Venezuela employs a currency controls program, which provides subsidized dollars to companies to import low-cost goods for their citizens. There is a large need in Venezuela for food and other goods to be transported through ocean freight shipping. However, most importers do not want bolivares, the Venezuelan currency, and rather have US dollars.
It seems that many importers, both private and government-run companies, created schemes to augment the value of their cargo to Venezuela. In turn, they would use the currency controls program to exchange the US dollars for a higher profit of bolivares. And many of these importers would ship little to no actual goods at all. One study found that these fraudulent activities resulted in nearly $70 billion stolen over a ten-year period.
Meanwhile, this massive loss of dollars is creating an economic black hole in Venezuela. The foreign currency reserves are at low levels. Oil, the nation’s leading export, is also at a record low rate. All of these circumstances led to shortages of goods and barren shelves in stores in Venezuela. Meanwhile, hundreds of companies have been found to break the law and ship in goods with prices that were false. No punishments have been issued and there have been accusations of bribes.
Some of this money has been laundered to the US. If your company wants to ship containers to Venezuela, it is best to work with a great freight forwarder that can help you avoid the fraudulent activities in Venezuela. Hopefully, the importer schemes that plague this nation will soon end.