Chinese and Venezuelan delegations gathered in Caracas on Monday for the fifth annual secretarial meeting of the Mixed China-Venezuela High Commission. They will meet for three days with the objective of setting the agenda for the main commission meeting set to take place before the end of the year.
"This is to strengthen the productive capacity with China as part of the Bolivarian Economic Agenda," said the President of the Venezuelan delegation and Venezuelan Vice President for Planning Ricardo Menendez.
Offering details of the closed meeting to the press, Menendez revealed that 672 projects currently are being carried out in Venezuelan with Chinese investment, 131 of them recently undertaken. China and Venezuela have already jointly completed 338 projects.
Menendez revealed that this year´s commission meeting will focus heavily on Chinese investment in improving distributing processes in Venezuela and thereby improve supply.
Just this May, Venezuela received 96 tons of medicine from China as part of the country's drive to invest in the pharmaceutical sector. The medicines were acquired through a cooperation agreement between the two countries and included key treatments for patients suffering from the mosquito-borne Zika virus.
The Mixed China-Venezuela High Commission is considered the most important body for strengthening China-Venezuela relations, which have been invigorated under Venezuelan presidents Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro. China is now Venezuela´s second-largest trading partner. In June, both countries celebrated 42 years of formal relations.
China has also offered loans to Venezuela free from the restrictions previously applied to major loans given by institutions like the International Monetary Fund. IMF loans generally came with austerity requirements.
Menendez assured that those strong relations would continue, promising long-term economic cooperation.
"We are creating a 10-year plan, so that speaks to the confidence from both sides and the strength of this relationship," he said. "Between China and Venezuela, we have a broad, long-term plan, a vision through 2025 and 2039."
Through Wednesday delegations from both countries will establish agendas in five separate areas, which include cooperation in areas of finance, oil, mining, electric, and productive projects.
The Mixed Venezuela-China High Commission was created in 2001. Since then 480 agreements have been signed.