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Chinese, Venezuelan local govts bolster economic, trade ties

Updated: Nov 12,2014 11:03 AM     Xinhua

CARACAS — China’s Shandong province and Venezuela’s northern state of Aragua on Nov 11 worked to boost economic and trade cooperation between the two sides.

Government and private-sector representatives from both countries gathered in the state capital of Maracay for the opening of a business and trade forum, the Expo Aragua Potencia Internacional.

“These measures seek to strengthen trade and promote the export of agricultural products from Aragua ... to Shandong province, through the contacts that will be made today,” Venezuela’s Minister of Industries Jose David Cabello said via Twitter.

Some 28 Chinese business leaders from Shandong were attending the event to explore trade opportunities with their counterparts in Aragua, Cabello said.

In a televised address to participants at the expo, Aragua Governor Tareck El Aissami said, “Today we can say that we are at the forefront of a new model of strategic cooperation between the two nations.”

Chinese companies have already been active in Aragua, helping to build more than 10,000 houses and reopen a thermoelectric plant.

Ji Xiangqi, deputy governor of Shandong, noted that ties between the coastal Chinese province and Venezuela began several years ago following a visit by late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.

He voiced confidence that the forum would lead to new partnerships between his province and the Venezuelan state, especially in the textile sector, saying, “Shandong is definitely a large market for Venezuela.”

China and Venezuela have substantially promoted economic cooperation since 1999, with two-way trade surpassing $20 billion in 2013.

During a July visit to Venezuela, President Xi Jinping and his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolas Maduro, agreed to upgrade bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership.