Macri Calls For Open Markets And Sells Argentina As A ‘Great Food Producer’ At Chinese Summit

foto: Reuters

Speaking before numerous heads of state present at the “One Belt One Road” forum organized by China today, President Mauricio Macri came out in favor of increasing international economic cooperation and assured the politicians and business leaders present that Argentina is a “great food producer,” which currently has the capability of supplying the demands of 400 million people and “can exponentially increase its production.”

The president addressed his counterparts in the context of a round table meeting titled “policy synergy for a closer partnership,” and pointed out that the possibility of having South America converge with the forum “is an opportunity we don’t want to miss.”

The project, abbreviated as OBOR, is a development strategy spearheaded by Chinese President Xi Jinping. It focuses on “connectivity and cooperation among countries, primarily between China and the rest of Eurasia.” It consists of two main components: a land-based “silk road economic belt,” and an oceangoing “maritime silk road,”which will attempt to promote the development of all 60 countries involved.

Macri went on to praise the initiative to “create an architecture of global economic cooperation, inclusive and balanced that benefits us all.” “[It’s important for the cooperation] to contribute to help our own goals of reducing poverty and creating economic opportunities through the development of infrastructure,” he added.

The president also pointed out that the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), an intergovernmental regional organization that comprises 12 South American countries, intends to “establish the integration of the region’s infrastructure in order to reach a larger and more sustainable physical integration.” As an example, he named the Paraná-Paraguay waterway, which allows to move products from and to the Atlantic ocean through Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.

“We are interested in articulating OBOR with the UNASUR’s project to meet the most important goal of the XXI century: connectivity,” Macri said.

In an earlier passage that was more oriented to the diplomatic aspect of the relationships — especially considering that on April 27 Macri met with U.S President Donald Trump, who has a diametrically opposed vision for his country’s economy — Macri assured that Argentina has the potential to integrate to the world “from all four cardinal points.”

In his inaugural speech, President Xi Jinping ratified his intention of rejecting economic protectionism and embracing open markets, as part of an intense international cooperation plan.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, Chilean President Michelle Bachellet and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras are some of the heads of state who took part in the summit. International figures such as UN President Antonio Guterres and IMF Christine Lagarde also made their way to China.

After today’s leaders’ round table, Macri gave a closed door conference in the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He will then celebrate the 45th anniversary of the beginning of diplomatic relations between Argentina and China.

Once the summit finishes, Macri and the rest of the Argentine delegation will stay in China to kick off a state visit aimed at securing financing for different infrastructure works. Finance Minister Luis Caputo signed an “integrated five-year plan between Argentina and China,” which details the 16 most important public works that the Asian Giant will finance in Argentina. The construction of two nuclear power plants for US$ 12.5 billion are by far the most important of them all.

By Demian Bio

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