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Venezuela Chavez In Talks With China Over Factory

2011-3-16 10:08:06

CARACAS -(Dow Jones)- Venezuela will build a new agricultural machinery factory in conjunction with China, President Hugo Chavez said Sunday, underscoring the latest step in the growing relations between the two countries.

Speaking during his weekly television show "Hello! President," Chavez said Venezuela will begin by importing machinery, since China is providing credits to purchase the goods, but he added "I have asked them to build a machine factory here and they are willing." The socialist leader said he will be meeting the head of a Chinese state company next week to discuss the facility, which is scheduled to be built in the oil-rich, northern state of Zulia.

Earlier this year, the Venezuelan government launched a program called Mision AgroVenezuela, aimed at boosting food production by providing participants with basic machinery and farming equipment. Chavez has turned to resource-hungry China for assistance on everything from financing to housing and machinery for the country¡¯s large-scale social programs. Last year, Venezuela received a $20 billion credit line from the China Development Bank for housing, which it is partially paying back with oil shipments.

Also Sunday, Chavez said he plans to meet the head of a Chinese rail company to construct railroads in the South American nation. He said the project will be vital as Venezuela looks to turn around its struggling economy.

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