Maduro aims to build trade plan with China

Updated: 2013-09-24 02:33

By Pu Zhendong (China Daily)

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Describing China's participation in Latin American affairs as "vital", visiting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Monday called on China to build a shared agenda to secure development.

"China and Latin America are discussing the proposed China-CELAC Cooperation Forum, as the next summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States — in Havana, Cuba, in January — will make a decision on its establishment," Maduro told China Daily.

"I'm sure it will happen, and we will soon have summits at the presidential and ministerial levels where we will build a common plan for economic, technological and cultural exchanges," he said.

"I believe more benefits will be borne out of this new framework between China and Venezuela," he added.

The integration of Latin America was boosted in 2012 when CELAC was established in Caracas, the capital of Venezuela.

"There is a new interdependence in Latin America. It is a continent of hope, and President Xi Jinping agreed on that as well," Maduro said.

Starting his first trip to China as president on Saturday, Maduro met Xi and Premier Li Keqiang over the past two days.

"China and Venezuela need to map out bilateral cooperation for the next decade, particularly party-to-party exchanges and business interactions," Maduro said.

China and Venezuela established a strategic partnership for common development in 2001 under the administration of then-Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. The two countries will celebrate the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties next year.

Maduro said the establishment of the strategic alliance in 2001 is significant between China and Venezuela, and between Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean.

"The two regions both call for a world of cooperation and peace, of a multipolar and multicentric world," Maduro said.

Social network

Amid his intensive visit schedule, Maduro also took time to update his new, real-name Sina Weibo micro blog, which has attracted more than 48,000 followers within a week.

On Monday, he wrote: "For the benefits of our people, China and Venezuela will keep striving toward the goal of development and common prosperity in the 21st century."

"It was a way to communicate from Venezuela to the Chinese public, with Chinese youth, and to share experiences, to establish a direct dialogue, a direct connection to the exchange of ideas," Maduro said.

Boosting cooperation in economy and trade tops Maduro's agenda in China. His meetings on Sunday with Chinese heads of enterprises produced 12 cooperation agreements on energy, education, agriculture and construction.

"I met with 14 Chinese business leaders on Sunday. I intended to meet 40 if time had permitted," Maduro said.

Among these agreements, Venezuelan oil giant Petroleo de Venezuela SA reached a cooperation deal worth $1.4 billion with China Petrochemical Corp to develop Venezuela's Junin 1 oil field, which is expected to produce 200,000 barrels of crude oil a day.

"We have to gather more experience. I hope in 10 years, more outstanding Chinese enterprises will come to Venezuela to help our development, and our collaboration will produce more fruit," Maduro said.

"We are building the socialism of the 21st century, in which manufacturing stands as an important segment, and China has already made enormous progress on this aspect," Maduro said.

"Many Venezuelans are sent to China to learn from the advanced technology in economy to meet the demand for our development," he added.

Venezuela has the world's largest supply of proven oil reserves, which are expected to meet China's energy needs. Caracas exported 626,000 barrels of oil to China daily in the first four months of this year.

"The China-Venezuela economic cooperation is indispensable, organic and mutually beneficial," Maduro said.

Maduro was elected president of Venezuela in April. Widely seen as a torchbearer of Chavez's policies, Maduro said he is building up Venezuela with a "highly efficient revolution" and that he shared a "father-son-like affection" with Chavez.

"Venezuela will continue to follow Chavez's policy, which mostly includes establishing our own socialism, playing a bigger regional role in Latin America, pursuing international multipolarization and establishing a humanitarian society," he said.

Jordi Gay Rosas and Zhang Fan contributed to this story.