Venezuela approached the World Trade Organization (WTO) with a complaint against the U.S. anti-Petro sanctions. The complaint claims that the U.S. are infringing on Venezuela’s rights under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) signed in 1994 and the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).
“The United States has imposed certain coercive trade-restrictive measures on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in the context of attempts to isolate Venezuela economically,” – the complaint reads.
It is stressed in the complaint that Venezuelan financial services and financial service suppliers receive “less favourable” treatment than those in other WTO countries.
The complainants see this as violation of Article II:1 of the GATS, which reads that “each Member shall accord immediately and unconditionally to services and service suppliers of any other Member treatment no less favourable than that it accords to like services and service suppliers of any other country.”
“Furthermore, inasmuch as digital currencies originating in the United States are not subject to the same prohibitions as Venezuelan digital currencies, the United States is according less favorable treatment to Venezuelan financial services and service suppliers than to like domestic financial services and service suppliers, in violation of Article XVII:1 of the GATS,” – the document further reads.
Article XVII:1 says member nations will not treat financial services and service suppliers of other nations less favorably than they treat such providers in their own nations.
As reported by Reuters, the U.S. has to respond to Venezuela’s complaint within 60 days. Should the nation fail to do so, Venezuela can then ask the WTO to decide on the complaint’s merits.
Meanwhile, Venezuelan currency has been experiencing catastrophic inflation.
“The year 2018 ended with inflation at almost 1.7 million percent. With this indicator, Venezuela is turning into one of the three countries in the world with the highest inflation rate in history,” – Rafael Guzman, who heads the finance commission of the National Assembly, wrote in his Twitter blog.
Back in August 2018, the country’s authorities carried out one of the most radical currency devaluations in history. The bolivar was stripped of 96% of its value, and the new “sovereign” bolivar is now tied to the national oil-backed Petro cryptocurrency. As for Petro itself, it was recognized as a “sovereign cryptoasset backed and issued by the Venezuelan state”. The issuance of coins is carried out by the country’s national bank. Petro coins are supposed to correlate in price with Venezuelan oil basket price, which is about $60 per barrel.