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TRADE WARS
China's Xi hails 'new horizons' in ties with Argentina
by Staff Writers
Buenos Aires (AFP) July 19, 2014


Strike at Chinese COSCO-run Greek dock called off: union
Athens (AFP) July 19, 2014 - A rare strike called at a Greek container terminal run by Chinese shipping giant COSCO has been called off, a union official said on Saturday.

Around 150 workers at the main port of Piraeus had on Friday said they would strike until Monday to demand back pay and improved labour conditions.

But on Saturday, the head of the federation of Greek port employees (Omyle), George Georgakopoulos, told AFP that agreement had been reached on some of the workers' demands and "the strike is called off."

The workers' grievances included low wages, not being allowed to unionise and unclear employment rules on the dock.

In 2008, as Greece plunged into a deep debt crisis, COSCO signed a 35-year concession to expand the two main container terminals at Piraeus. It plans to invest $230 million (170 million euros) in expansion works by 2020.

COSCO's involvement in Piraeus is one of Greece's top privatisation deals, and successive governments have courted Beijing for further investment as it labours to pull out of a six-year recession.

Greece and China last month signed investment and trade deals worth $6.5 billion (4.8 billion euros) during an official visit by Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang.

Relations between Argentina and China are poised to reach unprecedented "new horizons," Chinese President Xi Jinping told lawmakers in Buenos Aires during a summit visit Saturday.

Xi is on a Latin American charm offensive to secure bilateral trade deals -- particularly coveted raw materials -- from governments throughout the region.

China is Argentina's third-largest trading partner behind the South American Mercosur bloc and the European Union, and one of its main destinations for food exports.

"Our two countries find themselves at a historic crossroads," said Xi, as he met with Vice President Amado Boudou and the heads of both chambers of Argentina's legislature.

"We have just marked 10 years in the strategic association between Argentina and China and the time has come to open new horizons," he told lawmakers through a translator.

- 'Integral strategic importance' -

On Friday, the first day of his three-day visit, the Chinese leader called the China-Argentina relationship one of "integral strategic importance" for both sides.

Xi and President Cristina Kirchner signed more than 20 trade deals in hydropower, marine and rail industries worth $7 billion.

Among the agreements was a bilateral "strategic partnership," similar to others signed with emerging nations such as Brazil.

"I want to emphasize that we have signed an agreement to raise the level of our relations in order to turn them into a strategic partnership, along with investments in oil, mining, the nuclear field, agriculture and plant diseases," Xi said at the Casa Rosada presidential complex.

The two countries also announced Chinese plans for huge investment in hydroelectric power, shipbuilding, railways and a deal to help Argentina build its fourth nuclear plant.

China will contribute $4.4 billion toward the construction of two hydroelectric dams in Argentina's southern Santa Cruz province and an additional $2.1 billion to remodel strategic rail transportation for carrying goods, especially food.

It will also contribute $423 million for the construction of 11 ships.

- Opportunities for 'emerging nations' -

"In today's world, the best opportunities occur for emerging nations, as demonstrated in the recent BRICS summit in Brasilia," Kirchner said.

Xi also was in Brazil this week for a summit of the BRICS group of emerging powers -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- and South American presidents.

The gathering saw the countries agree to launch a New Development Bank to fund infrastructure projects in developing nations and an emergency reserve, drawing praise from Latin American leaders who see them as alternatives to Western-dominated financial institutions.

Following the BRICS summit, Xi signed deals with Brazil, met with regional leaders and proposed a $20 billion infrastructure fund that highlights Beijing's growing interests in the region.

On Sunday, Xi will continue on to Caracas, where he hopes to further develop his country's strategic relationship with the oil giant.

Trade between the two exceeded $20 billion in 2012 and China is the second largest buyer of Venezuelan oil.

The visit is Xi's second to Latin America since taking office last year, when he toured Mexico, Costa Rica, as well as Trinidad and Tobago.

China announces heavy investments in Argentina
Buenos Aires (AFP) July 19, 2014 - Visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping announced Friday huge investments in hydroelectric power, shipbuilding, railways and a deal to help Argentina build its fourth nuclear plant.

No total dollar figure was given.

Xi has pressed a charm offensive with Latin America since arriving in Brazil earlier this week.

Friday saw Argentina in the spotlight, with Xi signing more than 20 agreements with President Cristina Kirchner on the first day of his three-day visit.

Among the agreements was a bilateral "strategic partnership," similar to others signed with emerging nations such as Brazil.

"I want to emphasize that we have signed an agreement to raise the level of our relations in order to turn them into a strategic partnership, along with investments in oil, mining, the nuclear field, agriculture and plant diseases," Xi said, from the Casa Rosada presidential complex.

China will contribute $4.4 billion toward the construction of two hydroelectric dams in Argentina's southern Santa Cruz province and an additional $2.1 billion to remodel strategic rail transport for carrying goods, especially food.

It will also contribute $423 million for construction of 11 ships.

"In today's world, the best opportunities occur for emerging nations, as demonstrated in the recent BRICS summit in Brasilia," Kirchner said.

Xi was in Brazil this week for a summit of the BRICS group of emerging powers -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- and South American presidents.

The gathering saw the countries agree to launch a New Development Bank to fund infrastructure projects in developing nations and an emergency reserve, drawing praise from Latin American presidents who see them as alternatives to Western-dominated financial institutions.

Following the BRICS summit, Xi signed deals with Brazil Thursday, met with regional leaders and proposed a $20 billion infrastructure fund that highlights Beijing's growing interests in the region.

The visit is Xi's second to Latin America since taking office last year, when he toured Mexico, Costa Rica and Trinidad and Tobago.

Amid its push to expand business in South America, China has invested some $23 billion in Argentine hydrocarbons, mining, finance and agricultural exports.

China is Argentina's third-largest trading partner behind the South American Mercosur bloc and the European Union, and one of its main destinations for food exports.

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China leader signs Brazil deals on Latin America trip
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China's president pressed a charm offensive with Latin America on Thursday, signing deals with Brazil and meeting with regional leaders in a trip highlighting Beijing's bid to compete with the United States. President Xi Jinping was greeted with a military honor guard by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff before overseeing the signing of a raft of agreements during a state visit. Chinese ... read more


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