(Adds quotes from presidents, more details on deals signed,
By Deisy Buitrago
CARACAS, July 21 China will provide Venezuela
with a new $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, though officials later
said that amount was in fact $2 billion.
The government said this weekend 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 oil and products.
No other terms were given.
Under the leadership of late socialist President 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
President Maduro, who won election last year after Chavez
died from cancer, has continued that policy.
"It's a virtuous (financing) formula which does not create
onerous debts," Maduro said. "We've reached the point of no
return in a deep relationship with China."
PDVSA said Venezuela is now sending about 524,000 bpd to
China, a figure expected to rise to 1 million bpd by 2016.
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.
"The Chinese economy continues along solid development lines
and is in fine condition to keep growing," said Jinping, who was
flying on to Cuba later on Monday.
"China will be a cooperation partner for all countries of
the world like Venezuela."
Among 38 accords signed on Monday was also a memorandum of
understanding for China's EximBank to lend $1 billion to PDVSA,
an agreement for mineral exploration, the purchase of 1,500
Chinese buses and the creation of a new cement factory.
Venezuelan opposition politicians say much of China's loans
in the last 15 years have been wasted amid corruption,
inefficiency and lack of transparency in public funds.
"If we are the country with the world's biggest oil
reserves, why do we have to indebt ourselves with China?" asked
one opposition leader, Henrique Capriles, via Twitter, demanding
information and accountability on a series of China-funded
(Additional reporting by Andrew Cawthorne and Eyanir Chinea;
Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Peter Galloway and Lisa