Caracas, Dec 6 : Venezuela and South Korean multinational Samsung have agreed to form a joint venture to manufacture telecommunications components, Science and Technology Minister Ricardo Menendez said.

The Venezuelan government, which will have 51 percent of the company, considers the deal a "strategic alliance" to boost Venezuelan exports of electronic parts to its partners in the Mercosur trade bloc, the minister said.

Menendez also said President Hugo Chavez has authorized lower tariffs for imported components needed to assemble the products.

"This is important because the finished products had a tariff rate lower than that of the parts (required for) assembly. By reversing this relationship, you promote the domestic assembly of telecommunications products," the minister said.

Menendez announced in August that Samsung and companies such as French automaker Renault and Japan's Yamaha were considering investing in Venezuela and that General Motors was planning to increase production in the South American country.

Late last month, Renault and the Venezuelan government signed a "letter of intent" for the installation of a plant to assemble several of the automaker's models.


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