The climate of trade and investment in Venezuela remains a challenge for EU operators, particularly given the economic policies and controls put in place in recent years, such as currency and price controls, expropriation and other forms of state intervention in the economy. EU foreign investment has increased from 21.4 billion euros in 2013 to 12.9 billion euros in 2018. In the face of rising oil prices and Venezuelan oil exports, which account for the bulk of trade, bilateral trade between the United States and Venezuela has increased, with U.S. companies and the Venezuelan government benefiting.  Yet, since May 2006, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has banned the sale of defence goods and services to Venezuela due to a lack of cooperation in counter-terrorism efforts, in accordance with Section 40A of the Arms Export Control Act.  On 5 April 2019, the United States signed a protective power agreement with Switzerland to defend its interests in Venezuela , but the agreement is not yet in force since it has not been approved by Maduro`s government, because the United States has rejected Maduro`s proposal to have Turkey as a protective power, since the United States recognizes Guaida as interim president.   Meanwhile, the United States has established a Venezuela Affairs Unit at the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia, to serve as the interim diplomatic office for Venezuela.  Before the United States suspended its diplomatic operations in Venezuela, the United States was Venezuela`s largest trading partner. Bilateral merchandise trade between the two countries reached $3.2 billion in 2019. In 2019, U.S. merchandise exports to Venezuela totaled $1.2 billion.
U.S. imports from Venezuela totaled $1.9 billion. In the past, U.S. exports to Venezuela included refined oil and petroleum products, machinery, organic chemicals and agricultural products. Crude oil dominated U.S. imports from Venezuela, which was one of the top five suppliers of foreign oil to the United States. By early 2019, Venezuelan crude oil imports averaged 500,000 barrels per day, but U.S. sanctions reduced them to zero.
Previously, U.S. foreign direct investment in Venezuela focused primarily on the oil sector, but sanctions, combined with the poor trading environment, have significantly reduced these investments. EU trade with Venezuela is affected by Venezuela`s ongoing economic crisis. When American diplomat Herbert Wolcott Bowen returned to Venezuela in January 1904, he noted that Venezuela seemed more peaceful and secure. Castro would assure Bowen that the United States and Venezuela had a strong relationship.