President Cristina Kirchner signed with his counterpart from China, Xi Jinping, twenty agreements that involve Chinese investments for USD $ 7.5 billion in hydroelectric dams and rail infrastructure in Argentina. In addition, they agreed a swap between the People's Bank of China and the Central Bank of Argentina, of USD 11.000 million, aimed at strengthening the level of the Central Bank reserves and for promote bilateral trade.
Furthermore, the government of China will build, finance and provide equipment for the project of a fourth nuclear plant in the country, Atucha III, of 700 megawatt, heavy water and natural uranium.
One of the agreements says that the Chinese bank ICBC will finance with USD 4.714 billion the construction of the hydroelectric dams Jorge Cepernic and Nestor Kirchner, in the province of Santa Cruz. The Asian country will also invest USD 2.099 million to renovate the Ferrocarril Belgrano Cargas, with a counterpart of USD $ 370 million from the national treasury. The government of Xi Jinping pledged to finance the purchase of 11 boats for dredging for USD 423 million in an initial stage.
The two leaders signed a joint declaration to establish a "comprehensive strategic partnership", which raises the hierarchy of the bilateral relationship. The Argentine president also showed a strong approach to Russia, whose president, Vladimir Putin, visited Argentina last Saturday, and expressed her alignment to the BRICs group, when she attended a summit of the bloc in Brasilia. Xi Jinping's visit comes amid of a rapprochement of Russia and China
"The emergence of economies such as China allows alternatives to a world that was jaded" said the president. She also said that “soon China will become the world's largest economy.”
China Engineering Corporation is financing the refurbishment of the Belgrano Cargas railway in Argentina because it transports grains, sugar, water, wine, wood, cement, coal and metals. The 10,000-kilometre railway network connects 17 out of the country’s 23 provinces as well as Buenos Aires port. The renewal of the Belgrano Cargas, consists of 500 kilometers of new tracks, 100 locomotives, 3000 wagons, and the reconstruction of 2000 wagons in national workshops, with Chinese inputs and machinery.
Other agreements were signed for cooperation between the Communications Commission and its Chinese counterpart, a draft national broadband access, collaboration between YPF and the Corporation of the Chinese Development Bank and a compromise between Entre Rios and the China State Corporation for irrigation projects and the construction of pressure tubes of heavy water, among others.
China is also eyeing Argentina’s most precious resources: the Vaca Muerta shale formation in Patagonia. Xi expressed its commitment to invest in developing what could be the world’s second-largest shale gas reserves and fourth-largest reserves of shale oil reserves. State-run energy firm YPF estimates that it holds 661 billion barrels of oil and 1,181 trillion cubic feet of natural gas resources.
Date: July 19, 2014