Macri Kicks Off State Visit To Asia

The President of Argentina, is scheduled to touch down in rather balmy Dubai today as part of a nine day tour of Asia, alongside his family and several cabinet members. He begins with a stopover in Dubai to meet the leader of the United Arab Emirates, before moving onto China and Japan.

Unlike most state visits, this trip will see Macri signing agreements for public works projects to be carried out in Argentina, and will make announcements regarding investments for the republic.

The bulk of the activities will take place in China, starting Sunday, where the Presidents Macri and Xi Jinping have a long list of bilateral agreements and contracts to get through. What’s in the cards? Potential investments in the energy sector; the restoration of the San Martín train line; a food safety protocol (a Chinese equivalent of Senasa operating in Argentina to speed up processes); and a promise to open up the market to cold meats, grapes, blueberries, honey and lentils.

One thing that’s earning the visit a lot of attention, meanwhile, is the proposed presentation that the Argentines will make in Beijing, to request Chinese funding to build two new nuclear stations, for 12,500 US dollars. Showing that they really plan to get the job done, the Argentine government will also give updates on the current state of two dams in the Santa Cruz river, for which work is due to start in the next 60 days.

Macri will also be the only Latin American representative, besides Chile’s Michelle Bachelet, in attendance at the “One Belt & One Road” meeting, as part of a special dinner with 29 other heads of state.

Despite the rather long to-do list, the official visit actually only starts next Tuesday, with the Chinese-Argentine Business and Investments Forum, and the chance to meet with various business leaders. Wednesday involves a visit to Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, for more agreement signing. For Diego Guelar, Argentine ambassador in China, “The 21st century is the century of China. As such, this association is very strategic for our country.”

To close the visit, after signing more documents along with Japans Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and attending a guards of honor ceremony, the emperors of Japan will host a reception for Mauricio and Juliana, in Tokyo’s Imperial Palace, before they head back to Buenos Aires.

By Chloe St. George

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