The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between China and Argentina scheduled for this week has been delayed until November, the Argentine foreign ministry announced officially on Tuesday. The delay will enable to add an “article referred to the protection of the environment, natural resources, and bio-security”, added the release.
Apparently some 200 social and environmentalist organizations from 23 different Argentine provinces had convened under the hashtag EnoughOfFalseSolutions, and further protests were planned following a zoom meeting on Pork production: a national model, international cooperation and food sovereignty with the participation of Argentine government top officials. In effect China has offered to invest some US$ 27 billion in Argentina to set a major pork industry, which has generated strong reactions from environmentalists.
Among the speakers were foreign minister Felipe Solá, Agriculture minister Luis Basterra, a province of Buenos Aires official who sponsors the investment, the head of International Economic Relations Jorge Neme, and apparently during the conference they were strongly criticized by the environmentalists and groups fearful of future pandemics because of the massive production of some annual nine million tons of pork.
Last July, non government organizations, under the motto We are not interested in becoming a factory of pigs for China, or a factory of new pandemics, started collecting signatures to stop the announced project, or at least hold a congressional debate on the issue.
The cash strapped Argentine government of president Alberto Fernandez is openly supportive of the deal and was planning to have it signed in August, but the resistance has proved to be much stronger than expected, and is now planning November.
At the end of June minister Sola and Beijing's trade minister Zhong Shan announced a strategic association referred to pork production and a joint investment of Argentine and Chinese companies to produce nine million tons of high quality pork annually, which would ensure China with an ample supply for many years to come.