Venezuela’s Chavez to Travel to Brazil for Mercosur Meeting

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said today that he will travel to Brasilia on Dec. 7 for a meeting of the Mercosur trade bloc.

A delegation from Brazil’s BNDES development bank will visit Caracas on Nov. 12 and 13, Chavez said on state television with Brazil’s foreign minister, Antonio Patriota.

“The foreign ministers from Brazil and Venezuela meet every two months to make sure the entry to Mercosur is smooth,” said Patriota.

Chavez traveled to Brasilia on July 31 for a ceremony that welcomed Venezuela as a full member of the world’s third-biggest free-trade area. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff may visit Venezuela in January to attend an event to mark the start of Chavez’s third six-year term after winning re-election on Oct. 7, Patriota said.

Venezuela’s gross domestic product grew more than 5 percent in the third quarter this year, Chavez said, adding that inflation in the South American country continues to slow with consumer prices rising less in October than the same month a year earlier.

The country has a low debt-to-GDP ratio of 25 percent and is able to take on more external and internal debt, said Chavez. Venezuela’s government hasn’t sold any dollar-denominated bonds this year after selling $7.2 billion last year.

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