The shared fu­ture of Ar­gentina and China Ed­i­tor’s note:

Shanghai Daily - - OPINION - A:

De­spite the great dis­tance between the two coun­tries, China and Ar­gentina have much in com­mon. Un­der the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, China is sup­port­ing in­fra­struc­ture projects in Ar­gentina, in­clud­ing nu­clear plants and rail­roads. Mean­while, an in­creas­ing num­ber of Ar­gen­tinian prod­ucts are find­ing their way onto the Chi­nese mar­ket.

Dur­ing a time of in­creas­ing pro­tec­tion­ism, China and Ar­gentina are keen to in­crease co­op­er­a­tion. At a re­cent fo­rum in Shang­hai, Diego Gue­lar, Ar­gen­tinian Am­bas­sador to China, shared his thoughts on re­la­tions between the two coun­tries and his coun­try’s com­mit­ment to G20 with Shang­hai Daily staff writer Cao Xinyu. The Fo­rum, “G20, Glob­al­iza­tion and Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive: Per­spec­tive for a Shared Fu­ture,” was spon­sored by the In­sti­tute of Global Stud­ies, Shang­hai Univer­sity and CARI — Ar­gen­tine Coun­cil for In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions. on in­fra­struc­ture, agri­cul­ture and busi­ness, but I think the cul­tural as­pect is equally im­por­tant.

Cul­ture is an es­sen­tial di­men­sion of in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions. Banks, com­pa­nies and trade or­ga­ni­za­tions have well es­tab­lished means of in­ter­act­ing. But through pop­u­lar cul­ture, for in­stance, peo­ple get to know one an­other. Cul­tural chal­lenges are still there and, un­for­tu­nately, prej­u­dices still ex­ist. Prej­u­dices and ig­no­rance are over­come by get­ting to know each other.

It’s grow­ing. We have a lot of lo­cal ini­tia­tives at the em­bassy, like the Car­los Gardel tango school and a lot of things go­ing on in foot­ball, gas­tron­omy and pop­u­lar mu­sic. When peo­ple get to know each other, we’ll find that we’re not as dif­fer­ent as we may think, and that lays the foun­da­tion for bet­ter co­op­er­a­tion.

We’re re­lated to our neigh­bors. We have an in­te­gra­tion agree­ment, which we call Mer­co­sur (South­ern Com­mon Mar­ket), with Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay. To make a free trade agree­ment, we have to reach a con­sen­sus.

In the case of Ar­gentina, we’re an­a­lyz­ing the fea­si­bil­ity of free trade deals — how it can work with other coun­tries and China. We have not yet reached agree­ment, but we are keen on the idea.

Uruguay is very clearly in fa­vor of a free trade deal. We have to dis­cuss this with Brazil, which is now hav­ing pres­i­den­tial elec­tions. For Ar­gentina, China is the se­cond largest trade part­ner, but Brazil is our largest. Mean­while, China is Brazil’s largest trade part­ner. So that’s a tri­an­gle. China is the most im­por­tant mar­ket for Chile, Peru, Uruguay, Brazil and Ar­gentina. I re­ally hope in the next year or two, we can sit to­gether to be­gin fea­si­bil­ity anal­y­sis of a free trade agree­ment. one of our most pop­u­lar prod­ucts, red shrimp, are avail­able to Chi­nese con­sumers.

We are also reach­ing agree­ments with lo­cal com­pa­nies to build dis­tri­bu­tion hubs in Shang­hai, Tian­jin and Guangzhou. Th­ese hubs will work closely with the em­bassy, our gov­ern­ment and Ar­gen­tinian ex­porters.

With th­ese dis­tri­bu­tion hubs, plus agree­ments with e-com­merce plat­forms, more Ar­gen­tinian goods will be brought to what is now the most im­por­tant mar­ket in the world.

We’re work­ing on it. We have launched pub­lic ten­ders for re­new­able en­ergy pro­grams in so­lar and wind power.

In the north­ern part of the coun­try, with the co­op­er­a­tion of China, we are build­ing the big­gest so­lar plant in Latin Amer­ica. About 90 per­cent of our re­new­able en­ergy pro­grams are as­so­ci­ated with Chi­nese com­pa­nies and Chi­nese banks. Thanks to them, we have the tech­nol­ogy and fi­nance, which is just one more rea­son to in­crease our co­op­er­a­tion with China.

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