Chavez pushes trade

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Friday he hopes trade with Colombia will increase after an agreement to end the border crisis was reached at a summit here.

Trade between Colombia and Venezuela is estimated at $6 billion a year. Chavez had before Friday’s summit meeting that Venezuela would replace critical Colombian food supplies with products from other countries, and that “we can’t depend on them, not even for a grain of rice.”

But after Friday’s agreement appeared to resolve the crisis, Chavez said: “We need trade to keep increasing between us.”