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China and Venezuela

John Simkin

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One of the main failures of George Bush’s presidency is the way he has allowed China to get the upper-hand in world politics.

Last week China and Venezuela announced a new trade deal that was described as a “Great Wall against American hegemonism”. The deal involved a million-barrel a day oil deal and a promise by China to back Venezuela’s bid to join the United Nations security council.

Hugo Chavez has also been doing deals with Iran, Syria and North Korea. China has been doing the same with Iran.

The United States, the world’s leading debtor nation, is now heavily dependent on Chinese capital to underwrite its fast-growing debt. If China ever decides to divert this capital surplus elsewhere, either to internal investment or to the development of oil, gas, and mineral resources elsewhere in the world, the U.S. economy will be in real trouble.

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China's a hot topic here in Kalmar too. A Chinese company has just announced plans to build an enormous exhibition centre here in little Kalmar, as a showcase for Chinese companies wanting to export to Europe. It'll be 400,000 square metres (four times as big as the newly-opened - and huge - IKEA store).

Some local commentators wondered if it was all for real (a justifiable reaction) … but at the equivalent of about £10 million it isn't much of an investment for some Chinese companies.

The province which is in the hinterland of Shanghai has had a manned trade office here in Kalmar for over a year now too.

(For the many of you who have no idea where and what Kalmar is, it's a small town on the east coast of southern Sweden. The population is 60,000 and what industry there is here is largely light manufacturing. Imagine a place in your own country of about the same size, but a good way off the beaten track - like Grimsby in the UK - and you've got Kalmar in Sweden.)

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FWIW, the new Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua is currently under construction and will be completed in time for the opening ceremony of the 2007 cricket World Cup in March. How do I know? Because it's being constructed in partnership with the People's Republic of China.

Nations like Venezuela and the PRC appear to be building strong global alliances at present. Contrast this with the USA, which behaves like a power-drunk global bully--even to its allies.

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