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Sunday, November 16, 2003

Argentina goes (where else?) to Asia

The Argentine chancellor Rafael Bielsa, together with representatives of Argentina's biggest companies, will begin in a couple of weeks a business tour through China and Japan.

A few years ago this might have been a trip to "exotic markets" looking for new opportunities, but nowadays Asia is the main destination for Argentine exports. And keep in mind that since the devaluation of the peso, and driven in part by Chinese demand for raw agricultural materials, exports have been the fiscal lifeline of the government, which in turns allows it to finance its social and political projects.

Still, Argentina isn't as oriented towards international commerce as some zones of China itself. According to this article mentioning the visit of Chinese businessmen to Argentina yesterday, the Guangdong province alone has the same GDP as Argentina, but five times its volume of international commerce (which, adding imports and exports, is higher than its own GDP!).

By the way, I can't help but wonder about whether Latin American businessmen, long used to doing business at, let's say, more of a personal than a strictly formal level, might find it easier to relate to unique Chinese relationship patterns like Guanxi than american and european executives coming from a different cultural background.

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