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Venezuela files complaint with WTO to fight U.S. sanctions against its cryptocurrency ‘Petro’

Jan 11, 2019 10:10 am UTC

In a bid to challenge the sanctions imposed by the United States, Venezuela has approached the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

In its WTO complaint filed on December 28, Venezuela has addressed a number of actions taken by the U.S. government in the past couple of years, CoinDesk reported.

Venezuela said that the U.S. has imposed “certain coercive trade-restrictive measures on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela” in its efforts to “isolate Venezuela economically.” Among other things, it underlines the restrictions imposed on its digital currency.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro first revealed the plans to launch an oil-backed cryptocurrency, dubbed “Petro” back in 2017. The controversial token was launched last year and is being aggressively pushed into use across sectors in the country.

U.S. lawmakers have not only denounced the petro, but President Donald Trump also signed an executive order in March 2018 that imposed new sanctions on the crypto token.

In retaliation, Venezuela said that these are “discriminatory coercive trade-restrictive measures” in its WTO complaint. It emphasized:

“Furthermore, inasmuch as digital currencies originating in the United States are not subject to the same prohibitions as Venezuelan digital currencies, the United States is according less favorable treatment to Venezuelan financial services and service suppliers than to like domestic financial services and service suppliers, in violation of Article XVII:1 of the GATS.”

The U.S. has 60 days to respond to the complaint and if it fails to do so within the stipulated time, Venezuela could ask the WTO to adjudicate, Reuters reported.

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