Argentina, China sign 'historic' farm trade deals

  Last Updated: Wednesday 1st of December 2010 12:20:00 AM +0800HKT

Argentina and China inked five farm product agreements during a visit to Beijing by Agriculture Minister Julian Dominguez to boost trade, officials here reported Tuesday.

"It's a historic moment," undersecretary for livestock Alejandro Lotti of the deals that cover meat, barley, dairy, apple and bamboo.

"The possibility of exporting beef to China is very important, because it is not limited to the most valuable cuts... China consumes all the animal's meat," Lotti said.

Dominguez called China a "vital interest" for Argentina as it has grown to become the South American country's main market for agriculture products, officials here said.

Argentina is China's third largest supplier of food, behind the United States and Brazil, and trade between the two countries has rocketed from four billion dollars in 2004 to 14 billion dollars in 2008, according to official figures.

Overall, China is Argentina's second largest trading partner after Brazil, and ahead of the European Union.

Argentina projects global agricultural exports of some 25 billion dollars for the 2010-2011 year, with China already its largest customer for soybean oils and other products, according to private estimates, with the new deals expected to further boost ties.

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