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China agrees to invest $20 billion in Venezuela

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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says China has agreed to more than $20 billion in investments in his country.

Maduro made the announcement on Wednesday during a visit to the Chinese capital, Beijing.

“We scooped up more than $20 billion in investment,” Maduro said following a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

Xi also said that Beijing had agreed to “strengthened cooperation” between the two sides.

According to Venezuela’s AVN news agency, the investment deal includes areas such as technology, housing, and urban planning.

The meeting between Maduro and Xi was the third of its kind; the two leaders had last met in July 2014.

Earlier, Venezuela, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), announced that it had entered recession following a huge drop in global oil prices.

The price of Venezuelan crude, which provides 96 percent of the country’s hard currency income, has almost halved to USD 46 per barrel since mid-2014. The country’s annual inflation rate also reached 63.8 percent, which is among the world’s highest rates.

China is Venezuela’s largest investor. It is also the second-largest purchaser of Venezuelan oil.

China currently purchases 640,000 barrels of oil from Venezuela per day, an amount that Caracas wants increased to one million barrels a day.

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