China, Argentina forge strong partnership for growth, innovation
Zhang Chengcheng, Andre Queme
Editor's note: Zhang Chengcheng and Andre Queme are both co-founders of LATAM CHINA TECH, a firm that connects entrepreneurs, tech enthusiasts, investors, and institutions to drive cross-border innovation between Latin America and China. The article reflects the authors' opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.
China and Argentina have nurtured a robust partnership over several decades, marked by a rapidly expanding economic relationship. Trade between these two nations has witnessed impressive growth, reflecting their deepening ties. As a demonstration of their commitment to strengthen this relationship, Argentina officially joined the Belt and Road Initiative in 2022. By the first quarter of 2023, bilateral trade volume between China and Argentina had surged to $4.65 billion, marking a noteworthy year-on-year growth of 6.6 percent.
This week, Argentina's Economy Minister Sergio Massa is visiting China with the aim of negotiating financial cooperation and the renewal and expansion of the existing currency swap agreement between the two nations. Massa will engage in discussions with the governor of the People's Bank of China to explore the possibilities of renewing and expanding this swap line. Additionally, he will interact with executives from energy and infrastructure companies, as well as former Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, who oversees the New Development Bank, to explore investment opportunities.
Apart from economic collaboration, China and Argentina have actively engaged in exchanges related to science and technology. In 2022, the two countries established the China-Argentina Bi-National Center for the Study of Innovation and Technology Policies. Moreover, Chinese entities have constructed the Espacio Lejano space research facility in Neuquen and an Antarctic research facility in Ushuaia, near Tierra de Fuego.
Both countries have fostered collaborations across various sectors, including telecommunications, e-commerce, renewable energy, space cooperation, and research and development (R&D). Joint projects in biotechnology, agriculture, and environmental sciences have been initiated to leverage the strengths and resources of both nations, yielding mutual advantages.
Efforts have also been made to promote synergy within the startup ecosystems of China and Argentina, although they are still in their early stages. With an increasing number of Chinese startups expanding globally, there is untapped potential. Chinese companies such as Tencent, Fosun Group, and Didi Chuxing have actively invested in the region, capitalizing on the thriving startup landscape that has given rise to highly popular platforms like Mercado Livre and OLX, with significant influence in Latin America and beyond.
Furthermore, considering the electrification trend of society and the internationalization of Chinese startups involved in manufacturing electric vehicles, coupled with China's status as the world's largest producer of batteries, there is a strong interest in establishing geographical proximity to current and future technology markets. Argentina can enhance its innovation capabilities, promote economic growth, and boost private sector competitiveness through technology transfer.
Argentine startups have the opportunity to expand their reach and seize abundant opportunities. Moreover, the collaboration between two ecosystems can support entrepreneurs by providing increased funding opportunities and access to the knowledge and experiences of a nation that has embraced digitalization. Additionally, incentivizing payment for Chinese imports in renminbi may also have a significant impact on the tech sector.
With its qualified human capital, research capabilities, and entrepreneurial vigor, Argentina holds a prominent position in diversifying its sources of growth. Notably, Argentina is home to five out of 17 Latin American Nobel Prize laureates, underscoring the immense potential for innovation within its borders.
Cooperation between Argentina and China transcends mere trade; it serves as a platform for the exchange of tech talent and expertise, fostering cultural exchange and understanding. This collaborative effort has the potential to extend its influence beyond Argentina, positively impacting other countries in Latin America, and facilitating the development of solutions that cater to customers across different time zones and economic conditions.