Venezuela’s President Maduro has said the nation will sidestep the U.S. dollar and phase in use of its controversial petro token for oil sales starting next year.
According to a report from state-run media network TeleSUR on Thursday, Venezuela’s President Maduro said that the move is aimed at minimizing the dollar’s dominance in the industry and diversifying the global market.
Maduro was quoted as saying to the press:
“In 2019, we have a schedule for [oil] to be sold in petros and in this way continue to free us from a currency that the elite of Washington uses.”
The president reportedly has a six-year financial plan to use the token to avert the crippling impact of U.S.-led sanctions on Venezuela’s economy. The announcement of the plan – which involves setting up trading in the petro with a range of currencies – comes after a meeting earlier this week with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
Maduro added that Russia is already trading oil and other products in Chinese yuan and that Venezuela would follow its example, “progressively” moving to sell all its oil products in petros.
Last month, Manuel Quevedo, Venezuela‘s minister of petroleum and the president of state-owned oil company PDVSA, announced that the country will present the petro to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 2019, as the “main digital currency backed by oil.”
The token was launched in pre-sale in February and Maduro has moved to integrate it into the fabric of the country’s economy. Yet, even before launch, the country’s opposition-controlled congress called the petro illegal borrowing against the nation’s reserves of oil.
Venezuela started selling petro to citizens in October via a government portal, saying the token must be used by those seeking to obtain passports. Venezueal’s new national currency, the sovereign bolivar, was also pegged to the petro in July.