Daily Archives: March 6, 2013

[Hugo] Chávez was an outstanding leader of Venezuela, and a good friend of the Chinese people,” noted China’s foreign ministry on Wednesday. Whatever personal sorrow might be felt in Beijing this week, China’s regret at the strongman’s passing is founded largely on worries over the future of economic relations with his government.

Those relations have grown considerably in recent years. According to Matt Ferchen, a scholar at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy, the China Development Bank has cut loans-for-oil deals in Venezuela over the past five years that account for some 60 per cent of all China’s exposure in Latin America. In 2012, Venezuela made payments on the $42bn loan by sending China an average of about 300,000 barrels of crude oil a day.

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Given the political and ideological polarisation between Barack Obama and congressional Republicans, there are few potential areas for action on US legislation both sides can agree to. One area where both sides believe they have something to gain is on reforming American immigration laws.

The economic argument for allowing more immigration is strong. Manufacturers and high-technology businesses have long complained about the paucity of visas for highly skilled foreigners. An October 2012 study by the Kauffman Foundation found that a quarter of engineering and technology companies founded between 2006 and 2012 had at least one key founder who was foreign-born.

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