Home Economy News Maduro’s lawmaker son says Venezuela is open to paying debts to China

Maduro’s lawmaker son says Venezuela is open to paying debts to China


By Deisy Buitrago

CARACAS (Reuters) -Venezuela is open to paying its debt to China – which according to independent data amounts to some $10 billion – lawmaker Nicolas Maduro Guerra, son of President Nicolas Maduro, told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.

Venezuela’s relationship with China is “foolproof and weatherproof,” Maduro Guerra said, adding that Chinese companies are keen to invest in the South American country.

China is a major player in Venezuela’s oil and gas sector, as well as being the OPEC country’s largest creditor. In 2007 it reached a $50 billion agreement for credit lines and loans-for-oil deals with then-leader Hugo Chavez.

A rout in oil prices and declining output from Venezuelan fields led President Maduro’s government to negotiate grace periods for loans worth $19 billion in 2020, and Venezuela currently owes the Asian giant some $10 billion, according to independent data.

Maduro Guerra said that Venezuela has always been open to paying its debt to the government in Beijing.

“The finance ministers will have to get together at some point,” he said.

The lawmaker did not give a figure for the current size of the debt.

Maduro Guerra, an economist, is his father’s oldest child from a previous marriage and is a close confidant of the president, who is running for re-election in voting scheduled for July.

The elections are due to take place despite complaints from opposition politicians that they have been treated unfairly, accusations that have prompted the U.S. to reimpose sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry.

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In publishing its decision last month, Washington gave companies 45 days to “close” their businesses and transactions with Venezuela’s oil and gas industry.

In response, Venezuela’s oil industry “must expand and we are seeking to expand” into new markets, Maduro Guerra said.

“We depended on selling oil to the United States… If it doesn’t want to buy, we’ll sell it somewhere else,” he said, without giving more specifics.

Maduro Guerra said he did not know if there had been new meetings between Venezuela’s government and the United States.

However, communication channels with Washington remained intact, Maduro Guerra said.

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