Venezuela Files WTO Complaint Against US Petro Sanctions

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Venezuela Files WTO Complaint Against US Petro Sanctions

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Recent US sanctions on Venezuela’s controversial cryptocurrency, Petro, have been contested by Venezuela in the World Trade Organization (WTO), according to a report by Reuters.

The complaint was filed last month and came to attention this week. It focuses on a number of decisions taken by the US authorities against Venezuela in recent years. The complaint states that US authorities are challenging Venezuela’s rights which are protected by the 1994 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). The document particularly focused on the US restrictions on the Petro.

The complaint says that certain “damaging” trade-restrictive measures have been taken by the US which may lead to the economic isolation of Venezuela.

Petro was announced by the Venezuelan government back in 2017. President Nicolas Maduro ordered the currency to be used in various diverse industries, since its launch in the second half of 2018.

Nevertheless, Venezuela’s cryptocurrency has faced criticism from the US, especially from President Donald Trump. Trump signed an executive order in March 2018 which particularly targets Petro. Along with Trump, many US lawmakers have also denounced the currency and passed bills to restrict its use.

The complaint claims that these measures mean that Venezuela will receive less favorable treatment as compared to the other WTO members. Therefore, these measures are violating Article II:1 of the GATS, which says that all member nations will be treated equally. The US restrictions are also in violation of the Article XVII:1 which also ensures equal treatment of all the member nations.

Reuters also reported that the US government has to respond to this complaint within the next 60 days. In case the US fails to do so, Venezuela has the right to ask WTO to take a decision.


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