CARACAS, July 21 China will provide Venezuela
with a $4 billion credit line under an agreement signed on
Monday, with the money to be repaid by oil shipments from OPEC
The deal was inked during a 24-hour visit to Venezuela by
Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is on a tour of Latin America.
The money will go into the Joint Chinese-Venezuela Fund,
which focuses on infrastructure and economic development in the
South American country.
President Nicolas Maduro said the Venezuelan government
would also put $1 billion into the fund.
The government said on Sunday the fund has about $40 billion
in it, though it was not clear if that included the amounts
covered by Monday's agreement.
Officials said the credit would be repaid by shipments of
about 100,000 barrels per day of crude and products.
No other terms were given.
Under the leadership of late socialist leader Hugo Chavez,
Venezuela vastly expanded its use of loan-for-oil agreements
with China, which helped ease stretched state finances while
also improving the cash flow of state oil company PDVSA.
Chavez's successor, Nicolas Maduro, who won election last
year after Chavez died from cancer, has continued that policy.
A statement from PDVSA said Venezuela is now sending about
524,000 bpd to China, a figure expected to rise to 1 million bpd
Bilateral trade between Venezuela and China has soared to
$19.2 billion annually, compared with just $183 million in 1998,
the year Chavez came to power, officials said.
Chinese entities participate in transport, housing,
education, electricity, communication and vehicle-assembly
projects in Venezuela.
(Reporting by Andrew Cawthorne, Eyanir Chinea and Deisy
Buitrago; Editing by Peter Galloway)