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RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - Venezuela’s government is encouraging private firms to sign import and export deals with companies in Asia and the Middle East as part of an effort to limit the impact of U.S. sanctions, according to four sources with knowledge of the matter.

The plan expands on President Nicolas Maduro’s existing commercial relationships with allies such as Turkey and Iran, which have already been providing the cash-strapped government with food and fuel in exchange for gold.

Vice President and Finance Minister Delcy Rodriguez has been developing the strategy for over a year, according to . . .

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