The president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, went on an official visit to China this weekend, in an agenda that should last until this Thursday (14). This Sunday (10), the president visited the headquarters of the New Development Bank (NDB) and met with the president of the institution, the Brazilian Dilma Rousseff.
Through social media, Maduro stated that Venezuela wants to be a “partner, an ally and a friend” of the bank and that the country views “with great admiration the Brics geopolitical process, which is a powerful engine for articulating the new world.”
::What’s happening in Venezuela::
In a statement, the Venezuelan Presidency stated that Maduro and Dilma “dialogued about the impact of the banking entity on the construction of a new global economic system, as well as the interest of several nations in forming part of the financial entity.”
Before the trip, Maduro had already expressed interest in taking Venezuela to the Brics and the NDB. In May, when he visited President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) in Brasília, the Venezuelan said that the country wanted to be part of the bloc and, in August, sent a formal proposal to join.
At the last BRICS summit, however, members decided to expand the group with the addition of six new members, but Venezuela is not among them.
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In an interview with the Chinese agency Xinhua, published this Sunday, the president once again expressed interest in joining Brics and said that the matter is on the agenda of his six-day agenda in the Asian country.
“There would be three lines of work: strengthening the China-Latin America and the Caribbean relationship, strengthening the group defending the United Nations Charter for a refounding of the UN and Venezuela’s entry into the BRICS to continue strengthening the process of birth of a world new,” he said.
Maduro’s visit to China and the meeting with Dilma Rousseff was preceded by the visit of the Venezuelan vice-president, Delcy Rodríguez, who also had a meeting with the president of the NDB last Wednesday (6).
According to Venezuelan economists consulted by Brasil de Fato, the visit by the country’s authorities to the Brics Bank could mean Caracas’ search for new sources of financing and obtaining currency to escape the US blockade.
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Target of more than 900 sanctions, Venezuela is going through a crisis in the oil industry, the main source of dollars in the country, after having its exports practically paralyzed by sanctions imposed by Washington. The drop in income, the shortage of dollars and the impossibility of making payments in the international financial system generated several economic turbulences in the country.
Maduro’s agenda in China, which takes place during the G20 summit in New Delhi, must still include a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who canceled his participation in the meeting in India.
Special economic zones
Before traveling to Shanghai for the meeting with Dilma at the NDB, Maduro was in the city of Shenzhen, considered a “special economic zone” in China because it has alternative legislation that aims to encourage economic production. Tech hub, the city is home to the headquarters of the company Huawei and has been dubbed the “silicon valley” of China.
There, the president of Venezuela signed a memorandum with Shenzhen University’s Special Economic Zones Research Center for “cooperation, development and modernization.”
::With Special Economic Zones, Venezuela wants to overcome blockade and oil dependence::
In July last year, the Venezuelan Parliament approved a project to create several Special Economic Zones in the country, some of which have already been sanctioned and inaugurated by the Executive. According to the authors of the project, the idea is to create spaces with tax incentives for public and private investors, national and foreign, to develop projects in different areas of the country’s economy.
ZEE’s, as they came to be called, are seen by the government as a possible solution to the economic crisis, as they can attract investments to non-oil sectors of the economy and bring more foreign currency to the country. Critics of the project, however, point to the risks of modifying tax legislation and ending up ceding the country’s sovereignty over its resources.
Editing: Thales Schmidt