Venezuela to create new foreign exchange system

March 18, 2013 • Business

Venezuela’s acting President Nicolas Maduro speaks at the opening of the Ninth International Book Fair of Venezuela (Filven) which pays tribute to late President Hugo Chavez at the Teresa Carreno theater in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, March 13, 2013. Maduro announced on March 5 that Chavez had died, after a nearly [auth] two-year bout with cancer. He was 58. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Acting President Nicolas Maduro says Venezuela will launch a “complementary” foreign exchange system to facilitate the supply of U.S. dollars to priority sectors of the economy.

Venezuela has maintained strict currency controls since 2003, leading to complaints from businesses about a dearth of dollars and creating a currency black market. Under the controls, people and businesses must apply to the government currency agency to receive dollars at the official rate to import goods, pay for travel or cover other obligations.

Maduro told state television Monday that the new system, which would complement the old system, would direct dollars to where “resources are more urgently needed.”

He said the government would offer more details on how the system will work on Tuesday, adding that it aimed to “topple the parallel dollar.”

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