Venezuela Claims U.S. Discriminating Against Petro Cryptocurrency

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Venezuela has filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO), alleging that the United States is guilty of “discriminatory” measures against the Petro cryptocurrency.


The ongoing dispute between Venezuela and the United States has taken another turn. However, this latest instance deals with the cryptocurrency sphere – namely, the Petro. The Venezuelan government has filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) that accuses the U.S. of a host of coercive issues, with one such issue being the U.S. is guilty of “discriminatory” measures against the country’s state-issued Petro cryptocurrency.

Venezuela Not Happy with the United States

Venezuela filed a request with the WTO on December 28th titled “United States – Measures Relating to Trade in Goods and Services” that listed five offenses that the U.S. has allegedly committed against the South American country. At the core of the complaint are the ongoing trade sanctions being levied by the United States.

Venezuela

However, one issue in the document is that the U.S. has implemented “[d]iscriminatory coercive trade-restrictive measures with respect to transactions in Venezuelan digital currency.” Basically, the complaint alleges that the U.S. is treating Venezuelan financial services and suppliers with much harsher measures than other member countries of the WTO:

[…]inasmuch 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 favourable 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 GATS.

Venezuela is requesting that consultations with the U.S. government occur and that the “discriminatory” measures be amended.

Will the Complaint Be Heeded?

The chances of the United States easing up on sanctions against Venezuela are extremely slim. The U.S. feels that the administration of President Nicolás Maduro is not legitimate.

Just yesterday, the U.S. embassy in Trinidad and Tobago issued a release criticizing Maduro. The release says that the 2018 election of Maduro was fraudulent and that the U.S. considers the Venezuelan National Assembly to be the only legitimate branch of government.

Nicolás Maduro

The press release adds:

By rigging the system in their favour, these individuals and entities stole more than $2.4 billion as the Venezuelan people starved. We applaud the initiative by the new National Assembly leadership to work with the international community to recover these and other stolen funds and to use them to relieve the suffering of Venezuela’s people. The United States will continue to play an active role towards this end.

As of now, Maduro is still pushing the Petro to be an active means of exchange within the country. The oil-backed crypto was created as a way to circumvent U.S. trade sanctions, and the government of Venezuela is forcing its citizens to accept the crypto. Just last month, it forcibly converted pension payments into the Petro cryptocurrency rather than fiat, whether senior citizens wanted the change or not.

Do you think that Venezuela will make any headway with their WTO complaint? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Pixabay, Pxhere, and Wikimedia Commons.

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