by Staff Writers
Buenos Aires (AFP) June 23, 2012
Chinese Premier Wen Jibao arrived in Argentina Saturday on an official visit aimed at boosting trade with one of South America's top agricultural producers.
Wen, slated to meet Sunday with Argentine President Cristina Kirchner, has been traveling across South America since a G-20 summit in Mexico last week, with previous stops in Brazil and Uruguay. He visits Chile after Argentina.
Kirchner and Wen, who met on the sidelines of the G-20 summit, have agreed to increase trade, which last year reached $14.8 billion, $8 billion in China's favor.
China is Argentina's second largest trade partner, mainly dealing in agricultural products. Argentina is the world's number one exporter of flour and soy oil, number three soy bean exporter, and number two corn exporter, said Rogelio Ponton, adviser to the Rosario Board of Trade.
Buenos Aires expects to highlight plans to modernize the Belgrano Cargas railway, said Planning Minister Julio de Vido about Wen's visit in comments aired on state television.
Argentina also hopes to draw Chinese investments in its oil industry, after having expropriating Spanish oil company Repsol's controlling share of YPF, Argentina's largest oil company.
During nearly two hours of talks Friday, Wen signed five cooperation agreements on telecommunications, the environment, and economic and technology cooperation.
President Jose Mujica expressed to Wen Uruguay's hope that Chinese companies would invest in a deep-water port project in the southeast department of Rocha, according to the spokesman, Diego Canepa.
Canepa said Wen had conveyed China's interest in the construction and the development of the port. A Uruguayan delegation will visit China in the next three months to present the project to potential investors, the spokesman said.
Chinese companies are keen to explore the possibility of using Uruguay as a "key platform" for improving ties with Mercosur, the South American trade bloc that includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, Canepa said.
China is Uruguay's second-largest trading partner after Brazil.
Global Trade News
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