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Exchanging oil for planes

Venezuela President Hugo Chavez.

BRASILIA — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said his country might sell crude oil to Brazil, which may in turn sell commercial aircraft to the Andean nation, as part of renewed trade ties between the two countries.

Chavez, who visited Brazil after a long struggle with cancer, said his Brazilian counterpart, Dilma Rousseff, had expressed enthusiasm about a plan to import oil from Venezuela. Chavez, who has been in power since 1999, visited Brasilia late on Monday to ratify Venezuela’s entry into regional trade bloc Mercosur.

“We … proposed it, and President (Rousseff) was very, very interested, and we’ve already given the first orders for Venezuela to export crude oil to Brazil,” Chavez said early on Tuesday after attending a dinner with Rousseff.

“Brazil is still importing oil, and we are increasing production,” Chavez said. “This year, Venezuela will go from three million to 3.5 million barrels a day of crude.”

Venezuela is one of the world’s largest oil producers.

Today, Chavez was expected sign off on the purchase of 20 planes from Brazilian planemaker Embraer, to be used by Venezuela state-controlled airline Conviasa.

The order was announced in December, although the value of the transaction has not been made public. Chavez said the first plane is due for delivery in September. (Reuters)

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