Colombia to launch "emergency" plan to boost border economy

17:29, July 27, 2010      

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Colombia said Monday it will launch an "emergency" plan to counteract the adverse effects on trade and employment along its border with Venezuela after the two nations broke off diplomatic ties.

Finance Minister Oscar Ivan Zuluaga said the measures include the exemption of the Added Value Tax (VAT) on products sold in border areas with Venezuela and creation of trade zones in these areas to boost investment.

"We are looking for a legal way to give a benefit (exemption) from the VAT for all sales in the border area," said Zuluaga in an interview with the local radio station "La FM."

The government is also evaluating the possibility of setting up trade zones where tax privileges will be granted, Zuluaga said.

Two business conferences have been scheduled to stimulate trade, according to Colombian Trade Minister Luis Guillermo Plata.

The first meeting will be held on Aug. 5-6 in the northeastern city of Cucuta and the second one on Aug. 23-24.

The meeting in early August "will be a massive event," as buyers from various regions of the country will travel to Cucuta to purchase goods in the border areas, Plata said.

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