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With the purpose of assessing the progress of the subscribed agreements and opening new possibilities of economic cooperation, the III High Level Meeting of the Mixed Commission between China and Venezuela will be held in Beijing next December.

The decision was taken by the Venezuelan minister of Foreign Affairs, Jesús Arnaldo Pérez, and the vice-minister for the State Commission for the Development and Reform of the People’s Republic of China, Wang Chungzheng. The Chinese official informed that a forwarding commission would travel to Caracas in order to discuss the agenda of the meeting, whose objective is to establish guidelines over the priorities of both nations concerning new projects and forms of cooperation.

China requested the initiation of discussions of the Promotion and Protection of Investments Agreement between both countries as well as an agreement on cooperation on legal issues.

On president Hugo Chávez’ first visit to China in 1999, the ministries of Foreign Affairs of both counties subscribed a pre-agreement memorandum in which they expressed their wish to subscribe this legal instrument. The issue of legal cooperation would be complemented with the promotion of agreements in the commercial and industrial sectors. The Chinese minister of Foreign Affairs, Li Zhoaxing indicated that “we are willing to sign the agreement on legal cooperation and extradition with Venezuela”

According to Chinese authorities, the holding of meetings in the last three years shows that the High Level Commission, is a positive scheme and they hope that the role played by this Commission in the coordination of agreements can be strengthened.

Minister Pérez said that among the issues to be addressed by the Mixed Commission are the possibility of China’s participation in the project of the multiple pipeline between Venezuela and Colombia, and the classification of Venezuela with the approved destination status (EDA), in order to improve tourism towards this country. In Latin America, only Cuba, Argentina, and now Mexico are classified under this status. Both governments ratified their position in favor of the construction of a multipolar world and the recovery of multilateralism as the only way to achieve peace and to overcome underdevelopment among the nations of the south.

Among the international cooperation and development agreements Pérez said that the war on poverty requires joint international action, and therefore requested China’s support in the conformation of the International Humanitarian Fund . He explained that for some time, there have been efforts in its creation as a means to channel resources to struggle against poverty. This idea has been exposed by the Venezuelan president in several international events.

He commented that the invitation is for China to join the International Humanitarian Fund in promoting the ways to achieve the Goals for the Millenium, which seek to reduce extreme poverty throughout the world down to 50% by the year 2015; a challenge for all developing countries.

On the environmental issue, Jesús Pérez, referred to Venezuela’s financial support of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought, and pointed out that his country would support the proposal that the OPEC contribute with 100 million U$ for the convention, and invited the Chinese authorities to join these efforts.

Chávez to visit China In January 2005.

Minister Pérez also announced that he and the Chinese Foreign Affairs minister, Li Zhaoxing had discussed president Chavez’ possible visit to China next January.

Advances in Cooperation between China and the Andean Community

Bilateral relations between China and the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) moved a step forward in their II Political Consultation and Cooperation Meeting held last Monday in Beijing, with the participation of the vice-ministers of foreign affairs of China, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. The first meeting had been held in Bogota in 2002.

Gonzalo Gutiérrez, sub-secretary of Economic Affairs of the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who is temporarily presiding the CAN, affirmed that there have been very positive advances in the joint programs and that there are new expectations.

He indicated that the economic relations between the CAF and China, have grown stronger with the exchange of business visits, despite the fact that the trade balance is still unfavorable for the Latin American countries. In this meeting, the CAN proposed that the parties address the issue of the sanitary standards to facilitate the access of Andean products to the Chinese, market.

Gutiérrez, pointed out the interest in China’s participation in the financing of infrastructure in the Andean countries, a measure that would facilitate transportation of goods from all over South America towards Asia. The Venezuelan minister of Foreign Affairs, Jesús Pérez, who participated in the conference, pointed out the importance of these discussions. He affirmed that his country supports China’s participation with Latin American countries in order to elaborate cooperation projects and to establish a strategic alliance between our continent and this nation.

The war on drugs and other crimes was also discussed in this event. Regarding this issue, there were proposals to control the illegal traffic of chemicals used in the elaboration of drugs(so-called “forerunners” of drugs), and of small firearms, for which the CAN proposed joint programs.

In the international context, both parties also agreed to establish a strategic alliance concerning textiles for the moment the quotas are eliminated in the context of the World Trade Organization. It is a matter of keeping up cooperation; not competition, said the Peruvian official.

In the political context, both parties agreed on the need for democratization of the U.N. Security Council. The Andean countries, ratified their interest in having a Latin American representative in the Council.

Although the Andean group deems this system of discussions positive, its members would like to hold more frequent and effective meetings in order to further their relations with China.

Published in Quantum No.31