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Global Insider: China-Argentina Trade Relations

Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011

China and Argentina recently signed a round of agricultural trade agreements. In an e-mail interview, R. Evan Ellis, an assistant professor at the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies of the National Defense University and author of "China in Latin America: The Whats and Wherefores," discussed China-Argentina trade relations.

WPR: What is the current state of trade relations between Argentina and China?

R. Evan Ellis: Argentina is running a trade surplus with China, driven by the export of soy products. Yet Argentine manufacturing interests are being undercut by Chinese companies that sell ever-more goods in the country, beginning with toys, footwear and textiles but advancing into higher value-added sectors such as autos, computers and communication equipment, and industrial machinery. The two countries are now moving past the 2010 showdown in which China stopped accepting deliveries of Argentine soy oil, a $1.4-billion-per-year revenue stream. The move was widely interpreted as a response to Argentine protectionist measures against Chinese products. The dispute was the principal focus of the July 2010 visit to China by Argentina's president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. As a result of that visit, China resumed accepting Argentine soy oil, while Argentina committed to making Chinese companies a central part of a $12 billion railroad-modernization project.

WPR: Beyond trade, how extensive is Argentina-China cooperation? ...

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