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Venezuela and Japan sign 12 accords worth $33.5 billion

The government of Venezuela announced that 12 cooperative accords in diverse strategic areas worth $33.5 billion were signed with Japan.

President Hugo Chávez made the statement during a press conference with the international media in Japan shortly before leaving for the People’s Republic of China, the last stop on his tour.

The President indicated that in the Orinoco Oil Belt project alone, Japan will invest $8 billion over the next five years.

In the ‘Gran Mariscal Sucre’ project, which involves the extraction and processing of natural gas, Japan’s investment will be worth $6 billion, “just for the production, that is to say what they call ‘above water’, on the Venezuelan coast,” said Chávez.

He also highlighted that Venezuela has among the most natural gas reserve in the world, and noted that they will be shared with not just with Japan, but also with other countries such as China, Cuba, Haiti, Bolivia, and the United States, among other countries.

“We all have the same rights in this world,” the President said.

Regarding liquefied natural gas, Chávez noted that there will be an investment of $10 billion over the next five years.

Japan will also invest $8 billion to help develop Venezuela’s petrochemical industry, as well as $1.5 billion in oil refineries.

“This will speed up projects that we have already started to build,” the President emphasized.

President Chávez indicated that these investments are a reflection of a new model of international relations, in which an economic power like Japan and a developing country like Venezuela can sit down to talk as equals.

“This is a sign of a new world . . . it represents a new dawn. . . . It is reflects independent countries defining their own foreign policies and not depending on any center of global power,” he explained.

The President also rejected the claim that his visit to Japan is a paradox, given that the country is an ally of the United States.  He responded to this suggestion by noting that Venezuela’s biggest investments are not in Cuba, Bolivia, Argentina, or Japan, but in “the United States.”

President Chávez then said that Venezuela has seven refineries in the U.S., as well as various oil terminals, ports and distribution systems, among which are “8 thousands gas stations.”

He continued by noting that Venezuela sells the U.S. 1.5 million barrels of oil per day, while Venezuelan imports from the U.S. are worth $46 billion a yaer.

The President explained that far from being paradoxical, “these relations may even contribute to equilibrium.”

Chávez indicated that Japan is ideal for diversifying Venezuela’s oil market, which counts on reserves of 316 billion barrels.

Agencia Bolivariana de Noticias, Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Press Office / April 7, 2009

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