Buenos Aires, Jan 10 (EFE).- Argentine President Alberto Fernandez on Tuesday met with Japan’s foreign minister, Yoshimasa Hayashi, to strengthen economic and diplomatic ties between the two countries, government officials with the South American nation said.
At the close of the meeting, Argentine Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero emphasized Japan’s “very important” investments in Argentina, specifically in the automotive sector.
“The president emphasized the work that is being done by Toyota in Argentina, a firm of Japanese capital that is working three shifts,” Cafiero said, adding that 70 percent of Toyota’s production coming out of its Zarate plant, in Buenos Aires province, is being exported to other nations.
According to the Argentine foreign minister, Fernandez and Hayashi discussed the possibility of transforming the Strategic Association between the two countries into a Global Strategic Association, which would constitute “one more step” in tightening bilateral links.
“It’s something that we’ve committed ourselves to today in exploring and being able to move forward. This is going to bring possibilities for greater investment, closer links and, above all, coordination in multilateral entities,” said Cafiero, emphasizing Japan’s position within the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“Japan is very important in terms of the seat it occupies in the IMF and in the multilateral lending entities where Argentina still has ongoing programs,” he said, referring to the debt refinancing agreement signed by Argentina and the IMF in March 2022.
In that regard, the Argentine foreign minister recalled that after the “blow” delivered by the pandemic bilateral trade with Japan had recovered, with the exchange of goods rising to $1.862 billion in 2021, an interannual increase of about 79 percent and the biggest rise in the past six years, according to official figures.
Hayashi landed in Argentina on Monday as the next stop on a tour through Latin America which has also taken him to Mexico, Ecuador and Brazil.
The 61-year-old Japanese official began his visit in Buenos Aires by participating in a private meeting with representatives of Japanese companies doing business in Argentina, and later – along with Cafiero – he placed the traditional floral offering at the monument to liberator Jose de San Martin (1778-1850).
After that ceremony, Hayashi headed to the Casa Rosada, the seat of Argentina’s executive branch, to meet with President Fernandez.
“We’re to have a more extensive meeting now in the San Martin Palace with the foreign minister and with authorities from Japan who have come, where we’re going to develop part of the bilateral agenda and, above all, strengthen the projects we have ahead of us,” Cafiero said.
That bilateral agenda will also deal with cooperation on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and in satellite activities and technology, as well as with promoting bilateral trade and the development of investment projects, especially in the lithium, fertilizer, hydrogen, biotechnology and entrepreneurial “startup” sectors.