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Virus control, trade and investment cement ties

Aug. 03, 2020

Source:China Daily

Chinese expertise, technical support and supplies of medical equipment have benefited Argentina in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, helping the country move to the next phase and reverse some lockdowns.

The pandemic has deepened links between the two countries-which now are reaching out to space.

Through its National Space Activities Commission, or CONAE, Argentina is supporting the Tianwen 1 mission to Mars, launched from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in south China's Hainan Province on July 23. CONAE's Deep Space Exploration Station in Neuquen is monitoring part of the mission.

The push to strengthen ties throughout the pandemic is happening alongside growing trade and investment ties.

"Exchanges in technology and biotechnology, especially, loom… in the future," said Diego Marcos, founding member of the Civil Association for Argentina-China Cooperation.

China's pandemic control assistance to Argentina has been important and timely, Marcos said. "There were shipments of supplies, masks, respirators, among other supplies to our country."

"The ties of friendship between Latin America and China have been strong for a long time and, in turn, China has shown a practical interest in maintaining this relationship from a market perspective."

Shipments of supplies from China have been arriving in Argentina regularly for months. One shipment arrived on July 16, another on July 27.

On July 31 a shipment of 10,000 face masks was donated by Fengtai district in Beijing to the municipality of Esperanza, in the province of Santa Fe, to be used at the local hospitals.

According to the China embassy in Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital, two more shipments of medical supplies are expected to arrive from Shanghai.

It is due in part to Chinese support that Argentina's federal government has been able to supply both provincial and municipal hospitals even as it deals with a surge in cases, according to Maria Victoria Anadon, technical, legal and administrative deputy secretary of the health ministry of the province of Buenos Aires.

Despite severe lockdowns by Saturday, Argentina had more than 228,190 cases and more than 4,290 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

Like other countries in the region, Argentina has worked with China amid the pandemic.


Proactive approach

"The People's Republic of China has maintained a proactive attitude in the global fight against COVID-19, first within its territory from the very first moment, to prevent the spread, as well as becoming a fundamental actor in the aid provided to (other) countries," said Vicente Teruggi, administrative secretary of the Argentine Senate, project director at the Sino-Argentine Observatory and vice president at the Argentine-Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

"Since the beginning of the pandemic, China has been supporting the administration of (President) Alberto Fernandez, first with technical assistance through its professionals, as well as through medicines and hospital equipment for the Argentine health infrastructure," Teruggi said.

China is also working with some of the country's most affected provinces.

"For a long time, the different provinces of Argentina and China gradually developed links apart from those of the central governments, mainly due to the level of complementarity of their economies, which is huge," Hernan Prieto, CEO at Latin-China Consulting and representative of the Argentina Confederation of the Medium Enterprise in China, the administrative secretary said.

Explaining the ties, Teruggi said: "In addition to relationships at the central level, friendship and diplomacy at the provincial, municipal and individual levels play a key role in the bilateral links."

Experts from various cities and provinces in China have shared their expertise with their counterparts in Argentina.

The city of Buenos Aires received donations directly from local governments and companies in Chinese cities such as Shanghai, Hangzhou, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Chongqing.

"We are exploring new lines of cooperation," Francisco Resnicoff, Buenos Aires' deputy secretary of international and institutional relations, said after a virtual meeting with Zou Xiaoli, China's ambassador to Argentina.

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