Venezuela says China offers $20 billion in financing

CARACAS Sat Apr 17, 2010 10:32pm EDT

China's President Hu Jintao (R) gestures to his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez to review an honour guard during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing September 24, 2008. REUTERS/Alfred Cheng Jin

China's President Hu Jintao (R) gestures to his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez to review an honour guard during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing September 24, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Alfred Cheng Jin

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Saturday that China was providing his nation with a long-term, $20 billion financing plan for major projects in the South American oil-exporter.

"China is going to give financing to Venezuela, to the Venezuelan people, to the Bolivarian Revolution ... over the long-term and in large volume of some $20 billion," Chavez said at a signing ceremony in Caracas.

The Venezuelan leader said the deal was on top of an existing $12 billion Chinese-Venezuelan investment fund in which Beijing deposits money in return for forward sales of oil.

He did not specify what areas the financing were for but China is increasingly involved in Venezuela's oil, electricity, food, construction and technology sectors.

Chavez had been due to host President Hu Jintao this weekend but the Chinese leader cut short his Latin American visit due to an earthquake at home.

As well as signing the financing agreement, Chavez and Chinese officials penned another six accords covering electricity and oil projects, including ratification of a joint venture to develop a block in the Orinoco crude belt.

The Junin 4 block is expected to require about $16 billion investment over three years and eventually produce more than 400,000 barrels per day.

(Reporting by Eyanir Chinea; Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Bill Trott)

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