Argentina chums up China as partner for infra works

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Argentina's interior, public works and housing minister, Rogelio Frigerio, is leading a mission in Beijing aimed at improving strategic relations with the Chinese for the latter to finance infrastructure works in the South American nation.

"We see China as a strategic ally for our ambitious infrastructure program. There is significant interest in our country and in participating in this new stage of development," Frigerio said, according to a ministry release. He highlighted that "China has companies with experience, quality, and also banks willing to finance many projects for the competitive development of our country."

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Frigerio led a seminar on public works and infrastructure investments in Argentina which attracted more than 100 companies, and participated in various meetings with China's National Development and Reform Commission, which is the entity in charge of Chinese investments abroad. He also took part in a bilateral meeting with more than 15 firms and banks such as Eximbak, China's Industrial and Commercial Bank, the Bank of China, and China Development Bank.

In turn, the deputy minister of coordination of public works, Ricardo Delgado, added that "Chinese companies are not only interested, but have stated their urge to participate en masse," adding that "for this reason, between March and April of next year we will put out to tender water and housing projects for more than US$6.3bn, creating 60,000 jobs when they are in execution."

Among the projects presented by the minister were the Portezuelo del Viento dam in Mendoza, for involving the investment of US$800mn and creating 6,000 jobs; and the Potrero del Clavillo reservoir between Catamarca and Tucumán, requiring investments of US$1bn and generating another 6,000 jobs.

Other projects mentioned included irrigation projects in Neuquén, Chubut and Río Negro provinces, with investments of US$800mn and creating 5,000 jobs, the Formosa water pipeline, the national housing plan, and the potable water and wastewater expansion plan taking place in the metropolitan area of Greater Buenos Aires.

Finally, Frigerio presented various projects that are expected to begin in 2017, such as the Chihuido and El Tambolar dams in Neuquén province, and the Los Blancos dam in Mendoza province.