- Which industry sectors offer the best opportunities?
- I am an American company interested in exporting to or importing from Venezuela. Can the Embassy provide me with a list of local exporters or importers?
- Where can I find a list of business publications to promote my products?
- How do I establish a company in Venezuela?
- How do I contact the Embassy regarding a commercial inquiry?
- Do any import restrictions apply to my product?
- Will current sanctions on Venezuela prevent my company from doing business?
Commercial Disputes and Legal Resources
The Country Commercial Guide (PDF 612KB) for Venezuela lists the leading sectors for U.S. exports and investment in Venezuela. Read Chapter 1 of the CCG for a brief synopsis of the information contained in this comprehensive report.
Unfortunately, the Embassy does not maintain a list of local exporters and importers. Regrettably the Department of Commerce’s Foreign Commercial Service (FCS) office formerly based in U.S. Embassy Caracas closed at the beginning of 2012. In U.S. embassies abroad, FCS offices generally work to promote U.S. exports overseas and to attract foreign direct investment into the United States. Without our FCS office, the Embassy regretfully is not staffed or equipped at this time to promote specific business opportunities or to provide Commercial Service-branded services (e.g., Gold Key Services) at this time.
You may wish to contact your local U.S. Export Assistance Center for advice and support on exporting.
Advertising in local trade publications is an excellent way to gain market exposure for your product or service in Venezuela. You will find a brief list of the leading Venezuelan newspapers and business magazines in Chapter 3 of the Country Commercial Guide (PDF 612KB) for Venezuela.
Foreign and domestic investors have free and equal rights to establish and own businesses in Venezuela, or to acquire and dispose of interest in businesses without discrimination. An individual must be appointed as the company's legal representative, but assignment of capital to a branch office is not necessary.
You will find further information about establishing a company in Venezuela in Chapter 3 of the Country Commercial Guide (PDF 612KB).
Please direct all commercial inquiries to:
U.S. Embassy Caracas
Phone: +58 (212) 907-8402
Fax: +58 (212) 907-8033
Please use "U.S. Business Commercial Inquiry" as the email subject and provide the following information:
1. Organization Name
2. Does your organization operate in the United States?
3. Are your organization's headquarters in the United States?
4. Does your organization currently have operations or have a representative in Venezuela?
5. Point of Contact (POC) Name
6. POC Position
7. POC Office Phone
8. POC E-mail
9. Please briefly describe your company, the products or services you offer, and the clients/customers you service.
The Venezuelan government has maintained a strict regime of currency exchange controls since 2003. U.S. Embassy Caracas routinely receives inquiries from U.S. exporters experiencing delayed payment or non-payment by Venezuelan importers, as well as from U.S. firms with operations in Venezuela struggling to convert their local currency (bolivar) earnings into U.S. dollars to repatriate dividends to their U.S. home offices.
Please see the latest guidance on currency controls and risk for U.S. firms here (PDF 308KB).
Please review the Country Specific Information for Venezuela located at the following website here.
Please also visit our Overseas Security Advisor Council page for the latest in safety and security-related information.
If you plan to visit Venezuela, please register at Travel.State.Gov with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, in order to allow the Embassy’s American Citizens Service (ACS) Unit to better help and serve you, especially in the event of an emergency or disaster. Please see the Embassy’s page on emergency contact information here.
You will find a summary of the most important Venezuelan import regulations and import restrictions in Chapter 5 of the Country Commercial Guide (PDF 612KB) for Venezuela.
The United States has enacted various sanctions relating to Venezuela pursuant to section 38 of the Arms Export Control Act and as a result of its designation as a country not fully cooperating with anti-terrorism efforts.
It is the policy of the United States to deny licenses and other approvals for the export and import of defense articles and defense services destined for, or originating in, Venezuela. In 2006, the Department of State revoked all licenses and approvals authorizing the export of or other transfers of defense articles or services to Venezuela. The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) does not provide for the exemptions from licensing, with the exception of items in ITAR Section 123.17 for use in connection with certain temporary exports of firearms and ammunition for personal use.
The State Department enforces export licensing regulations on sales of defense-related articles to Venezuela.
You can find information regarding those regulations at the following websites:
In May 2011, the State Department imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s national oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), for delivering at least two cargoes of reformate, a blending component for gasoline, to Iran between December 2010 and March 2011. The sanctions prohibit PDVSA from competing for U.S. government procurement contracts, from securing financing from the Export-Import Bank of the United States, and from obtaining U.S. export licenses. They do not, however, apply to PDVSA subsidiaries nor prohibit the export of crude oil to the United States.
The sanctions generally preclude the Export-Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation from financing or underwriting projects in Venezuela. However, in 2013 President Obama issued a vital national interest waiver to authorize these entities to finance programs critical to U.S. foreign policy interests.
The United States Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has also imposed sanctions on various designated Venezuelan businesses and individuals. You can find information regarding Venezuela-related OFAC designations at the following website:
U.S. citizens and residents considering trade with Venezuela may wish to seek the advice of experienced legal counsel, given the range of economic sanctions potentially affecting such transactions. See the section on Commercial Disputes and Legal Resources below.
Commercial Disputes and Legal Resources
Regretfully the Embassy is not in a position to intervene in commercial disputes between U.S. and Venezuelan companies. U.S. firms having a commercial dispute with a Venezuelan company may wish to consult Venezuelan legal counsel.
The Embassy Caracas economic section provides the U.S. business community a reference list of local attorneys in Venezuela. Please see the list here (PDF 202KB). Inclusion on the list is not an endorsement by the U.S. Department of State or the embassy. The names are listed alphabetically, with information on areas of expertise and language ability. The list is compiled from information provided by the lawyers themselves and from publicly-available information.