Under the leaden sky of Beijing, Sergio Massa moved today through the political capital of China with presidential treatment. Several motorcycles made way for the entourage. And at the Saint Regis hotel, where the U.S. and Chinese flags are staying and flying together, guards stand guard for 24 hours in front of the suite where the economy minister is staying. By the way, this pomp transcends the protocol of a bureaucracy inspired by Confucius and that usually gives its signals in this way.
Massa had meetings with officials at the top of power, which also gave him other kinds of signals. At the nine-course banquet and with small glasses of rice liquor for the kan-pai, that toast with a white background, so common here, had to respondto several questions.
They raised the lack of fluidity of trade, the excess of anti-dumping investigations that in the Argentine case represent 50% of the complaints that China faces in the World Trade Organization, the delay in dealing with an agreement to avoid double taxation of Chinese companies based in Argentina and even insisted on the need for a free trade agreement with Mercosur. a path that Uruguay undertook.
The banquet was offered at the residence of the chancellery where he had already stayed in 2017 invited by the Chinese Communist Party.
There he had a long conversation with Xiu Xiaoqui, the Chinese government's special representative for Latin American affairs. Curiously, the Chinese seem to move in mirror with the U.S. Massa has avery close, almost fraternal relationship with Juan Gonzalez, Washington's special representative for Latin America.
At lunch, Xiaoqui sat between Massa and Pesce and according to a witness "subjected them to a two-hour interrogation." He also wanted to know about the definitions of political parties, how sectors they consider strategic such as mining, energy and agribusiness will grow, and what will be the progress in trade with yuan. Xuaoqui was interested in the region and asked him how he thought the evolution of Colombia could be after the triumph of Petro and the succession of López Obrador in Mexico. "Argentina has a destiny of progress in a world of protein, mineral and technology. We are complementary partners but we do not want to be harassed with falsehoods, "he launched in one of the toasts to claim neutrality regarding the adoption of 5G technology led by Huawei in the sense that each company can choose. Massa spoke to him about the drama of drought and an optimistic vision for energy independence with gas pipelines, the development of lithium and minerals as well as the leap in productivity due to the application of the knowledge economy in the field. "We will export $180 billion by 2030," he promised.
The official, who after the pandemic visited 12 countries in Latin America, replied: "You suffer colonizing attacks from the United States for the dollar and extortion from multilaterals (organizations such as the IMF). We cooperate, we do not extort," he said, reiterating that China supports the country on the IMF board.
Hours earlier, Massa was greeted by powerful Commerce Minister Wang Wentao at those immense, Soviet-style government buildings. Wentao was direct when he proposed that import controls and restrictions should be relaxed, according to the delegation.
He is nothing less than the promoter of a more open China that seeks to offer new incentives to multinationals amid tension with the United States. This week he was with Elon Musk, on his first trip to China after the pandemic, just as it was known that Tesl a, the electric vehicle that Musk launched to theworld in 2008 surpassed Toyota in sales. Musk called for cooperation between China and the United States. He's not the only one. Tim Cook, Apple boss Jamie Dimon, JP Morgan boss and Starbucks' Laxman Narasimhan spoke out similarly to Wentao these days.
In turn, in the meeting with the vice president of Eximbank, Zhang Wencai, Massa achieved good news for his friend of radicalism, Gerardo Morales: US $ 210 million arrive to expand the highest solar park in the world, Cauchari in Jujuy to 4,000 meters high. There were also financing lines to complete the Arauco solar and wind farm in La Rioja and finish works in Belgrano Cargas, San Martín and Urquiza.
Today it will be the turn of Agriculture Secretary Juan José Bahillo who brought a list of demands: resume exports of birds closed by avian flu and represent 45% of shipments from Argentina, open exports of bovine and pork offal and that China let wheat enter the humid pampas.
Beijing, special envoy