An Argentine delegation headed by Economy Minister Sergio Massa secured US$ 3.05 billion in investments from Chinese institutions yesterday to finance infrastructure projects in Argentina, including railways, power lines, lithium, and renewable energies projects, as well as sanitation works.
Massa cosigned the deal, a part of the Belt and Road Initiative, with the vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, Li Chunlin.
Today, on the last day of his week-long trip to China, Massa spoke about the prospects for the Argentine economy and the three-year currency swap extension in front of executives of the country’s 40 largest companies.
“[The swap extension] allows companies from the People’s Republic of China an opportunity to develop an investment flow [to Argentina] based on the yuan,” Massa said.
“It consolidates the yuan as an investment tool,” he added. “And it enables Argentina to not only use it for commercial and foreign exchange investment flows but also as a mechanism for the Central Bank in all kinds of investments.”
In a meeting organized by the Argentine embassy in Beijing, Massa said Argentina’s economic model is going through a transformation process, as the agro-industrial pole will not be its only source of exports.
The minister discussed the “explosion” of the hydrocarbons sector with Vaca Muerta, and forecasted “a turnaround” of the country’s economy in three years due to lithium exports.
Massa said Argentina’s prospects are shifting, from being “an energy importer to a net energy exporter”, with the potential to export US$ 20 billion worth in the hydrocarbons sector alone over the next three years.
Present at the conference were representatives of companies like Huawei, Gezhouba, PowerChina, China Railway Construction, ZTE, DiDi, and Xiaomi, among others.
The Bank of China (BOC), the China Development Bank (CDB), the China CITIC Bank, the Export–Import Bank of China (Eximbank), and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) are among the entities that will finance infrastructure works in Argentina. Some of the projects that will receive financing are:
The AMBA 1 Project, a transmission line that will benefit eight million users of the Edenor, Edesur, and Edelap electrical energy distributors.
The repowering of Belgrano Cargas II, a rehabilitation project that foresees new railroad works and the purchase of railway cars for a total amount of US$816 million.
The Roca Railroad project US$ 236 million investment expects to add 200 cars, which will enable the line to be re-equipped to guarantee comfort and passenger improvements.
The lithium exploitation project and solar park in Cauchari IV and V, Jujuy, foresees an US$ 250 million investment to be financed by Eximbank.
The CITIC Bank will finance sewage and water plant works for AySA, a state-owned Argentine company that provides running water and sewer services, in Esteban Echeverria-Ezeiza, Laferrere, and San Justo, in Buenos Aires, for US$650 million.