by Victoria Arguello
CARACAS, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) -- Venezuela, which enjoys a good relationship with China, has been keen to learn from China's development model marked by the state guiding the economy to direct social, technological and financial advances.
"Venezuela is learning from China's experience, especially in local and regional development models, in the building of infrastructure and the creation of new spaces for industry," David Velasquez, Venezuela's former deputy minister of foreign relations for Asia, the Middle East and Oceania, told Xinhua in an interview.
He said the Venezuelan government is seeking to emulate China's practice of creating strategic development zones, and has built the famous development zone of Arco Minero del Orinoco, a resource-rich mining zone where deposits of gold, coltan, diamonds, iron, bauxite and other minerals can be found.
On Aug. 26, Venezuela signed a financing deal with China's Yankuang Group to produce gold there. In the strategic development zone of the Hugo Chavez Orinoco Oil Belt, China National Petroleum Corporation helps with its crude oil production.
Alongside this, Venezuela is aiming to build three special economic zones (SEZ), similar to those developed by China in the 1980s. They are the SEZ of Urena which will focus on textiles and metal mechanics, the SEZ of Paraguana which will focus on power generation and the SEZ of Puerto Cabello which will focus on the petrochemical industry.
Jose Egido, a political analyst, said that China intelligently focuses on development, which is reflected in its foreign investment policies.
"Having a solid state capable of calling on foreign companies to invest in China and allowing these companies to seek their interests have contributed to the development of the Asian giant," he told Xinhua.
Egido said Venezuela faces a big challenge in emulating China's development model, as it needs to structurally reform its government and change an economy reliant on oil exports.
"Venezuela must learn from China what is needed for a state, how to resolve problems like corruption and reach harmony between agriculture and industry," he added.