Venezuela's government expects to substitute imports for hot-briquetted iron producers Comsigua and Briquetera de Venezuela (BriqVen), the minister of basic industries, Juan Arias, said Thursday.
Other basis industry companies, including aluminum producers, also were cited in the statement as part of the measure to reduce imports.
Arias met with representatives of several companies to discuss the issue over the past week. The goal is to import fewer raw materials used in the making of HBI and other products, as well as parts and inputs for general operations.
Venezuela's imports were limited because of the unfavorable currency exchange rate and further restrictions to access the US dollar. Low international oil prices are the main reason Venezuela has been unable to import a large amount of raw materials for its basic industries, Arias has said, with the steel industry severely affected by its reliance on such imports.
Venezuela's main export product is oil and since the last quarter of 2014, its oil export prices dropped to well below $100/b, reaching a low of around $30/b in early 2016.
Sidor, Venezuela's largest steelmaker, has been offline since the last days of June, stopped on a lack of electrodes and remains offline awaiting imports of such product.
In the other hand, Arias said during July that the country expected to double its basic industry exports by value in 2017 -- which include iron ore, hot-briquetted iron, steel, aluminum and other metals -- are expected to reach $1 billion in 2017.
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