CARACAS, May 14 -- A cooperation accord between the Venezuelan government and Chinese home appliances giant Haier Group has helped strengthen the industrial capacity and economic independence of the South American nation.
Under the accord, which marked its fourth anniversary Wednesday, more than 3 million household appliances of world-class quality have been sold across the Latin American country, benefiting around 1.5 million households with a Venezuelan government program called "My well-equipped home."
The ability to acquire such big-ticket items as refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners, kitchens and televisions through government-run shops and distributors, translates into a more than 70 percent savings compared with regular store prices, officials say.
The accord also called for the creation of a joint venture for the production, assembly and sale of such appliances, to guarantee fair prices and facilitate the people's access to basic goods.
To that end, the first phase of a Haier appliance manufacturing plant was inaugurated on Sept. 20, 2012 in Valles del Tuy, in Venezuela's northern state of Miranda.
The plant, which is 85 percent Venezuelan government owned, is capable of assembling 815,000 units, or supplying 70 percent of the nation's refrigerator production and 63 percent of its washing machines.
The accord with the Asian firm additionally proposed incorporating parts manufactured locally into the assembly process, and launching a plant-related Research and Innovation center.
The transfer of technology and the training of Venezuelan workers operating the appliance production machines were also key features of the deal.
During a state visit to China in September last year, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said that in the past 15 years the country had received some 50 billion U.S. dollars to finance such major projects.
Of that sum, 143 million dollars were invested in the construction of Haier's manufacturing plant with an eye to strengthening domestic production, reducing reliance on imports and saving much-needed foreign currency.
The Venezuelan government's decision to strengthen economic and trade ties with China has also been motivated by its mid-term plan to convert the Latin American nation into a regional and global production powerhouse over the next 10 years .
On Tuesday, Maduro talked the future of Venezuela-China ties in a regular weekly broadcast.
He said that he planned to propose to Chinese President Xi Jinping that the two sides work jointly to outline policies that will offer structural solutions to the economic problems in the nation, such as scarcity and high inflation.
Current and future accords between the two, said Maduro, aim to spur economic development in the South American country, as part of the government's new "offensive" to promote production, supply and fair consumer prices.
"China proposes and maintains relations based on equality between states," said Maduro.
"It shows, as the 21st century just gets underway, that it is possible ... to be a global power without imperialistic practices, without colonial pretensions, without domination," Maduro added.