China and Argentina Natural Resources Analysis Essay Example

China and Argentina: Beyond the Quest for Natural Resources

The relationship between China and Argentina is referred to as Sino-Argentine relations. This relationship was initially difficult to establish due to Argentina’s close proximity to the Unites States and the U.S sphere of influence. Furthermore, Argentina considered China as an unfriendly country due to its Beijing Communist regime. However, the two nations managed to overcome the difficulties mentioned and have established a bilateral relationship, which has blossomed over the years. Consequently, this bilateral relationship has formed a basis for mutual respect and peaceful coexistence between the two nations (Yongnian 34). In addition, this bilateral relationship has witnessed the development and cooperation in various sectors such as agriculture, trade, politics, military, cultural and technological sectors. The most significant reason behind this deepened relationship is China’s economic development, which has grown over time to become one of the world’s largest economies. Therefore, the relationship between these two countries is one of integral strategic significance. The states mainly cooperate in areas such as migration, investment, trade, military sphere, science and education, culture and politics. In addition, the nations enjoy close ties in international conferences and organizations. This paper highlights the historical events in the relationship between China and Argentina and critically analyses them.

The Major Historical Events between China and Argentina

The 1972 Agreement on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations

As mentioned above, in the beginning, Argentina was very hesitant about establishing relations with China due to its Beijing communist policy. However, later on Argentina realized the advantages it could receive as a country if it established diplomatic relations with the Asian giant. As a result, the two nations started making plans to achieve this goal (Bell 56). The need to establish political relations between the two states was fuelled by their need for adequate diversity of external links. In addition, both China and Argentina shared similar ideologies in various international forums. Their political relationship was necessary for the purpose of economic growth of both nations.

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Before 1972, there were a few diplomatic relations between China and Argentina. In 1945, the Latin American and Asian giant entered into initial negotiations aimed at establishing diplomatic ties between them (Wouters, Defraigne, and Burnay 40). However, these negotiated diplomatic ties were not very active while there were not many diplomatic exchanges taking place between them. Despite this fact, 1972 marked the most significant change in China-Argentina diplomatic relations (Brown 27). This is the year when full diplomatic relations were established between the two states. It happened during the China-Argentina negotiations for normalization of diplomatic relations, which took place in Bucharest, the capital of Romania.

Following the summit meeting between the leaders of China and Argentina in Bucharest, a joint communiqué by the two countries was held. It was announced that the two governments had signed an agreement to set up diplomatic relations. From the time this announcement was made, the diplomatic ties between the two nations continued to expand, and the states fortified their overall relations. For instance, the political, economic, and cultural ties between China and Argentina have grown rapidly since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1972 (Womack 71).


The new diplomatic relations represented the first landmark in bilateral relations between the two countries. In a move to obtain diplomatic representation of Argentina in China, the Latin American country opened its embassy in Beijing, China’s capital. In addition, to further solidify its diplomatic ties with its Asian partner, Argentina opened a consulate-general in Hong Kong and another in Shanghai (Edwards 85). The establishment of the embassy and the consulate has been very crucial in shaping the present immigration relationship between China and Argentina. At present, Chinese immigrants are the main Asian immigrants to Argentina.

Similarly, this diplomatic relations between China and Argentina played a significant role in the establishment of close political ties between the two countries despite their differences in ideological views. These diplomatic ties enabled the two countries to provide support to each other in international forums. For instance, in 1982 China supported Argentina in the Malvinas/Falklands war when it abstained from voting in the United Nations Security Council (Ellis 60). Similarly, Argentina returned the favor by refusing to join the other western countries in imposing sanctions against China after the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre.

Lastly, the existence of diplomatic ties has enabled the smooth development of bilateral trade between China and Argentina. There has been an increase in trade activities between Argentina and the Asian giant, a key factor to the economic growth experienced between the two trading partners (Williams 75). One of the reasons behind this deepening economic relationship is better negotiating conditions, which facilitated reaching an understanding between the two economies. Today, Argentina is one of the major trading partners of China in Latin America.
With regard to China and Argentina’s diplomatic ties, I think that the main connecting factor between these two countries is the mutual economic benefits. This is supported by the fact that a large percentage of bilateral agreements signed between the two countries mainly consist of trade agreements (Brown 72). Moreover, the two economies are constantly trying to discover new ways of improving and increasing their bilateral trade ties.

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The Historical Signing of China and Argentina’s First Trade Agreement

Before the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1972, the trade between the Latin American and Asian giant had been developing at a slow rate (Hearn and Leon-Manriquez 78). The absence of diplomatic dealings between the two countries was the major obstacle to the development of economic ties as well. As a result, there were very few trade and investment ties between Beijing and Buenos Aires. This was mainly due to the lack of proper trade mechanisms to provide guidance to trade activities between the two nations. With the lack of clear means to control trade activities between them, trade was therefore forced to grow at a snail’s pace.

The trade between China and Argentina continued at a slow pace. However, this slow evolution of trade between Argentina and China advanced considerably when the Chinese and Argentine governments entered into negotiations with the aim to improve their trade and investment relationship. These negotiations between the two countries were successful and consequently resulted in the signing of the first bilateral trade agreement between the Government of People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Government of Republic of Argentina in 1977 (Williams 84).


The signing of the first trade agreement between China and Argentina was significant in establishing bilateral trade ties between the two nations. This trade agreement created mutual beneficial economic ties between the two states. Since then, there has been smooth development of bilateral trade ties between the two countries. These bilateral trade ties have reached unprecedented new horizons over time, and today China has become Argentina’s third largest trading partner after South America and the European Union. The two trading partners continuously sign additional trade deals with one another, leading to the growth of the bilateral trade volume. For instance, by 2011 the Chinese and Argentine trade volume rose to $17 billion (Jilberto and Hogenboom 78).

To further reinforce economic ties and promote the growth and development of trade with China, Argentina set a trade promotion center in Shanghai in 2000 (Brown 67). The two nations export and import various products between their borders. The export structure from Argentina to China is strongly concentrated on soy products, more explicitly on soy oil and soy beans. Soy beans and soybean oil make up about 76 percent of total exports from the Latin America country to China (U.S. International Trade Commission 45). The other products exported to China from Argentina mainly consist of agro-industrial products.

Finally, various bilateral trade agreements signed between China and Argentina are the main reason behind the skyrocketing investment ties between the two countries. They set up various investment enterprises, which played a crucial role in the economic development of both countries. For instance, by the end of 2002, about 28 Chinese-invested enterprises had been registered in Argentina (Schirokauer and Brown 22). These enterprises are mainly involved in economic activities such as processing and production, exploitation of resources, agriculture and fishery. By 2014 the bilateral trade agreements between the two countries had evolved to include investment in hydroelectric power, railway and ship building.

In my opinion, the signing of the first trade agreement between China and Argentina was the key factor that opened up trade between them. Without this trade agreement, the economic relationship between the two countries would not have developed to the extent it is today.

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Argentine President Jorge Rafael Videla’s Historical Visit to China

In 1980, Argentina’s President Jorge Rafael Videla paid an official visit to China. It was the first Argentinean official presidential visit to China (Kavalski 87). The visit played a momentous role in the expansion of bilateral relations between China and Argentina. The President’s five day visit to Beijing included official talks with his Chinese counterpart to discuss various matters concerning their diplomatic relations. During these official talks the heads of the states discussed the importance of the need to improve their economic partnership.

In addition, President Videla commended China’s people in their efforts to safeguard their sovereignty and develop their economy. The heads of the states signed a comprehensive agreement involving trade, culture and financial cooperation. Since then, China and Argentina have had frequent mutual visits. For instance, since the 1990s, there have been about 50 official visits by government representatives from China and Argentina (Locatelli 90).


President Videla’s state visit to China was historical because it was the first official visit by the Argentina’s President to China. It was an indicator of development of bilateral cooperation between Argentina and China. More specifically, the visit had a great bearing on the expansion of trade between the two countries. Subsequently, after this historical visit the Chinese and Argentine economic relationship underwent rapid development within a short period of time. Consequently, the two economies started to sign various strings of bilateral trade agreements aimed at increasing their economic collaboration (Schirokauer and Brown 45). The two countries had just discovered the fundamental trade benefits for both of them.

Since the discovery of the potential mutual benefits that the Chinese and Argentine economic cooperation could provide, the two countries put additional efforts towards the expansion of trade between them. Thus, they tried to find ways to elevate their bilateral trade ties to a new level. They did this by increasing their collaboration in the fields such as fishing, agriculture, mining, animal husbandry and the processing of wine. By exploring these new fields, the two economies were able to enter into various new bilateral trade deals with each other (Yongnian 89). The strong China-Argentina economic collaboration had officially been inaugurated by this entry into new economic fields.

Overall, China and Argentina continued to enjoy numerous benefits brought about by their continuously evolving trade partnership over the years. Their bilateral trade relationship has advanced into a variety of new phases over a long period of time. At the moment, the investment and trade ties between China and Argentina have expanded to almost all sectors of economy.

In my opinion, President Videla’s visit to the Asian country was a step made by Argentina to obtain China’s favor in terms of trade. It was obvious that Argentina needed China more since its economy was struggling while China was developing into an economic giant at a rapid pace. His visit was therefore aimed at strengthening the economic ties between them for Argentina’s benefit.

Chinese President Yang Shangkun’s State Visit to Argentina

In 1990, President Yang Shankun visited Argentina at President Carlos Saul Menem’s invitation (Wouters, Defraigne, and Burnay 56). The two presidents held talks in Buenos Aires and signed an agreement to carry out cultural exchanges between their countries. These cultural exchanges have greatly expanded over time to include fields such as art, sports, education, science and technology, and the media. In addition, the two governments signed an agreement on promotion and establishment of joint ventures and political consultation mechanism between them. This agreement resulted in political consultations between the foreign ministries of the two states.

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President Yang Shangkun’s state visit to Argentina in 1990 played a considerable role in the integration of Chinese and Argentine culture (Brown 44). The joint efforts of the two sides have greatly expanded cultural interactions. China-Argentine culture has grown to incorporate such fields as art, science and technology, education, film and TV programs. China and Argentina have held several cultural activities to promote each other’s culture. For instance, in October 2000, China held the Beijing Culture Week in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. Similarly, Argentina held the Buenos Aires Culture Week in China the following year.

Currently, the Chinese culture has grown to become a large part of the modern Argentine culture. For example, the development of a relatively small Chinatown in Buenos Aires is a clear indication of the increased Chinese-Argentine presence. Furthermore, the presence of the Chinese culture has been intensified by the increased use of Mandarin Chinese language (Hearn and Leon-Manriquez 90). A lot of Argentineans study Chinese because of the growing Chinese market and diplomacy in Argentina and around the world. Overall, China-Argentina cultural integration has already been lined into their culture and continues to increase, further bringing the two nations closer.

In addition, this visit marked a milestone in the development of bilateral relations between China and Argentina as it broke China’s diplomatic isolation. The China’s communist system of government caused its isolation from the rest of the world. President Yang Shangkun’s state visit to Argentina was very significant in China’s integration into the rest of the world (Locatelli 102). Since then the countries have maintained close bilateral relations and over time their economies have become highly complementary.

In my opinion, this visit was a move by China to strengthen its presence in Latin America through Argentina. By visiting Argentina, China aimed to show that it could have friendly relations with Latin Americans and thus to encourage other Latin American countries to establish ties with it, fulfilling its longtime wish to increase its presence in Latin America.

Historical China’s Visit of Argentine President Fernando de la Rua

In September 2000, Argentine President Fernando de la Rua visited China. The invitation was made by Chinese President Jiang Zemin (U.S. International Trade Commission 23). The head of the state and his delegation were honored at a welcome ceremony hosted by President Jiang. Thereafter, the two presidents held talks with each other covering mainly bilateral ties between their two nations and the ways to provide support to each other. The five day state trip played a significant function in Argentina’s decision to support China’s need to join the World Trade Organization (WTO). Consequently, the two governments signed an agreement that resulted in China finally becoming a member of the WTO.

It is also important to highlight that the two presidents also signed an agreement on technological cooperation. As a result, a memorandum of understanding between an Argentine Internet company and a Chinese radio station, China Radio International (CRI) was signed in April the following year, which was essential in promoting information technology collaboration. Since the signing of the agreement on technological cooperation between China and Argentina, their collaboration has grown tremendously to include fields such as astronomy, agriculture, and research (Williams 44).


President Fernando de la Rua’s visit to China was important to China’s accession to the WTO. His meeting with Chinese President Jiang Zemin facilitated negotiations regarding China’s application to the WTO. China had been involved in lengthy negotiations, involving its wish to become a member of the global trade organization. As a result of the meeting, an agreement was finally reached and signed, granting China a membership position in the WTO on December 2001 (Womack 81).

The visit was equally significant in the advancement of technological alliance linking the two nations. The signing of the first technological agreement signified the evolution of China and Argentina technological relations. Currently, China and Argentina’s technological ties have advanced to comprise areas in the military, information technology (IT), and in state research institutions, commonly referred to as digital triangles.

The trade and investment ties between Beijing and Buenos Aires have deepened over years. Chinese companies are operating freely in Argentina, with businesses ranging from fishery, energy, finance and mineral exploration. Similarly, Argentina carries out several economic activities in China. Today, China has grown to be Argentina’s third largest source of investment and its second largest trading partner (Bell 77).

In my opinion, China’s decision to invite Argentina into their country was a calculated move to secure Argentina’s help in achieving their desperate desire to join the World Trade Organization. It is during this visit that an agreement to secure China’s membership in the global trade organization was signed. Therefore, China initiated the visit only to benefit from it and not necessarily to strengthen ties.


In conclusion, Sino-Argentine relations have greatly expanded since the establishment of diplomatic ties between them in 1972. China and Argentina have continued to enjoy closer relations with each other, which have skyrocketed in recent years. To understand the nature of these relations, one should explore all ties between the two nations. Bilateral relations between China and Argentina involve political, economic and trade, cultural and military ties. Presently, the cooperation between the two nations has deepened and grown to include such areas of collaboration as science and technological advancement in the field medicine, astronomy, research and agriculture. Despite the development of these new areas of cooperation between the two states, their bilateral trade agreements remain the most significant. China and Argentina have entered into numerous bilateral trade agreements over the years, which have proved beneficial for both countries. In order to maintain strong relations between the two countries, it is crucial to continue valuing each other’s role in their respective economies. China has shown how much it values its partnership with Argentina by continuing to trade with the Latin American country despite its visible economic struggles, further strengthening their Sino-Argentine relations.

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