CARACAS, Venezuela, May 25 (UPI) -- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro signed an agreement with the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago over trade and gas exploration.
Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago will initiate a joint effort to invest in gas projects across borders with the goal of selling products in the international market. The island nation will also provide Venezuela with manufactured goods through the establishment of a $50 million revolving fund set to increase trade between countries.
It is the first time the nations have joined efforts on gas exploration in their border reserves. At its closest, Trinidad and Tobago is about seven miles from Venezuela. More than 10 trillion cubic feet of gas is believed to be held in one of the main sites now shared by the countries.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro met with Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Keith Rowley in Port of Spain for bilateral talks, where the leaders also discussed increased collaboration in the fight against drug trafficking.
"We have created a joint venture that would be responsible to conduct all the investments required in order to tap those resources for that benefit of both countries," Maduro said while in the island country. "We have also decided to increase the trade flow between the two nations. We have already established the contacts and very soon, through a revolving fund with $50 million, we will be able to strengthen the flow of trade between Trinidad and the eastern part of Venezuela."
Rowley said the talks with Maduro were "very productive and very useful," adding that the agreements "would be beneficial to both the people of the South American country and their Caribbean community neighbor."
Venezuela has been struck by an economic crisis that has left people lacking basic goods such as food and medicine. The economic crisis has escalated a political crisis in which the main opposition coalition in Venezuela is seeking to oust Maduro through a recall referendum.