Venezuela, Belarus expanding trade-economic cooperation

CARACAS, December 24 (Itar-Tass) - Trade-economic relations of Venezuela with Belarus have "acquired strategic importance in various spheres of bilateral cooperation," Venezuelan Vice President Ramon Carrizales said at an extraordinary meeting of the Venezuela-Belarus high-level intergovernmental commission that opened here on Wednesday.

Carrizales noted that the two countries are further developing mutually beneficial cooperation in the energy, industry, agro-industry housing construction, science and technology and in the military-technical sphere. He pointed to the joint projects for the construction in Venezuela of "plants for the production of Belarusian tractors and trucks with the transfer of modern technologies" to the Venezuelan side, as well as joint oil recovery in the Orinoco River basin. Venezuelan Energy and Petroleum Minister Rafael Ramirez said that the Venezuelan-Belarusian JV will invest 8 billion US dollars within 25 years in the development of the Junin-1 block where it is planned to produce 200 thousand barrels of oil a day.

Co-chairman of the Belarusian part of the intergovernmental commission, Belarusian president's special aide Viktor Sheiman said that "cooperation of the two countries at the top level serves a reliable basis for the development of relations in all spheres." He noted that Belarus and Venezuela "have approached the fulfilment of major projects and contracts" in the oil and natural gas sphere, machine building, civil construction, food supplies, agriculture and other spheres.

In 2008 the trade between Belarus and Venezuela increased by 298% from 2007 and totalled $173,3 million. The growth was due to an increase in export. Belarusian export surged by more than 305% to $173.1 million. The import amounted to $147,000 (down six times). Belarus had a surplus of more than $172 million, the Belarusian Belta news agency reported earlier. In January-April 2009, Belarusian export to Venezuela doubled over the same period 2008. Import was virtually non-existent.

In 2007 the Belorusneft Production Association opened its office in Venezuela. Belarus and Venezuela created a joint oil production companies, Petrolera BeloVenezolana and the Sismica BeloVenesolana joint seismological venture. Belgorkhimprom has opened its representative office in Venezuela. Furthermore, in Venezuela there are joint ventures set up jointly with BelAZ (Ven-BelAZ Camiones C.A.), BelavtoMAZ (MAZ Ven C.A.) and MTZ (VeneMinsk Tractores C.A).

Belarus and Venezuela have been steadily developing cooperation in construction. In particular, the two sides have opened a joint venture to produce construction materials and a company for the implementation of the infrastructure and dwelling project in the Macarrao region in Caracas. The Belzarubezhstroi company has opened its representative office in Caracas.


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