Visit feeds agricultural relations

Updated: 2014-07-21 06:44

By WU JIAO in Buenos Aires (China Daily Latin America)

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Visit feeds agricultural relations

President Xi Jinping visits Republic Manor, 70 kilometers from Buenos Aires, on Saturday. Xi is making a state visit to Argentina. [Lan Hongguang / Xinhua]

Argentina welcomed President Xi Jinping with horse and tango performances on Saturday.

During a reception at Republic Manor, 70 kilometers from Buenos Aires, Xi pledged to enhance agricultural cooperation between the two major agricultural countries.

The 5,000-hectare manor, dating to the 17th century, combines state-of-the-art advanced agricultural technology and traditional Argentine culture, and boasts thousands of heads of top-bred horses, cattle and sheep.

During his three-hour visit to the manor, Xi was treated to performances featuring two of Argentina's most celebrated national treasures — horsemanship and the tango.

When horsemen in traditional costumes rode across the vast pasture waving the national flags of the two nations, Xi and his delegation burst into applause.

Promoting agricultural cooperation with Argentina has been a major topic on Xi's agenda.

Noting that China had to feed a large population with limited arable land, Xi stressed that the countries had great potential to cooperate in the agricultural sector.

Xi said the countries should enhance their cooperation in agriculture by increasing trade and investment and enhancing technology.

Julian Dominguez, president of Argentina's lower house of Congress and former agriculture minister, accompanied Xi on his visit, showcasing Argentina's wine and olive oil and proposing more exports of these products to the Chinese market.

Argentina has a well-developed agricultural industry and abundant natural resources. Its annual soy output, at around 50 million tons, makes it the world's third-largest soy producer.

China has limited arable land per capita and has a growing need for cereals as its population grows wealthier and demands more diversified and higher-quality foods.

Argentina's abundant and quality foods can find a vast market in the world's most populous country.

China is Argentina's biggest market for agricultural exports, its second-largest trade partner and its third-biggest investor.

Agriculture has always occupied a central place in China-Argentina trade ties.

In the past three years, Argentina's agricultural exports to China were steady at $5 billion annually.

The Argentine firm Biogenesis Bago established a production base in China to produce vaccines against foot and mouth disease, becoming the first foreign firm authorized by China to operate in that sector.