MONTEVIDEO – Uruguayan dairy producers have asked for a meeting with President Tabare Vazquez to request that the government work to find a solution to the dispute with Venezuela, which has not paid for dairy imports under the bilateral trade agreement, industry representatives told EFE.
Dairy producers decided to approach the government after several meetings between representatives of the industry, which is experiencing a crisis due to the drop in milk prices on the international market and rising costs, National Milk Producers Association, or ANPL, president Rodolfo Braga told EFE.
The situation has worsened because Venezuela has not paid for foods it imported from Uruguay under the trade agreement, which was signed in September 2015, Braga said.
The agreement called for Caracas to cancel Uruguay’s debt to Venezuelan state-owned oil giant PDVSA for energy products in exchange for 235,000 tons of food products worth $300 million.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Uruguayan dairy industry was to export 44,000 tons of powdered milk and 12,000 tons of cheese to Venezuela, but the targets have not been met because shipments stopped in November due to lack of payment for products already exported.
Uruguayan Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa said last week that “few advances have been made” in getting Venezuela to pay four dairy companies that supplied products under the agreement.
“Venezuela is a nation with a tremendous number of difficulties, the Uruguayan government acted in good faith and paid what it owed, but Venezuela has not paid what it owed us,” the foreign minister said.