Venezuela and China Chart the Road to Strategic Collaboration

Venezuela and China are charting the road to the future, seeking new strategic alliances in areas such as food security, infrastructure and machine construction. In building closer relations, the two governments began 2011 with intense joint work by their respective delegations.

By Edilberto Mend - Correo del Orinoco International

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A logo created to represent the growing ties between Venezuela and China (VTV).
A logo created to represent the growing ties between Venezuela and China (VTV).
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In that respect, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said their work was facilitated the by the presence in Venezuela of major Chinese companies that are willing to collaborate with his government on national development.

The various projects taking shape include agricultural equipment production, food production and railroad and housing construction.

Likewise, they are negotiating new credits for Venezuela’s national housing program to solve a serious housing shortage, helping to meet the Chavez government’s plan to build 2 million homes in the next six years, 150,000 of them in 2011.

Recently, top executives of the Chinese company Citic Group accompanied President Chavez on a visit to Barinas where 5,360 homes are being built.

The  first apartments at that site should be ready by September, and the rest in March 2012, Chavez explained. He noted that Citic Group would also build about 20,000 homes in the Fuerte Tiuna district of Caracas, where Venezuela has joint housing construction projects with Belarus and Russia.

The President said that in the coming months, modern equipment would be delivered from China for housing construction in Venezuela.

“We are drafting a list to import machinery as soon as possible, in the form of credit and technology transfer; equipment for supporting Mission Venezuela (the housing program)”, Chavez announced.

The Venezuelan leader also met with executives from the Chinese company XCMG, one of the largest construction equipment companies in the world, which produces cranes, excavators, concrete mixers, trucks and compacters.

Important agreements exist between the two nations in other sectors, such as accords between the state oil company PDVSA and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China for the financing of projects and  financial services in Venezuela.

Citic Group and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China agreed on another variant, forming a joint venture to develop oil, mining, finances and construction materials in Venezuela.

During the talks underway, the issue of sending oil to China emerged.

In that respect, Chavez recalled that Venezuela has the largest reserves of crude in the world, and is currently sending China 400,000 barrels daily. In the coming years, the hope is to raise that  figure to one million. China will open up oil and mining operations in South America, which also has one of the largest gold reserves, among other minerals.

According to Venezuelan authorities, the recent accords with the Chinese are a continuation of existing solid economic integration between both nations and a boost to strategic and geopolitical relations.