Venezuela Complains To WTO Against US Discrimination Of Petro

Venezuela filed a complaint against U.S. sanctions before the World Trade Organization, saying that the US Government restrictions on Americans from purchasing or dealing with any cryptocurrency issued by Venezuela is discriminatory.

The complaint, filed late last month, says, “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 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 says.

According to Caracas, a number of actions taken by the U.S. in recent years violates the Latin American country’s rights under the 1994 global trade pact, GATT.

In response to the Nicolas Maduro regime’s attempt to bypass US economic sanctions by launching a national cryptocurrency, Petro, the Trump administration imposed a fresh round of sanctions targeting Venezuelan government associates in March last year.

An executive order signed by President Donald Trump makes it illegal for US citizens and entities to engage in financial transactions involving Petro.

Washington alleges that President Maduro decimated the Venezuelan economy and spurred a humanitarian crisis.

Inflation in the socialist nation has spiraled, creating food shortages. The national currency bolivar lost its value.

It was in this context that the Maduro administration launched Petro to ease the country’s economic crisis, and circumvent U.S.-led sanctions.

In a currency reform introduced in August, the government replaced the old bolivar fuerte currency with the bolívar soberano, or sovereign bolivars. The highly devalued new currency has a fixed exchange rate to the petro. Each unit of the cryptocurrency will be equivalent to 3,600 bolívar soberanos.

Maduro allocated five billion barrels of oil to back Petro.

But the reforms have not helped Venezuela’s economy recover from the pressure of the sanctions, falling oil revenue and the plunging value of its fiat currency.

Having easily won the presidential election boycotted by the Opposition parties in May, the authoritarian Maduro has consolidated his power. He is set to be sworn in for a second term Thursday.

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