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China's expansion of trade in services a boon to Argentina, LatAm, says official

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-09-10 16:27
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Photo taken on Sept 1, 2020 shows a robot model at the outdoor exhibition area near the China National Convention Center, where the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) will be held, in the Beijing Olympic Park in Beijing, China. [Photo/Xinhua]

BUENOS AIRES -- China's expansion of trade in services opens up a new opportunity for economic growth and development in Argentina and Latin America as a whole, Argentine official said.

"Today any policy that China adopts, in terms of trade in goods or services, necessarily impacts global trade. If China expands its trade in services, both to offer services and to demand them, this would help Argentina a lot, and our country can share this growth with China," said Maria Apolito, the undersecretary of Knowledge Economy at the Argentine Ministry of Productive Development.

Apolito spoke with Xinhua about the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS), which opened in Beijing on Sept 4 and featured the remote participation of Argentine President Alberto Fernandez as a special guest.

As the first major international economic and trade event held by China since the outbreak of COVID-19, this year's CIFTIS has attracted 22,000 enterprises and institutions from 148 countries and regions, including 199 Fortune 500 companies.

Trade in services is booming due to certain aspects, "such as the fact that it does not have borders, it is easier to carry out in terms of transactions and it does not require large physical investments," she noted.

"This trade in services fair presents an opportunity for Argentina to show all the potential of its knowledge, services and tourism industries. The fair has aroused a lot of interest (nationally) among private sector and public companies," said Apolito, noting the participation of leading Argentine firms INVAP and ARSAT in the field of satellite design and manufacturing.

Even though China and Argentina have a "limited or small" exchange of trade in services, the "opportunities" are "enormous" if cooperation in this area increases, which would also generate an impact at the regional level, promoting closer ties with other Latin American countries, said Apolito.

"China today represents just 1 percent of Argentine exports in terms of knowledge-based services, currently one of the axes in which Argentina wants to promote greater exchange. We understand that there is a lot of potential and we will work to identify the specific issues to achieve greater benefits for the two countries," she said.

"Greater trade ties based on services between China and Argentina will also be able to drive trade with the rest of the countries that generally follow the trajectory that Argentina and Brazil set for Latin America," she added.

China's concept of working towards a community with a shared future for humanity, she noted, features mutual benefit and shared gain not just between states but also between individuals in a world that demands "a different, more collaborative and supportive format."

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of the multilateral cooperation that China champions, said Apolito.

"If the health crisis we are going through due to the novel coronavirus pandemic has proven anything, it is that you can't make it out of a problem of this nature by yourself, not as a country or as a sector. In that sense, the concept of a community with a shared future is a concept that is more important than ever given the pandemic," she said.

Argentina, a traditionally agricultural producing country, has made much progress since 2004 in terms of the knowledge economy, and it is keen to boost cooperation in this important area of trade with the Asian giant, said Apolito.

"It has improved and continues to improve due to the incorporation of technologies and services, such as software, in the agricultural sector: everything that has to do with satellite images, data, drones and agricultural prospecting services, big data for analysis of climatic and meteorological data, and precision agriculture," said Apolito.

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