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Argentine industry fearful of some clauses in agreements signed with China

Thursday, February 12th 2015 - 06:25 UTC
Full article 45 comments
“We will explain the scope of agreements to the UIA because Argentina and China have complementary economies”, said Capitanich “We will explain the scope of agreements to the UIA because Argentina and China have complementary economies”, said Capitanich
But Cristina Fernandez was far more direct:  ”It is hard to understand why they (UIA) would spit on the barbecue” But Cristina Fernandez was far more direct: ”It is hard to understand why they (UIA) would spit on the barbecue”
“Direct allocation of infrastructure works that have Chinese funding and labor conditions of Chinese workers”, are UIA's main concerns “Direct allocation of infrastructure works that have Chinese funding and labor conditions of Chinese workers”, are UIA's main concerns

Argentina's top officials will meet on Thursday with representatives from the Argentine Industrial Union, UIA, to discuss some clauses and aspects of the recent agreements signed between China and Argentina last week, and which have been questioned by the manufacturers' lobby.

 Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich announced that government officials will meet with industrial leaders to discuss the 22 agreements signed between Cristina Fernandez and her counterpart XI Jinpiao last week, on Thursday and not on Friday as had been originally anticipated.

The chief of ministers explained that Economy Minister Axel Kicillof, Federal Planning Minister Julio De Vido, Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, Industry Minister Débora Giorgi and himself will meet the UIA representatives, as ordered by President Cristina Fernández following a request by the UIA.

But an idea of what the government's arguments can be expected was advanced by President Cristina Fernandez during a live conference on national television. She strongly defended her government's record in promoting local business and industry and launched a fierce and ironic attack on the UIA and the chamber's negative stance on agreements with China.

“It is hard to understand why they would spit on the barbecue. Or maybe there are interests in play which are not commercial, but political” said Cristina Fernandez, adding that “it's interesting to see how some are worried about cheap labor coming, when they have been pushing for devaluation in order to destroy salaries.”

At his daily press conference at the government house, Capitanich defended the 22 new agreements signed by Cristina Fernandez in Beijing, saying they will ensure “infrastructure works that will significantly reduce systemic costs and stimulate economic development.”

“It is an structural, long term agreement. It is part of a State policy,” the official said. “We will explain its scope to the UIA because we have complementary economies. They demand goods that we produce and we demand what they produce,” he added.

The UIA has expressed its concern over the effects of two articles in the agreement concerning direct allocation of infrastructure works that have Chinese funding and the labor conditions of Chinese workers.

“We always defend the Argentine work,” Capitanich stated and he pointed out that since ex President Nestor Kirchner took office in 2003 the unemployment rate has dropped from 25% to 7%. “We are defending the industrial production matrix, that should suit industrial leaders,” he said.

In her evening speech and reacting to criticism from UIA, Cristina Fernandez reflected that “we will see what the Chinese do and we will also see what we do”.

She added “do not take Argentines for fools. Since when have businesses cared if cheap labor was coming over from China?”

“It is hard to understand why they would spit on the barbecue. Or maybe there are interests in play which are not commercial, but political,” she said.

“This government has prided itself on defending Argentine jobs and Argentine business leaders, unlike any other government that came before it,” the head of state fired during the live transmission.

On Tuesday after an almost three-hour meeting, UIA agreed to back the federal government’s “deeper” relationship with China but also asked to meet with President Cristina Fernández and with lawmakers to demand explanations of the agreement signed between both countries and passed by the Lower House of Congress.

“After a wide exchange of ideas, we agreed on the importance of a deeper global integration and specifically with China. We expressed our concern over the effects of two articles in the agreement — direct allocation of infrastructure works that have Chinese funding and the labor conditions of Chinese workers,” UIA said in a press release. “Both issues could affect the local supply of goods and services.”

Top Comments

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  • LEPRecon

    Hmm, these 2 statements are very telling.

    “In her evening speech and reacting to criticism from UIA, Cristina Fernandez reflected that “we will see what the Chinese do and we will also see what we do”.

    ”She added “do not take Argentines for fools. Since when have businesses cared if cheap labor was coming over from China?”

    Well, CFK really doesn't think before opening her mouth, does she?

    Let's break these statements up:
    “we will see what the Chinese do” Well the Chinese will stick to the very letter of the agreement and won't brook any interference from Argentina.

    “and we will also see what we do” In other words Argentina is planning on reneging on these contracts at the 1st convenient moment and will no doubt be screaming stuff about foreigners interfering in Argentina's sovereign affairs.

    “do not take Argentines for fools.“ Well the Chinese have certainly taken Argentina for a fool, but the government doesn't care because after all they won't be in power when it all comes crashing down.

    ”Since when have businesses cared if cheap labor was coming over from China?” I think that businesses are worried that they won't be getting any work, nor will their Argentine workers. As President, Ms Kirchner, it is YOUR responsibility to provide an environment which stimulates the economy, which in turn creates jobs for the locals.

    But now with all this 'cheap' Chinese labour, why should anyone hire Argentinians? The Chinese won't, unless it is to do the most menial jobs imaginable.

    Face it China has gotten everything it wants out of this deal, and the Argentine government has just rolled over and signed it all away.

    Great economical model btw Cristina. China loans you money, but doesn't give you money, it gives it to the Chinese firms that are going to build your infrastructure. Then you have to repay the Chinese every yuan. But no Argentine jobs, no Argentine firms getting business. It all goes to China. No wonder Argentine industry is fearful.

    Feb 12th, 2015 - 06:53 am 0
  • La Patria

    This government rhetoric sounds like a cuento chino to me.

    Feb 12th, 2015 - 07:32 am 0
  • Troy Tempest

    Canada almost got rooked into a similar deal.
    In their case, however, when the unions blew the whistle on imported cheap mining labourers from China, the Canadian gov. felt they should cancel the deal, for the sake of fellow Canadians.

    CFK ?? Not foo king rikely, as she would say!!

    Feb 12th, 2015 - 09:03 am 0
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