 
Imports from U.S.                   4.0       4.3       4.6  
--------------

1.   Projection
2.   Forecast

D. INVESTMENT STATISTICS

source:  Venezuelan Superintendant of Foreign Investment (SIEX) 
1.  STOCK OF DIRECT FOREIGN INVESTMENT BY COUNTRY OF ORIGIN (AS OF 
DECEMBER 31, 1994)


Country        1992     1993    1994    pct of Total   pct Change 
                                        1994           1993-1994 
_________________________________________________________________ 
United States  3,222    3,254   3,293   48.8           1.2
Netherlands      559      595     646    9.6           8.6
Switzerland      281      287     419    6.2          45.6 
Cayman Islands   160      161     357    5.3         122.0 
United Kingdom   308      317     333    4.9           5.0 
Panama           239      283     299    4.4           5.5 
Japan            218      231     230    3.4          -0.4 
France           151      162     168    2.5           4.1 
Spain             52       73     149    2.2         105.0 
Italy             89       93     102    1.5           0.7 
Canada            87      101     102    1.5           0.7 
Curacao           84       84      95    1.4          12.5 
Germany           77       81      84    1.2           3.8 
Br.Virgin Isl.   38       44      68    1.0          53.2 
Sweden            56       57      57    0.8           0.1 
Belgium           53       54      54    0.8           0.1 
Bermuda           21       42      41    0.6          -3.0 
Liechtenstein     25       28      40    0.6          41.8 
Colombia           3        9      38    0.6         342.0 
Denmark           20       14      30    0.4         108.8 
Bahamas           26       26      27    0.4           3.1 
Austria           15       15      15    0.2           0.0 
Mexico             2        2      10    0.2         507.1 
Aruba              0        9       9    0.1           1.5 
San Martin         0        0       8    0.1           N/A 
Argentina          4        4       6    0.1          32.1 
Peru               3        3       4    0.1           0.0 
Brazil             2        3       3    0.0           1.1 
Liberia            2        2       2    0.0           0.0 
Israel             1        1       1    0.0           0.9 
_______________________________________________________________ 
Subtotal       5,796    6,038   6,676   98.9          10.6 
Others            81       84      74    1.1         -13.6 
_______________________________________________________________ 
Total          5,877    6,119   6,750  100.0          10.3 

Note:     Data does not include petroleum, mining, banking and insurance

2.  NEW DIRECT FOREIGN INVESTMENT BY COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
    
Country        1992      1993      1994   pct total    
                                             1994      
--------------------------------------------------------------- 
Cayman Isl.     14         1       213       33.4            
Switzerland     18        12       132       20.7              
Spain            3        15        76       11.9              
Netherlands    377        96        63        9.9               
U.S.A.       1,214        38        45        7.1               
Br. V. Isl.      5         1        22        3.4               
Curacao         28         1        16        2.6                
Canada           2         3        14        2.1              
Panama          68        35        13        2.0               
Denmark          6         0        12        2.0               
Mexico           0         0         9        1.4                 
U.K.            87         0         6        1.0             
France          42         6         5        0.8             
Germany         10         4         4        0.7            
Colombia         0         3         3        0.4            
Japan           24         2         2        0.4             
Argentina        0         1         1        0.2           
San Martin       0         6         1        0.2            
Italy            1         4         0        n/a            
Austria          9         0         0        n/a
--------------------------------------------------------------- 
Subtotal     1,908       228       637      100.0
Others          24        28         0        0
--------------------------------------------------------------- 
Total        1,932       256       637      100.0 
 

E.  U.S. AND VENEZUELAN CONTACT INFORMATION


VENEZUELAN GOVERNMENT

Ministerio de Relaciones Interiores (Ministry of the Interior) Av. 
Urdaneta, Esq. Carmelitas Frente al Banco Central de
Venezuela
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-575-0010/834-110/834-334
     Fax:  58-2-861-1967

Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores (Ministry of Foreign
Relations)
Av. Urdaneta, Esq. de Conde a Carmelitas
Edificio MRE, Piso 2
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-834-305/824-305/824-484
     Fax:  58-2-831-376/836-526

Ministerio de Agricultura y Cria (Ministry of Agriculture) Av. Lecuna, 
Torre Este
Piso 14, Parque Central
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-599-0445/49
     Fax:  58-2-574-7305

Ministerio de Hacienda (Ministry of Finance)
Edificio Centro Simon Bolivar
Torre Norte, Piso 6
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-483-1380/483-5462
     Fax:  58-2-415-771

Ministerio de la Defensa (Ministry of Defense)
Fuente Tiuna, Conejo Blanco, El Valle
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-607-1546/1551
     Fax:  58-2-483-8552

Ministerio del Trabajo y Desarrollo Social (Ministry of Labor and Social 
Development)
Torre Sur, Piso 5
Edf. Centro Simon Bolivar
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-483-1881/418-617
     Fax:  58-2-483-5940

Ministerio de Energia y Minas (Ministry of Energy and Mines) Av. Lecuna, 
Torre Oeste, Piso 14
Parque Central
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-507-6401/575-4853
     Fax:  58-2-575-4386

Ministerio de Fomento (Ministry of Development)
Centro Simon Bolivar, Torre Norte, Piso 5
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-483-2124/422-371
     Fax:  58-2-483-8552/422-2526

COVENIN (Venezuelan Standards Agency)
Director de Seguimiento y Control
Servicio Autonomo
Direccion de Normalizacion y Certificacion de Calidad
Ave. Andres Bello
Edif. Torre Fondocomun, Piso 12
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel: 58-2-575-4111 (ext 235) or 576-37-01
     Fax: 58-2-574-13-12 or 576-37-01


Ministerio de Educacion (Ministry of Education)
Esq. de Salas, Edf. Sede del Ministerio de Educacion
Piso 20
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-562-9198/9238
     Fax:  58-2-8488/562-0175

Ministerio de Transporte y Comunicaciones (Ministry of
Transportation and Communications)
Av. Lecuna, Torre Oeste, Piso 51
Parque Central
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-509-1004/1002
     Fax:  58-2-574-3043

Ministerio de Justicia (Ministry of Justice)
Edf. Centro Simon Bolivar
Torre Norte, Piso 25
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-483-1170/1192

Ministerio del Ambiente y de los Recursos Naturales Renovables (Ministry 
of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources) Edf. Centro Simon 
Bolivar
Torre Sur, Piso 18
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-408-1001/412/162
     Fax:  58-2-483-2445

Ministerio de la Familia (Ministry of Family)
Av. Lecuna, Torre Oeste, Piso 41
Parque Central
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-575-3286/2675
     Fax:  582-575-2523


Ministerio de Desarrollo Urbano (Ministry of Urban Development) Av. 
Lecuna, Torre Oeste, Piso 51
Parque Central
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-574-5349/8649
     Fax:  58-2-574-9989

Ministerio de Sanidad y Asistencia Social (Ministry of Health and Social 
Assistance)
Edf. Centro Simon Bolivar
Torre Norte, Piso 8
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-414-342/412-686


Instituto Venezolano de los Seguros Sociales (IVSS) (Venezuelan 
Institute for Social Security)
Edf. Sede IVSS
Piso 9, Esquina de Altagracia
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-822-511/255

Fondo de Inversiones de Venezuela (FIV) (Venezuelan Investment Fund)
Esquina de Carmelitas, Torre Financiera del Banco de Venezuela Piso 20, 
Av. Urdaneta
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-829-811/819-324
     Fax:  58-2-634-689/561-4768
(Government entity in charge of privatization)

Instituto de Comercio Exterior (ICE)
(Foreign Trade Institute)
Avenida Libertador - Sector La Florida
Centro Comercial Los Cedros - Penthouse
Caracas 1050, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-762-3810/1118/3082
     Fax:  58-2-762-3885/716-061

Banco Central de Venezuela
Esq. de Carmelitas
Apartado Postal 2017, Caracas 1010-A, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-801-5111
     Fax:  58-2-861-0084/818-872

Oficina Central de Estadistica e Informatica (OCEI)
(Central Estatistics and Informatics Office)
Avenida Boyaca, Edificio Fundacion La Salle
Mariperez
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-782-1133
     Fax:  58-2-782-2243

Comision Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (CONATEL)
(National Telecommunications Commission)
Calle Veracruz con Cali,
Edif. MTC, Las Mercedes
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-926-611/926-333
     Fax:  58-2-927-780

Corporacion Venezolana de Turismo (CORPOTURISMO)
(Venezuelan Tourism Corporation)
Torre Oeste, Piso 37
Parque Central
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-574-1268/573-6408
     Fax:  58-2-573-8983

Oficina Central de Coordinacion y Planificacion de la Presidencia de la 
Republica (CORDIPLAN)
(Planning and Coordination Office of the Presidency)
Parque Central, Torre Oeste
Caracas 1010 - Venezuela
     Tel: 58-2-573-1819
     Fax: 58-2-573-6098

Oficina Tecnica de Administracion Cambiaria (OTAC)
(Exchange Control Office)
Avenida Ernesto Blohm
Torre Banaven (Cubo Negro), Torre B, Pisos 5 y 6
Chuao
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel: 58-2-993-4444
     Fax: 58-2-959-7707/959-6814

MAJOR STATE ENTERPRISES

Base Metals

Corporacion Venezolana de Guayana (CVG)
Guayana Development Corporation
Av. La Estancia, Edf. General de Seguros
Piso 2, Chuao
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-913-080/913-120
     Fax:  919-955/913-908

Procurement Office in U.S.:

7205 NW 19th Street, Miami, FL  33126
     Tel:  305-470-8100

Petroleum

Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA)
Edif. Petroleos de Venezuela
Torre Este, Av. Libertador
La Campina, Caracas, Venezuela
Apto. Postal 169
Caracas 1010-A
     Tel:  58-2-708-4111
     Fax:  58-2-708-4661/4662

Procurement Office in U.S.:

11490 Westheimer, Suite 1000, Houston, TX  77077
     Tel:  713-531-0004/588-6960



STOCK EXCHANGE

Bolsa de Valores de Caracas
Calle Sorocaima, Edif. Atrium, P.B.
El Rosal
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-905-5704/05
     Fax:  58-2-952-2640

Bolsa de Valores de Maracaibo
Calle 96 Esquina Ave. 5
Edif. Banco Central de Venezuela, Piso 9
Maracaibo 4001, Edo. Zulia, Venezuela
Tel:  58-61-226-833/977/966
Fax:  58-2-225-484


COMMERCIAL/PROMOTIONAL ASSOCIATIONS AND CHAMBERS

In Venezuela:

General

Camara Venezolano-Americana de Comercio e Industria (VENAMCHAM) 
(Venezuelan-American Chamber of Commerce)
Torre Credival - Piso 10 - Oficina A
Segunda Av. de Campo Alegre
Caracas 1060, Venezuela
Apartado Postal 5181 (Caracas 1010-A)
     Tel:  58-2-263-0833/267-2076
     Fax:  58-2-265-0764

Federacion Venezolana de Camaras y Asociaciones de Comercio y Produccion 
(FEDECAMARAS)
(Venezuelan Federation of Chambers and Associations)
Av. El Empalme
Edf. Fedecamaras - Penthouse
Urb. El Bosque
Caracas 1050, Venezuela
Apartado Correos 2568 (Caracas 1010-A)
     Tel:  58-2-731-1711/1713/1845
     Fax:  58-2-742-097

Consejo Venezolano de la Industria (CONINDUSTRIA)
(Venezuelan Industry Council)
Esq. Puente Anauco
Edf. Camara de Industriales
Mezzanina
La Candelaria
Caracas 1011, Venezuela
Apartado Postal 14255 (Caracas 1011, Venezuela)
     Tel:  58-2-573-0222
     Fax:  58-2-571-5491

Consejo Nacional de Promocion de Inversiones (CONAPRI)
(National Council for Investment Promotion)
Avenida Francisco de Miranda
Centro Empresarial Parque del Este, Piso 12
La Carlota
Caracas, Venezuela
Apartado Postal 60572 (Caracas 1060-A, Venezuela)
     Tel:  58-2-237-9380/237-9338
     Fax:  58-2-237-9883

Automotive

Camara de Fabricantes Venezolanos de Productos Automotores (FAVENPA)
Esquna Puente Anauco
Edf. Camara de Industriales, Piso 7, Oficina A
La Candelaria
Caracas 1011, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-571-3698/5091/4121
     Fax:  58-2-573-4221

Camara Nacional de Importadores y Distribuidores de Repuestos 
Automotores (CANIDRA)
Avenida Este 2, No. 215
Edif. Camara de Comercio de Caracas, Piso 8
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-571-0265/0122 575-3361/3068/3343
     Fax:  58-2-571-2824

Agriculture

Confederacion Nacional de Asociaciones de Productores
Agropecuarios
(FEDEAGRO) (National Confederation of Agricultural Producers) Edf. Casa 
de Italia, P.B.
Av. La Industria
San Bernardino
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-571-4035
     Fax:  58-2-573-4423

Banking

Asociacion Bancaria de Venezuela
(Venezuelan Banking Association)
Avenida Venezuela
Torre Asociacion Bancaria de Venezuela, Piso 1
El Rosal
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-951-4711
     Fax:  58-2-951-4927/951-2534



Chemicals

Asociacion de Fabricantes de Productos Quimicos (ASOQUIM)
Av. Francisco Solano Lopez
Centro Solano, Piso 1, Oficina 1-A
Chacaito
Caracas 1050, Venezuela
Apartado Postal 6632 (Caracas 1010-A)
     Tel:  58-2-762-5485
     Fax:  58-2-762-0597

Communications

Consejo Nacional de Informatica, Telecomunicaciones y Electronica 
(CONINTEL)
Avenida Francisco de Miranda
Edif. Centro Peru, Piso 4, Ofic. 43
Chacao
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-265-5226/8057
     Fax:  58-2-265-5226

Camara Nacional de Empresas de Telecomunicaciones y Afines (CANAEMTE)
Ave. Francisco de Miranda
Edif. Canaima, Piso 2, Ofic. 1
Chacaito
Caracas 1050, Venezuela
Apartado 62021, Caracas 1050-A, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-951-3505
     Fax:  58-2-952-8851

Computer Hardware and Software

Camara Venezolana de Empresas de Informatica (CAVEDATOS)
(Venezuelan Association of Hardware and Software)
Avenida Sucre
Centro Parque Boyaca, Torre Centro, Piso 19, Oficina 192
Los Dos Caminos
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-285-6520/5511
     Fax:  58-2-285-5511

Instituto Venezolano del Software (INVESOFT)
(Venezuelan Software Institute)
Av. La Estancia
Centro Banaven (Cubo Negro)
Torre A, Piso 1 Ofic. A-13-2
Chuao
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-91-70-93
     Fax:  58-2-91-15-81


Consultants

Camara Venezolana de Empresas Consultoras
Av. Libertador, Fte. a Clinica
Santiago de Leon, Edf. Majestic
Piso 3, Oficina 31
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-762-2658/2383
     Fax:  58-2-762-2383

Construction

Camara Venezolana de la Construccion
Calle Villaflor
Edf. Centro Profesional del Este, P.H.
Oficina 132/133, Sabana Grande
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-761-4011/4012; 762-7259
     Fax:  58-2-762-7258

Camara Venezolana de Industria de la Ventilacion, Aire
Acondicionado, Refrigeracion y Afines
Centro Parque Carabobo, Piso 22, Ofc. 2202
La Candelaria
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-577-3874
     Fax:  58-2-577-1627

Colegio de Arquitectos de Venezuela
Av. Colegio de Arquitectos
La Urbina Norte
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel/Fax:  58-2-241-3143

Colegio de Ingenieros de Venezuela
Boulevard Amador Bendayan
Los Caobos
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-571-3255/3122
     Fax:  58-2-574-4683

Department Stores/Supermarkets

Asociacion Venezolana de Tiendas por Departamento (ATIDE)
c/o SELEMAR
Edif. Selemar, Piso 1
Boulevard de Sabana Grande
Caracas 1050, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-715-147/283-5770/284-4782
     Fax:  58-2-762-9185 - 284-4782

Asociacion de Supermercados y Afines (ANSA)
Ave. Principal de los Ruices
Centro Empresarial Los Ruices
Piso 1, Ofic. 116
Caracas 1071, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-234-4490/235-7558
     Fax:  58-2-238-0308

Electricity

Camara Venezolana de la Industria Electrica (CAVEINEL)
Ave. Francisco de Miranda con Calle Elice
Torre Cemica, Piso 5
Chacao
Caracas 1060, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-264-0203/1192/1592
     Fax:  58-2-264-0266/0939

Food/Food Processing

Camara Venezolana de la Industria de Alimentos (CAVIDEA)
Av. Principal de Los Ruices
Centro Empresarial
Piso 5, Of. 510
Los Ruices
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-239-9818/0918
     Fax:  58-2-238-3268

Household/Electrical Applicances

Camara Venezolana de Fabricantes de Artefactos Domesticos, Industrialse, 
Electricos y Electronicos (CAFADAE)
Ave. Este 6
Puente Victoria a no Pastor
Edif. Centro Parque Carabobo
Torre A, Piso 3, Ofic. 309
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-575-2619/4878
     Fax:  58-2-576-2617

Hotels

Asociacion Nacional de Hoteles de Venezuela (ANAHOVEN)
Parque Central Edif. San Martin
Nivel Oficina 2, Ofc. 201
Caracas 1010 - Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-574-5672/3994/5494
     Fax:  58-2-574-4094


Medical

Asociacion Venezolana de Distribuidores de Equipos Medicos, 
Odontologicos, de Laboratorios y Afines (AVEDEM)
Av. Francisco de Miranda
Edif. Centro Seguros La Paz
Piso 4, Of. Norte 41-A
La California Norte
Caracas 1060, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-237-3986/237-4873
     Fax:  58-2-237-0517/237-2923

Metal Working and Mining

Asociacion de Industriales Metalurgicos y de Mineria de Venezuela (AIMM)
Edif. Camara de Industriales, Piso 9
Esq. Puente Anauco
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-571-4210
     Fax:  58-2-575-0186

Petroleum

Camara Petrolera
Centro Ejecutivo La Piramide
Piso 4, Ofic. 408
Prados del Este
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-979-2331/1631
     Fax:  58-2-979-9202

Plastics

AVIPLA (Venezuelan Association of Plastic Industries)
Av. Principal de Macaracuay, Edif. Multicentro Macaracuay
Piso 7, Ofic. 9
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-256-3345/1632
     Fax:  58-2-256-2867

Pulp/Paper

Asociacion Venezolana de Productores de Pulpa Papel y Carton (APROPACA)
Avenida Romulo Gallegos
Edif. Johnson & Johnson, Piso 2, Ofic. 2-B
Los Dos Caminos
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-234-3130 to 34
     Fax:  58-2-234-6542



Safety/Security

Camara Nacional de la Industria de Seguridad
Ave. Francisco de Miranda
Edif. Galerias Miranda, Piso 1, Ofic. 103
Chacao, Caracas 1060, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-261-1222
     Fax:  58-2-265-8963

MARKET RESEARCH FIRMS

Arthur D. Little de Venezuela, C.A.
Avenida Los Chaguaramos
Centro Gerencial Mohedano, Piso 12, Ofic. A y B
La Castellana
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  (58)(2) 261-8840/261-4472
     Fax:  (58)(2) 261-5249

Booz-Allen & Hamilton de Venezuela, S.A.
Avenida Francisco de Miranda
Edif. Parque Cristal, Piso 14, Torre Oeste
Urb. Los Palos Grandes
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-285-3522
     Fax:  58-2-285-5462

Dun & Bradstreet, C.A.
Ave. Principal Colinas de Bello Monte
Edif. Centro Cristobal, Pisos 8 y 9
Colinas de Bello Monte
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-752-9322/751-9935
     Fax:  58-2-751-5235

The Gallup Organization
Calle Santa Cruz
Quinta La Mora
Urb. Chuao
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-92-83-83

Ronai & Asociados, S.R.L.
Ave. Gloria con Ave. Golf
Residencias La Pradera
Urb. El Bosque
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-731-2408/731-3964
     Fax:  58-2-731-3954





MAJOR BANKS

Citibank
Carmelitas a Altagracia
Edif. Citibank
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-81-96-01

Banco Mercantil
Ave. Andres Bello, No. 1
Edif. Mercantil
Urb. San Bernardino
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-507-1111/507-2111

Banco Provincial
Ave. Vollmer, con Ave. Este 0
Centro Financiero Provincial
Urb. San Bernardino
Caracas, Venezuela
     Tel:  58-2-574-8522

U.S. EMBASSY TRADE PERSONNEL

U.S. Embassy Caracas
Avenida Francisco de Miranda and Avenida Principal de la Floresta 
Caracas, Venezuela

Edgar D. Fulton, Senior Commercial Officer

Mailing Address from U.S.:

American Embassy - Commercial
Unit 4958
APO AA 34037

     Tel:  58-2-285-3111/2222, ext. 360
     Fax:  58-2-285-2558

Larry Senger, Agricultural Counselor

Mailing Address from U.S.:

American Embassy - Agr
Unit 4940
APO AA 34037

     Tel:  58-2-285-3111/2222, ext. 418
     Fax:  58-2-285 0925





U.S. GOVERNMENT CONTACTS IN WASHINGTON

Thomas Welch
Desk Officer for Venezuela
Office of Latin America
U.S. Department of Commerce
Room 3025
14th Street & Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC  20230

     Tel:  202-482-4303
     Fax:  202-482-0464


F.  MARKET RESEARCH

A complete list of market research is available on the National Trade 
Data Bank.  

Recent Industry Sector Analyses produced by the Foreign
Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce:

ISA's for FY 1995:

WATER DESALINIZATION EQUIPMENT                     

HOME SECURITY EQ.             

HIGHWAY CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT                     

SPORTING GOODS                

MEDICAL DIAGNOSTIC EQUIPMENT        

AUTOMOTIVE PARTS AND ACCESSORIES                   

ENGINEERING CONSULTING SERVICES                      

FORESTRY MACHINERY            

MACHINE TOOLS                 

MULTIMEDIA COMPUTER EQUIPMENT AND SOFTWARE                   
FRANCHISING                   

PAINTS AND PIGMENTS           

PACKAGING EQUIPMENT                     

FINANCIAL SERVICES            

AGRICULTURAL MACHINERY        

For FY 96, the following ISA's are planned (additional titles will be 
added):

OILFIELD EQUIPMENT

RADIO BROADCASTING AND STUDIO EQUIPMENT

COURIER SERVICES

EMISSIONS CONTROL AND MONITORING EQUIPMENT

ELECTRIC POWER SYSTEMS

SEA AND RIVERPORT EQUIPMENT

WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT

CELLULAR TELEPHONE EQUIPMENT

The Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture 
produces the following Commodity reports annually: 
DAIRY                         November

WINE                          December

SEEDS                         January

OILSEEDS AND PRODUCTS         March

GRAIN AND FEED                March

SUGAR                         April

TOBACCO                       May

COFFEE                        May

POULTRY                       June

LIVESTOCK                     August


In addition, the VENEZUELAN AGRICULTURAL SITUATION REPORT is issued in 
September


G.  TRADE EVENT SCHEDULE

Because trade event schedules may change, firms should consult the 
Export Promotion Calendar on the National Trade Data Bank or contact the 
United States Commercial Service office in Caracas for the latest 
information.

     1.   Event Name:    VII Salon Internacional del Empaque
     2.   Date:          September 30-October 3, 1995
     3.   Location:      Hotel Caracas Hilton, Caracas
     4.   Product(s):    General packaging equipment and raw materials
     5.   Product Code:  PKG
     6.   Type:          Exhibition
     7.   Contact:       Prex Internacional, S.A.
     8.   Organizer:     Venezuelan Private Sector

     1.   Event Name:    Expogeomin '95
     2.   Date:          November 5-8, 1995
     3.   Location:      Caracas Hilton Hotel, Caracas
     4.   Product(s):    Mining Equipment
     5.   Product Code:  MIN
     6.   Type:          Trade Exhibition/Conference 
     7.   Contact:       CELP Exposiciones C.A.
     8.   Organizer:     Venezuelan Private Sector

     1.   Event Name:    Expo Medica '95
     2.   Date:          November 9-12, 1995
     3.   Location:      Poliedro de Caracas, Caracas
     4.   Product(s):    Medical, Laboratory and Hostital
                         Equipment
     5.   Product Code:  MED
     6.   Type:          Conference
     7.   Contact:       Celp Exposiciones, C.A.1
     8.   Organizer:     Venezuelan Private Sector

     1.   Event Name:    II Exposicion Internacional de las 
                         Telecomunicaciones y la Informatica      
     2.   Date:          February 20-23, 1996
     3.   Location:      Hotel del Lago, Maracaibo
     4.   Product(s):    Telecommunications equipment/services;
                         computers
     5.   Product Code:  TEL, TES, CPT, CSS
     6.   Type:          Exhibition
     7.   Contact:       Celp Exposiciones, C.A.
     8.   Organizer:     Venezuelan Private Sector

     1.   Event Name:    Petroequip '96
     2.   Date:          March 5-8, 1996
     3.   Location:      Hotel Caracas Hilton, Caracas
     4.   Product(s):    Petroleum and petrochemical equipment and 
                         services
     5.   Product Code:  OGM, CHM
     6.   Type:          Exhibition and Conference
     7.   Contact:       Prex Internacional, S.A.
     8.   Organizer:     Venezuelan Private Sector

     1.   Event Name:    Venezuela Comexpo '96
     2.   Date:          May 22-25, 1996
     3.   Location:      Poliedro de Caracas, Caracas
     4.   Product(s):    Telecommunications products and services
     5.   Product Code:  TEL, TES
     6.   Type:          Exhibition and conference
     7.   Contact:       Prex Internacional S.A.
     8.   Organizer:     Venezuelan Private Sector

     1.   Event Name:    X Exposicion Latinoamericana del
                         Petroleo
     2.   Date:          June, 1996
     3.   Location:      Hotel Del Lago Intercontinental,
                         Maracaibo
     4.   Product(s):    Petroleum equipment and services
     5.   Product Code:  OGM, PVC
     6.   Type:          Conference
     7.   Contact:       Celp Exposiciones, C.A.1
     8.   Organizer:     Venezuelan Private Sector

     1.   Event Name:    III Exposicion Internacional de la Industria de 
                         los Gases
     2.   Date:          September, 1996
     3.   Location:      Puerto la Cruz
     4.   Product(s):    Gas Machinery and services
     5.   Product Code:  OGM
     6.   Type:          Exhibition
     7.   Contact:       Celp Exposiciones, C.A.1
     8.   Organizer:     Venezuelan Private Sector/Military 
               CONTACT LIST

     -         CELP EXPOSICIONES, C.A.
               Avenida Andres Bello
               Centro Andres Bello, Torre Oeste, Piso 8, Ofic. 82 
                 Mariperez
               Caracas, Venezuela
               Phone:  58-2-782-2831/793-5133
               Fax:    58-2-782-6945
               Mailing Address:
               Apartado Postal 60669
               Caracas 1060-A, Venezuela
               International Mailing Address:
               A-CCS-A-0083
               P.O. Box 02-8537
               Miami, FL 33102-8537

     -         PREX INTERNACIONAL, S.A.
               Avenida Jose Felix Sosa
               Torre Britanica, Piso 4, Oficina 6
               Altamira Sur
               Caracas, Venezuela
               Phone:  58-2-263-4244/263-4362
               Fax:    58-2-261-0095/261-5889
               Mailing Address:
               Apartado Postal 68.550
               Caracas 1060-A, Venezuela
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