An investment and infrastructure works deal with China that passed the Argentine Senate in the embers of last year overrides local laws, is shrouded in secrecy, fosters lack of transparency, and will have a high economic cost for beleaguered Argentina, international relations pundits say, echoing concerns vented by the opposition.
Among the main criticism, the framework agreement establishes that contracts involving Chinese companies and Chinese financing will be awarded directly, without due tender, and also will allow China to bring in its own manpower, a clause that sparked the outrage of Argentina"s building workers union UOCRA.
The Senate vote is the preliminary approval of a deal signed between Peronist President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and visiting Chinese President Xi Jingping on July 16.
It was passed last Monday by 36 votes against 13 thanks to the majority Fernández de Kirchner"s Peronist-led Victory Front coalition in the Upper House. The bill has thus been cleared for debate in the Lower House, also controlled by the government with the help of allies.
Argentina is holding elections in October in which Fernández de Kirchner cannot seek a third straight term after having been elected in 2007 and reelected in 2011.
The administration is cornered by a deep economic crisis and a flurry of corruption cases. It is a staunch ally of South America"s left-leaning governments such as those of Venezuela and Bolivia, and is confronted by the US.
The agreement with Beijing is part of a wider "economic neo-colonialism" strategy on the part of China — now the leading economic power, although not in per capita terms — that includes challenging the US in its "home" area of influence: Latin America. Beijing has already applied that strategy in Africa through similar agreements that include mammoth public works, the experts say.
http://www.buenosairesherald.com/articl ... with-china
The numbers are hard to pin down. Mr French reckons that the million cited in his book’s title may be an underestimate. Most of them, he says, came to work on big projects, then stayed on as adventurous entrepreneurs on their own or in family groups. Chinese companies bring far more of their own people to work in menial jobs than Western companies would ever do. Mr French says that in 2011 China’s parliament debated a proposal, admittedly fanciful, to deploy as many as 100m people in Africa. The rumour circulating widely in Africa that many of the more roughneck types of Chinese incomer are prison labourers is, he says, entirely baseless.
The trade and investment figures are hard to verify, too. According to one source used by Mr French, “China’s Export-Import Bank extended $62.7 billion in loans to African countries between 2001-2010, or $12.5 billion more than the World Bank.” Other figures go even higher. What is clear, at any rate, is that Chinese people and money have flooded into Africa in the past decade, chiefly to buy raw materials to fuel China’s roaring economy.
What is tantalisingly unclear is whether the Chinese economic onslaught is the result of a methodical policy fashioned in Beijing as part of an imperialist venture to promote “Chinese values” and dominate the continent as Europeans did a century ago, or whether it has become a self-generating process fired up by individual Chinese who are simply keen to enrich themselves without the slightest intention of kowtowing to the authorities back home.
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I am old enough to remember when the Babylonians were deriding the Hittites for meddling in the affairs of far-away places.GJJIM wrote:I'm old enough to remember when the Chinese derided the U.S. as a unwanted "hegemon", meddling in the affairs of far away places.