Tag Archives: Buenos Aires

China to invest $10B in Argentina’s railways

BEIJING (AP) – Argentina and China signed a deal for Beijing to invest $10 billion in the South American nation’s railways during a visit by the Argentine president but there was no sign of progress in a dispute over soy imports.

The agreements announced Tuesday during the visit by President Cristina Fernandez come as Beijing expands its role in Latin America through investments in oil and other industries and closer financial ties with the region’s governments.

The railway deals include a $2.5 billion project to upgrade the rail system of Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires, Chinese news reports said. They said projects would include the purchase of Chinese railway technology.

China is promoting exports of railway equipment andis trying to develop its own high-speed rail technology. A Chinese railway official said in March that state-owned companies are building high-speed lines in Venezuela and Turkey.

There was no sign of progress in a dispute over China’s ban on imports of Argentine soy, a key export for Fernandez’s nation. The Chinese government played down the ban, calling it a normal trade dispute.

The soy dispute is the most pressing issue for Fernandez, who was on the first trip to China by an Argentine president since 2004.

The railway deals were among a dozen agreements announced Tuesday.

Others included a memorandum of cooperation state-owned China Petroleum&Chemical Corp., also known as Sinopec, and state-owned Energia Argentina SA, or Enersa. No details were released.

There was no word on a possible Chinese purchase of BP plc’s stake in Argentina’s Pan American Energy, an oil and gas producer. News reports say BP might sell its 60 percent share to state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corp., which owns 20 percent of Pan American and wants to expand abroad.

Argentine exports of soy oil to China totaled $1.4 billion last year, accounting for a sizable chunk of two-way trade that strongly favored Beijing.

China imposed the soy ban April 1, after saying it found shipments containing excessive levels of hexane, a potentially cancerous chemical used in soy processing. The restrictions also came after Argentina last year imposed antidumping measures on some Chinese goods.

China has denied the soy ban is a retaliatory measure, while Argentina has said its soy products are not contaminated.

When asked Tuesday by reporters about the soy dispute, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman called Argentina an important partner in Latin America and said the problem should be resolved.

“Regarding the import of soybeanoil to China, it’s just a normal problem that comes with the development of trade and economic relations,” said the spokesman, Qin Gang. “I believe as long as the two countries follow the spirit of cooperation and mutual benefit and through friendly consultation, a proper resolution will be found.”

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Living in Argentina

Quality of life

The quality of life in Argentinais among the highest in the region and recognized worldwide. The 2009 Qualityof Life Index published by InternationalLiving ranked Argentina in 21st place among 194 countriesincluded in the survey, and placed it first among its peers in Latin America.Argentina is also included in the High Human Development category of the UNDP’sHuman Development Index (2009).

The Economist’sMost Livable Cities Index 2009 declared Buenos Aires as Latin America’s bestcity to live in, while Prices and Earnings UBS2009 established that the purchasing power of Buenos Aires residentsis higher than that of citizens living in any other capital in the region.


By air
Argentina has a modern air infrastructure: 58 airports, 23 of which are international. The Ministro Pistarini airport in Ezeiza, 22 km from the City of Buenos Aires connects directly to every major destination throughout the Americas and Europe. Because the country is so vast, air travel is a convenient option for travel and Buenos Aires is well connected to the other major cities in Argentina.

By land
There is a broad network of well-marked signposted national and provincial roads linking the main towns and villages throughout the country. Long-distance buses are an excellent travel option as they offer an extremely high standard of service and comfort. For long journeys, passengers can travel in fully reclining sleeper seats with a meal service not unlike flying first class on an international airline. There are also several international car hire agencies to choose from throughout the country.

By train
Rail is the main transport and communications network linking the City of Buenos Aires to its suburbs and the towns in the province of Buenos Aires, as well as some towns in other provinces. Others cover relatively short distances and are run for tourists: Tren de las Nubes, (the Train of the Clouds) in the province of Salta which climbs high up into the Andes and Tren del Fin del Mundo, (Train to the End of the World) which runs through a national park in Tierra del Fuego.
In the City of Buenos Aires, the subway and buses (colectivos) are the most popular means of transport, while many people also use taxis or cabs.

By sea and river
The country’s most important port, Buenos Aires, receives ocean and river vessels and is the arrival and departure base for a large part of the country’s trade. There are also major sea ports in La Plata, Bahía Blanca, Neuquén, San Antonio Oeste and Puerto Madryn. The main river ports are on the Paraná River, including Rosario, San Lorenzo, Santa Fe, Barranqueras, San Nicolás and Campana.


With a modern and competitive communications network, the country has the highest density of fixed and mobile lines in South America and the highest broadband penetration in the region (Cisco Broadband Barometer 2008). There are over nine million Internet users in the country and more than 500 WiFi locations in the main cities, in hotels, restaurants, bars and even the subway. Buenos Aires is recognized as the WiFi capital of Latin America with the highest concentration of wireless hot spots per inhabitant, surpassing cities such as Sao Paulo, Mexico City and Santiago de Chile. (Clarin iEco, November 2009).

Education system

Argentina’s education system is recognized for its high standards and boasts many prestigious international institutions, many of which are bilingual, trilingual or international (English, German, French, Italian, Hebrew, Japanese and Chinese, among others). Most of these establishments provide students with the opportunity to take the necessary exams to enter university programs abroad as well as enabling students to acquire the same qualifications as their peers in the countries of origin.

Health system

There are approximately 18,000 healthcare institutions distributed among the public and private sectors. Doctors and the healthcare services, which are accessible at affordable prices, hold well-deserved reputations for excellence. In fact, over the last few years, medical tourism has increased significantly with many patients flying in from other countries to receive treatment.

Real estate

As regards the real estate industry, there are countless residential options for visitors such as short-term rentals in modern towers with a full range of in-house facilities including swimming pools, tennis courts, gyms, movie theaters, restaurants, parking, laundry services and even child care facilities. There are also smaller units close to public transport hubs, or houses in residential districts. The cost per square meter varies significantly according to the kind of building and its location. There is an ample selection of real estate agents, many of which operate online, to make the process easier.

Eating out

Argentines are known for eating well, reflected in the vast array of restaurants, bars and gourmet food shops to be found in Buenos Aires and also in many other parts of the country, offering not only local delicacies but also international dishes. The range of options is broad and tempting: Italian trattorias, French bistros, Peruvian fusion, Japanese sushi bars, Mexican eateries, and several signature cuisine restaurants featuring highly accomplished chefs, as well as delicatessen shops and bakeries. Throughout the country, visitors can enjoy the popular Argentine specialties which have made its culinary reputation such as empanadas (meat turnovers), asado (barbecue) and a selection of outstanding wines.


Argentine cities offer a rich and varied assortment of cultural activities to suit all tastes: 928 museums, 2,813 playhouses and 448 movie theaters offer a program of national and international exhibitions and shows for adults and children alike. Activities and entertainment options are of extremely high quality, varied and very accessible in terms of costs. The government supports and encourages cultural activities; for example, the 2,191 public libraries in Buenos Aires, chosen by UNESCO to be “World Book Capital 2011”.

National holidays

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