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Venezuela and China Consolidate "Strategic Alliance," Expand Bilateral Trade
Posted: Sunday, December 27, 2009

By James Suggett
December 25, 2009 -

Venezuelan and Chinese government officials and business leaders met in Caracas this week to discuss bilateral relations. As a result of the accords signed at the meeting, Venezuela will increase its supply of oil to China to more than 600,000 barrels per day next year, and China will increase its investments in Venezuelan agriculture, infrastructure, mining, and energy production.

In a press conference, Venezuelan Planning and Development Minister Jorge Giordani called Venezuela's growing economic relationship with China "a consolidated strategic alliance based on the premise of equality and mutual respect that will be consolidated even more by two countries that have a shared vision of a multi-polar world."

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez vowed to supply China with "all the oil it needs for its development and advancement" and said Venezuela hopes to eventually supply a million barrels of oil per day to China. According to Telesur, Venezuela is currently China's fourth largest oil supplier.

In addition, China's Sinohydro Corporation and Venezuela's state electricity company CORPOELEC agreed to cooperate to increase Venezuela's hydroelectricity production. Venezuela has experienced rolling power outages over the past three months as a result of drastically increased demand and a drought that caused a drop in the water level at a principal dam.

The Chinese Development Bank Corporation also pledged a $1 billion credit for Venezuela's state-owned mining company, CVG, and Chinese state-owned and private companies agreed to invest in Venezuelan railways, fish and shrimp production.

Venezuelan Trade Minister Eduardo Saman said he expects an increase in Venezuela's imports of Chinese cars, electric appliances, pharmaceuticals, and other goods over the coming years, and that this will help to combat domestic price speculation.

In recent years, China and Venezuela have created mixed enterprises, in which Venezuela maintains a 60% controlling share, to explore for, extract, refine, and transport oil from Venezuela's Orinoco Oil Belt, as well as to explore for natural gas off the Venezuelan coast.

Last year, China built and launched Venezuela's first telecommunications satellite, and Venezuelan students are studying aerospace engineering in Chinese universities.

Since 2003, annual trade between the two countries has increased from less than a half a million dollars to approximately $5 billion in 2008. In addition to this, China and Venezuela have signed $5 billion worth of planned Orinoco oil accords, and created a $12 billion bilateral investment fund for future projects.

President Chavez said the unprecedented growth in bilateral relations between Venezuela and China has the goal of creating a "balance in the world, a pluri-polar world," in which there is no single dominant super power such as the United States. He said China "has demonstrated that it is not necessary to attack those who are weakest in order to be a great power."

Since Chavez's election in 1998, Venezuela has increased its economic relations with countries in almost every region of the world, including Africa, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Eastern and Western Europe, and Latin America.

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