Ways in which Barbados and Venezuela can build on established cultural and commercial ties came to the fore yesterday, when Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator The Hon. Maxine McClean, met with outgoing Venezuelan Ambassador, H.E.?? Juan Carlos Valdez Gonzalez.

During the talks, which were held at the Ministry’s Culloden Road headquarters, Minister McClean noted that there had been a strong tradition of trade between the two countries and Barbados was keen to explore the potential of increasing trading activity between the two states.

She also pointed out that she would like to see more "people to people" exchanges, while lauding the work being done by the Venezuelan Institute in teaching persons to speak Spanish.?? "One way to bridge the gap between the two countries is to speak the language," the Minister asserted.

Ambassador Gonzalez agreed with the view that cultural and trade ties should be strengthened between the countries, stating that this would have mutual benefits, as well as contribute towards closer integration in the Caribbean and Latin American region.?? He added that he enjoyed his tenure in Barbados and working with a number of agencies on common issues.

Barbados and Venezuela established diplomatic ties in 1969.?? The two countries have a number of bilateral agreements including Barbados/Venezuela Cultural Cooperation Agreement; Basic Agreement on Friendship and Cooperation; a Bilateral Investment Treaty; a Double Taxation Agreement; and a Bilateral Tourism Cooperation Agreement.

Barbados maintains an Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela. The current Ambassador-Designate is H.E.?? Sandra Phillips.?? kmoore@barbados.gov.bb

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