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Industry minister: Venezuela will never ink FTA with the US

El Universal, Caracas

Industry minister: Venezuela will never ink FTA with the US

25 April 2006

"We will never initial a Free Trade Agreement (with the United States,) as they put men in the background and focus on the North," Venezuelan Light Industries and Commerce minister María Cristina Iglesias said Tuesday.

She stressed in an interview with state TV channel VTV that Hugo Chávez Government has a goal to boost endogenous development in Venezuela with a humanist view.

Iglesias added this is a sovereign decision of the Venezuelan Government and a mandate of the Constitution, official news agency ABN reported.

"We do respect the decision of the governments that initialed FTAs. They have a right to orientate their economies the way they deem most beneficial. This is a matter of sovereignty."

She insisted that Venezuela, the country with the largest oil reserves in the world, is using its enviable strategic position to foster integration in South America.

"South America is a geopolitical concept that goes beyond Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. For us, it also includes the Caribbean. All our neighbors are included in this concept."