The first exchange of this type was set at the equivalent of $ 11 billion in 2014, requested by the government of then President Cristina Kirchner (2007-2015) and renewed by the Macri administration in 2017, to face serious deficits in the external financial sector and a strong demand for green banknotes.
Xi was the only foreign president to pay a state visit to the South American country, while the G20 summit ended Saturday. After a lunch at Olivos, he will depart back to his country.
China is Argentina’s second largest trading partner behind Brazil. The exchange reached $ 17 billion in 2017, but the balance showed a deficit for Argentina of$7,736 million.
Prior to Sunday’s meeting, a surprise roughness was smoothed when the summit was taking place, and a spokeswoman for the president of the United States, Donald Trump, said that in their bilateral meeting with Macri they reaffirmed “the commitment to confront China’s predatory economic activity.”
Macri denied at a press conference that he endorsed these terms and said that ” China is not a threat, it is an opportunity for Argentina.”
Argentina had to go this year to the emergency lifeline of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which agreed to lend it $ 56 billion until 2020, in exchange for a severe adjustment.
The Argentine economy will fall 2.6% this year and 1.6% in 2019, according to the IMF. The unpopular adjustment plan agreed upon provoked resistance in unions, with strikes and other measures of force. Associations of small and medium-sized entrepreneurs also claim to be on the verge of bankruptcy.
Food, routes and railways
The agreements provide for China to buy products from Argentina such as bovine meat, thoroughbred horses, Cherries, honey and other products of agricultural origin. Argentina will open up to China, in turn, the sector of investments in road infrastructure and the reactivation of a railway line.
Nothing was said about the frozen project by which Beijing would build with its own technology a fourth nuclear power plant in Atucha, about 200 km north of Buenos Aires, promoted by Kirchner during his government.
” The better China goes, the better Argentina, the region, and the world, ” said Macri, who praised Beijing’s 40-year-old Reform and opening program.
About this reform process Xi said he ” managed to lift 750 million Chinese out of poverty,” within a framework of “strong growth and economic development.”