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FOREIGN POLICY, DEVELOPMENT, AND INTERNATIONAL STRATEGIES
TOWARDS ASIA PACIFIC: THE CASES OF ARGENTINA AND CHILE
FLORENCIA RUBIOLO
frubiolo@gmail.com
Associate Researcher at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET,
Argentina). PhD in International Relations (National University of Rosario). Director of the PhD
Program in International Relations and Professor of International Relations History at Córdoba
Catholic University (UCC)
PAOLA ANDREA BARONI
paobaroni@yahoo.com.ar
Researcher and professor at Universidad Siglo 21 (Córdoba, Argentina). PhD in International
Relations from Universidad Nacional de Rosario (Argentina)
.
Abstract
In the 21
st
century, the links between South America and the Asian region have been more
constant, and these links have had different interpretations according to their consequences
in the domestic South American economies, as well as their relation with the current
integration processes in the region and the different economic insertion strategies. It is
observed that there are differences in the way in which the South American countries insert
in Asia, so the aim of this work is to analyze the characteristics of the foreign policy and the
strategies of foreign insertion of Argentina and Chile towards China, South East Asia and India,
highlighting the articulation between the economic and productive structures, the
international insertion models and some economic implications. The case studies selected
represent two different development models that have chosen dissimilar foreign insertion
strategies, with the consequence of diverse relationships with the Asian region. The research
was carried out through a qualitative methodology and a South American theoretical
perspective.
Keywords
Asian region, development model, international insertion strategy, foreign policy, South
America
How to cite this article
Rubiolo, Florencia; Baroni, Paola Andrea (2020). "Foreign policy, development, and
international strategies towards Asia Pacific: The cases of Argentina and Chile". In Janus.net,
e-journal of international relations. Vol. 11, No. 2 Consulted [online] at date of last visit, DOI:
https://doi.org/10.26619/1647-7251.11.2.5
Article received in October 14, 2019 and accepted for publication on August 3, 2020
JANUS.NET, e-journal of International Relations
e-ISSN: 1647-7251
Vol. 11, Nº. 2 (November 2020-April 2021), pp. 74-89
Foreign policy, development, and international strategies towards Asia Pacific:
the cases or Argentina and Chile
Florencia Rubiolo, Paola Andrea Baroni
75
FOREIGN POLICY, DEVELOPMENT, AND INTERNATIONAL STRATEGIES
TOWARDS ASIA PACIFIC: THE CASES OF ARGENTINA AND CHILE
FLORENCIA RUBIOLO
PAOLA ANDREA BARONI
Introduction
In the 21
st
century, East Asia surges as a world economic growth and development region
due to, in part, the relocation of production as a consequence of the competitive
advantages the Asian region provides, such as the low costs of production, which are a
result of the cheap labor and the investment incentives. China’s consolidation as a main
producer of manufactures and, recently, as a source of investments, as well as Southeast
Asia (SEA)
1
and India’s consolidation as markets for raw material exports, have turned
the region into an economic alternative for countries that are in search of diversification.
South America and the Asian continent have had occasional links throughout their
histories due to cultural, geographic, historical and political reasons. The links boosted
with the end of the Cold War; with the boom of the economic growth of China, SEA and
India, and with the implementation of trade openness and liberalization of economic
measures in the South American countries that favored the search of new markets to
export raw material and its by-products. In this context, Latin American started revaluing
the Asia Pacific region in their foreign agendas within a search for diversification (Mols
and Faust, 1998).
In the 21
st
century, the links between these two regions have been more constant due
to the growing multilateralism in the international system, the raise of commercial
interdependence, the globalization of finances, the progress of communication and
transport, among others. However, these links have had different interpretations
according to their consequences in the domestic South American economies, as well as
their relation with the current integration processes in the region and the different
economic insertion strategies that result in a competence for market shares and for
interregional investments.
The links between South America and the east and south of Asia have not been deeply
explored in the academic research since the bilateral and multilateral relations are still
1
For the purposes of this piece, the countries that are part of ASEAN-6 shall be considered: Indonesia,
Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore, since they are the main commercial partner in the
South American region.
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under a consolidation process. Most East Asian academic work on Latin America focus on
the comparison of economic policies, divergent economic performance and the causes
and consequences for both regions.
2
Likewise, very few works present analytical frames
that may go beyond the statistical analysis of the links and that, at the same time, make
it possible to compare dissimilar cases
3
.
Due to the need to go deeper into the intrinsic differences in the way in which the South
American countries insert in Asia, the aim of this work is to analyze the characteristics of
the foreign policy and the strategies of foreign insertion of Argentina and Chile towards
China, South East Asia and India, highlighting the articulation between the economic and
productive structures, the international insertion models, and the main economic
implications.
To this end, we take into consideration the effect produced by the growing dependence
on the East Asian markets, mainly in the following aspects: a) characteristics and
implications of Argentina and Chile's bilateral policies in their relation with Asia Pacific;
b) the degree of partners and/or markets diversification for exports; c) the changes in
the export structure that may have an impact on the productive structures (concentration
in primary products and manufactures of agricultural origin [MAO]).
The cases selected are Argentina and Chile because they represent two different
development models and they have chosen dissimilar international strategies, leading to
diverse relationships with the Asian region. On the one hand, the Andean country opted
for a neoliberal development model, with a productive structure oriented to the primary
sector and an international strategy based on open regionalism with a dense network of
free trade agreements (FTA). Argentina, since 2003, has implemented a neo-
developmentalism model based on a more diversified productive structure and an
international strategy based on a semi-closed regionalism.
Concepts from a South American theoretical perspective
Development models and international strategies
To understand the economic implications in Chile and Argentina of the commercial
relations with Asia Pacific, we must draw on local concepts related to foreign policy and
the articulation between development models and international strategies.
2
In this respect, Lee & Kim (2018) analyze the innovation systems and the relation to economic performance
in Latin America and East Asia, from a developmental perspective; Zhang (2007) discusses the relation
between foreign direct investment and economic growth in both regions; and Lin (1989) also focuses on
the comparison of economic performance and development policies in East Asia and Latin America.
3
Before the 21
st
century, studies about Asia and LAC were concentrated in Japan, South Korea and some
aspects of China (e.g. Taiwan). Since 2000, studies on the links between LAC and Asia-Pacific were first led
by international organizations such as the ECLAC, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the World
Bank among others-, due to the economic complementarity of the regions and the possibilities that this
fact meant for economic growth and development. The analysis concentrated on economic, commercial and
infrastructure dimensions. When the links started to grow and strengthen later on, studies on China
skyrocketed and studies on Southeast Asia and India started to flourish, including other aspects like politics,
culture, diplomacy, cooperation, etc. Due to the increased impact of these countries in the foreign policies
of LAC countries, last decade has witnessed a higher amount of academic initiatives which have been carried
out from different analytical frameworks, like foreign policy analysis. This paper is included in this last
category.
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First, we set off from a wide definition of foreign policy, which is understood as a state
policy “that is planned and designed taking into account national objectives, domestic
demands, and conditions that arise from the external frame” (Colacrai, 2006: 25). It is
the combination of State decisions and actions projected abroad that combine multiple
conditionings of the internal and external levels. According to Van Klaveren (1992), since
Latin American economies are part of a developing world, it is development the domestic
imperative that determines the States' external decisions. It is not just about assessing
the foreign policy in terms of its contribution to the promotion of exports and trade and
financial stability, but also in terms of the ability to transform the international variables
“in a more favorable way for the achieving a development strategy” (Van Klaveren,
1984:36). We agree on the fact that there is a common condition in the influence the
development imperatives have on Latin American foreign policies. However, the way in
which these goals are projected abroad is not homogeneous. Therefore, we distinguish
the different models of approaching Asia, and these distinctions will be based in the
material abilities mainly economic structures of the countries under study and in the
preexistent regional commitments, which have shaped, in different ways, the foreign
policy and economic strategy decisions.
As a main premise we consider there is a connection between a country's productive and
export structures, and its international strategy, as well as with its foreign policy. This
connection is not always linear, since a country's productive structure imposes domestic
condition not only to the international economic policy, but also to foreign policy, in terms
of commercial partners and regional integration.
Bernal Meza (2000) states that foreign policy analysis cannot be separated from the
development or international economic model. The development model includes “the way
in which the policy and the economy connect, between the State and the market, in
certain context. Each model has its own way of wealth accumulation, production and
distribution, as well as a foreign insertion strategy. Because of this, the currency
exchange patterns, the foreign trade regulations and the demands in foreign negotiations
will differ” (Zelicovich, 2012: 6). That is to say that as domestic conditionings of the
external action of the South American countries towards the Asian region, the influence
of the productive model and, within it, the roles of the State and the market, should be
considered central when defining economic decisions.
Each model of development has a specific international strategy, which can be
understood as the strategy used by the States in their interaction with the international
system. According to Lorenzini (2011) this strategy expresses the choices made by a
State regarding foreign policy orientations and guidelines that it implements in order to
relate with other actors in different spheres, such as the political, economic and security
ones.
A highly determinant element in the international economic strategies of the countries
under study is the preexistence of a primary export model that, in the case of Argentina,
is combined with an industrial model based on regional agreements (Southern Common
Market [MERCOSUR, by its Spanish acronym]) and mainly oriented to the domestic and
Latin American markets. The latter also presupposes “a gradualist strategy where the
protection and the economic action of the state play a main role, the aim is to have more
autonomy from the center” (Guillén, 2008:25).
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To conclude, both countries present heterogeneous productive structures which directly
affect how international economic insertion takes place, thus turning into the material
conditions on which the external strategies are built, and reflecting different ways of
interaction and intervention between State and market, which show different
development model.
Diversification, neoextractivism and the role of emerging economies
In the early 21
st
century, and especially since the 2008 crisis, the South American States
opted to expand their commercial partners to increase their autonomy, improve their
international insertion and mitigate the effects of the crisis diversifying partners and
attracting investments. The combination of domestic conditions, an unstable
international economic context and a growing competition between developing countries
for market shares and investments favored the approach of South America to China and,
to a lesser extent, to the main economies in SEA and India.
The diversification became a tool to reach higher levels of autonomy reducing the
economic and political dependency, to avoid the discrimination of integration processes
and to improve the participation in the world economy so as not to end up in the periphery
(Olivet, 2005). Asia Pacific, with its high rates of economic growth, appeared as the best
option for an alternative economic insertion to the traditional partners. The result,
combined with Asian regional conditions, has been the multiplication of commercial
partners in most of the countries in the region, with a high participation of the Asian
countries among the destination of he South American exports, and having China the
main role.
In this sense, we have observed that, in the case of Argentina, there has been a reduction
of the export concentration to the first five destinations between 2003
4
and 2019:
whereas in 2003 it represented 51%, in 2019 it plunged to 41% (Brazil, China, the United
States, Chile and Vietnam). In the case of Chile, we have observed a growing
concentration of the sales in the same period to its five main destination partners, but a
growing involvement of the most important Asian markets. In 2003, 47% of the country's
exports went to its main partners, while in 2019 that participation increased to 66%
(China, the United States, Japan, South Korea and Brazil) (UN Comtrade, 2020).
It has been noticed that the process of diversification of export destinations shows
positive results in the case of Argentina, whereas in the case of Chile, there has been the
opposite effect. We understand that signing bilateral FTAs with economies such as the
United States and China has caused a greater concentration of commercial partners for
Chilean exports.
As regards the composition of the export basket, there is a growing concentration of
primary products and their byproducts in the South American exports. This concentration
is connected to the international division of labor which has led to an economic growth
of the Asian countries and the improvement of its citizens' standard of living, which
4
We have selected the year 2003 because we consider it the beginning of the impact of the commodity boom
rapid increase of prices of commodities due to growing demand from emerging economies- in Latin America
that started in 2002. This will allow us to see the change during diversification.
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produces a raise of commodities consumption (Frechero, 2013), thus boosting primary
South American exports.
Despite this phenomenon, we have noticed that, in the chosen cases, there has been a
steady participation distribution of each of the big areas in the exports between 2005
and 2015. In the case of Argentina, in 2005 the manufactures exports accounted for
30.7% of the total, and those of primary products 69.3%; while in 2015 the manufactures
represented 29.4% and primary products held a 70.6% of participation. In the case of
Chile, the scenario is similar as regards stability, although the composition of the basket
shows a higher concentration of raw material. In 2005, the manufactures accounted for
13.7% of the participation in the basket, whereas the primary products represented
86.3%. In 2015, the participations in the baskets were 14.4% and 85.6% respectively in
the total of the Chilean sales to the world (ECLAC, 2016)
5
.
In both cases, the export basket has a high component of primary products and their
byproducts which is related to the international conditions before mentioned, and to the
important raise of the international prices of commodities.
Nacht (2013) and Bittencourt (2012) explain some of the implications that the
concentration of commodities' sales may have for the internal development of South
American countries. Firstly, the commerce of South America with China highlights the
region's role as raw material supplier. This favors the fragility of the economic insertion
strategy conditioned by the “swings of the good and bad harvests (in the case of the
agricultural products), as well as by the volatility and deterioration of the exchange
terms” (Nacht, 2013: 151). Secondly, Bittencourt (2012) states that the main
primarization of the South American economies and the growing competition with China
in industrial areas in particular with the MERCOSUR represents a problem for the
South American development in the long term.
These changes have put the phenomenon of extractivism back in the spotlight, together
with its consequences for the development of the countries in which it is a central trait
for their productive structures (Gudynas, 2012). Gudynas (2009) talks about progressive
neo-extractivism to describe the 21
st
century phenomenon in South America, where
different premises are combined: a) development is conceived based on extractivist
sectors; b) there is a greater presence and active role of the State, which seeks
legitimation by means of redistributing the surplus obtained; c) generate an international
insertion dependent on raw materials and subordinate to the power centers; d) deeper
territorial fragmentation, social and environmental impacts, among others.
In South America, this phenomenon is shown in extractive activities such as the
development and deepening of the open-pit mining already existing and in the oil
exploration and exploitation. There has also been a change in the practice of agriculture,
and export monocultures such as soy have been promoted (Gudynas, 2009). Slipak
(2012) adds that prices of commodities generate a high opportunity cost if production
factors are not destined to these activities, thus facilitating this model's continuity.
5
For 2019 the trends are similar: in the case of Argentina primary products accounted for 27% of total
exports; fuel and energy 7%; MOA 37%, and Manufactures of Industrial Origin (MIO) 29% (INDEC, 2020).
In the case of Chile, mineral products accounted for 52% of total exports; agriculture, livestock, forestry
and fishing 10%, and industrial goods 38% (SUBREI, 2020).
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Besides, until mid-2014, there was a national currency appreciation, which raised the
incentive of the import of middle and final goods, and the export of primary products and
MAO (Durán Lima and Pellandra, 2017).
Maristella Svampa (2019), who coined the concept commodities consensus to explain the
large-scale exports of primary products, economic growth and the increase of
consumption due to neo-extractivism, said that the economic opportunities that the
increased prices and demand of commodities generated, led to another concept:
developmentalist illusion. According to Svampa, regional governments either
progressive or conservative- thought that it would be possible, thanks to these new
economic openings, to shorten the distance with the industrialized countries so as to
achieve development.
Actually, the strong income that the South American States have received due to this
kind of exports caused more disincentive to the development of the national industry and
supported the continuity of an unfavorable exchange for the South American region
(Slipak, 2012; Nacht, 2013). An absence of industrial policy can be observed in almost
the majority of the countries in the region, and in those where there is one, it has
defensive characteristics, which does not make the adaptation to new technological
models possible (ECLAC, 2016).
In this sense, this type of commodity economy, without an innovation policy, has shown
the problem of the lack of diversification of the productive matrix. The Fourth Industrial
Revolution is characterized by the development and implementation of the artificial
intelligence, internet of the things, additive manufacture, biotechnology, big data, block
chain, among others, and Latin American countries are behind in these fields. In a global
knowledge-driven economy, the Latin America region assigns scarce resources to
research and development (R&D), representing only 0.6% of the regional GDP (RICYT,
2019) and, as a consequence, has a limited number of researchers in the STEM area,
lack of incentives to research and a poor generation of patents and licenses (representing
only 2% of world’s total) (OMPI, 2020).
So, the dependence on this type of production specialization based on products intensive
in labor and natural resources-, increases the State's vulnerability to external changes
many times linked to weather, social and political factors (Nacht, 2013) and, at the
same time, decreases its margin of economic, commercial and political autonomy. To
complete the scenario, this insertion model strengthens the foreign direct investment
(FDI) presence which focuses on the extraction of natural resources or their basic
processing, reinforcing the specialization pattern of the region and making the
development of low technological content activities stronger (Dussel Peters and Armony,
2018).
To conclude, the economic and productive structure of the South American countries is
affected not only by the damages to the exchange terms, but also by the deceleration of
the Chinese FDI, as well as its exports and imports and those of the SEA countries and
India. This shows the vulnerability faced by those countries focused in a development
model based on products with little added value.
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Divergent international strategies towards East Asia: Chile and
Argentina
Since Argentina and Chile's development models present structural differences, their
international economic strategies also show dissimilar characteristics.
Regarding Chile, the international insertion strategy is based on the premises of unilateral
commercial openness, financial liberalization and economic deregulation, which gives
priority to the open regionalism and to the signing of preferential and free trade
agreements. The main results of this model, promoted between 1973 and 1990 and
continued by the democratic governments until now, have been a steady growth of
natural resources exports, the concentration in big extra-regional commercial partners,
a decrease of non-traditional exports and the disincentive of the development of
industrial manufactures, among others (Aninat del Solar, 2007).
In line with this, and with a pragmatic vision of insertion, in economic terms, Chilean
foreign policy followed a commercial agenda oriented to growth by means of primary
exports (Colacrai and Lorenzini, 2005). In the political sphere there is also the privilege
given to the multilateral negotiation instances, which had a main role in the country's
rapprochement with Pacific Asia (Quezada, 2010).
Under this vision, the Asia Pacific region became a pillar in the Chilean foreign policy. The
military government had the capacity to see that the development of new links with Asian
countries could alleviate the limitations faced by the State due to its international political
situation of isolation
6
. The democratic governments that followed, continue with a policy
of deepening and strengthening the relations with these countries, especially due to the
need of the international re-insertion of the country (Wilhelmy, 2010).
In accordance with this, a dense network of agreements multiplied and consolidated: the
signing of FTAs with South Korea (2003), China (2006), Malaysia (2012), Vietnam
(2014), Hong Kong (2014) and Thailand (2015); the negotiation of a FTA with Indonesia,
an Economic Partnership Agreement with Singapore (called P-4 in 2008) and a
Preferential Trade Agreement with India (PTA) (2007). Some conditions that favored this
dynamic rapprochement were the economic complementation, the Chilean need for big
markets to insert exports, and the Asian Commercial opening and liberalization policy
that also privileged the signature of FTA. This is added to the Asian growing demand for
resources to sustain an industrialization process that is developing fast, which made the
rapprochement to the trans-Andean country first producer and exporter of copper and
byproducts natural.
In the case of Argentina, and taking into account the period since the redemocratization
until now, the development model has varied, from imports replacement to a neoliberal
model in the 90s, to another neo-developmentalism from 2003 up to 2015. This way, the
foreign policy and the international insertion strategies went through changes and
adjustments with each of these models. The only characteristic that prevails since the
end of the Cold War has been the adoption of a closed regionalism, with the aim of
widening the domestic markets and developing an industrialization policy.
6
The military government (1973-1990) suffered from international restrictions due to the violations of
political, social and human rights.
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Historically, Argentina’s foreign policy towards Asia has a scarce background because the
region has been considered distant from local interests. It gained visibility in the 80’s
when a group of countries emerged in the international economy. Under Alfonsín’s
government, fresh impetus towards the Asian region could be observed due to the need
of new sources of external financing as well as new alternatives to international insertion
(Cardozo, 2008). The main feature that has characterized the links with this region has
been the commercial and economic aspects that in only few occasions have been
accompanied by governmental political initiatives. Most of these actions were
concentrated in the decade of the nineties, when the Southeast Asian region received
great attention by the government and its diplomacy (Baroni & Rubiolo, 2013).
Leaving the convertibility plan by devaluating the national currency in 2002, together
with the increase of the international price of commodities, favored the adoption of an
economic growth model based on exports with a high component of primary products
and MAO, whose main destinations are the Asian economies. Likewise, the limited
opening of the market and the closed regionalism made it possible to keep the
industrialization process, thus ensuring Latin American markets for the country's
industrial exports.
Taking into account this commercial insertion double logic, the Asian region acquired
relevance within the Argentinean foreign agenda as an agricultural exports receptor, in
line with China, SEA and India's growing demand. The foreign policy towards these
countries followed the trend and, gradually, the political actions to approach the main
markets began multiplying by means of high rank state visits, trade missions, and the
signing of diverse bilateral agreements, among others (Rubiolo, 2017).
Trade as rapprochement key: characteristics and implications
The commercial dimension has been key both for Argentina and Chile in their bilateral
links with Asia. In general terms, the Asian nations became important partners in the
last 15 years. The differences are focused, mainly, in China, SEA and India's participation
as destination and origin markets of both South American countries' goods.
In the case of Argentina, China is the third sales destination and second origin at a global
level. Since 2008, there has been a steady increase of imports coming from this market:
in 2018 the total of goods coming from China represented 19% of Argentina's global
purchases. Meanwhile, Argentina's sales had a fluctuating movement that led to a
reduction of the percentage destined to China to 6.8% in 2008. This information shows,
on the one side, the asymmetric relation between exports and imports that causes a
constant negative trade balance for Argentina in relation to the Asian giant which, since
2014, is over 6,000 million dollars (ALADI, 2019; UN Comtrade, 2020). At the same time,
we notice that Argentina is more dependent on the Chinese market as manufactured
goods supplier rather than as destination of local sales, where we observe more diversity.
Chile's commercial relation with China is different from that of Argentina. Firstly, Chile
and China have a FTA in place since October 2006 which has had an impact on the
bilateral commercial link: both Chilean exports and imports from the Asian giant have
had an incremental steady pace since 2008, turning it into the trans-Andean country's
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first commercial partner (as destination and origin market). In 2018, Chinese goods
accounted for 23% of the world Chilean purchases, and Chile destined 33% of its exports
to China. In both senses there is a growth regarding the previous year which continues
a constant line since 2008 (UN Comtrade, 2020). Unlike the case of Argentina, we see
that Chile's foreign commerce has a high and growing degree of dependence on Chinese
market, which shows a progressive trend to a larger commercial concentration.
Now, if we take a look at the numbers regarding Chile's relation with SEA, the situation
is considerably different, since the concentration in the Chinese market has damaged the
commercial links with partners in the region who are less important, but more similar
economically and politically. The SEA is a secondary partner: the exports have shown a
decreasing trend, which in 2018 reached a total of 1000 million dollars regarding the six
main economies. This figure represents only 1.4 % of the total Chilean sales to the world.
As regards imports, although slightly superior, they were not representative either: a
regional total of 2300 million dollars that account for 3.2% of Chile's world exports (UN
Comtrade, 2020). In both senses, we see how irrelevant SEA is as a commercial insertion
market for the South American country.
In the case of India there is a similar situation. Although there is a PTA which boosted
Chilean exports and made the markets diversification easier, it is not a strategic partner
for the trans-Andean country, despite its market's potential. Between 2012-2018 the
average participation as Chile's exports destination was of 2.7%, the highest point being
in 2014 (3.4%), with exports for 2571 million dollars. Regarding imports, they do not
show a quantitative leap, since they represent less than 1% of Chile's total imports during
the same period. This shows a constant positive commercial balance for the trans-Andean
country (UN Comtrade, 2020).
On another note, Argentina's commercial relationship with SEA went through a unique
deepening process in South America since 2003, with more intensity since 2008, which
made it possible to avoid the concentration on Chinese market as sales destination: in
2018 the Argentinean sales to the six main economies of the SEA exceeded the 4500
million dollars, which accounts for 7% of Argentina's total sales to the world. Among the
destination countries in the region, Vietnam and Indonesia stand out as the main buyers.
For their part, imports that have also had a steady growth are not important for the
Argentinean commerce since, currently, they only account for 4% of the country's total
purchases (UN Comtrade, 2020).
As regards the commercial relation with India, there has been a progressive increase of
its role as Argentina's exports destination since 2010 and with greater emphasis since
2014, when it was included in the Export Increase and Diversification Program
7
. Its
average participation as exports destination in the period 2012-2018 was 2.7%. As
regards imports from India, they show a greater plateau and little growth, going through
a participation of 0.9% in 2012 to 1.3% in 2019. In this case, we can also observe a
positive commercial balance for the South American country (UN Comtrade, 2020).
What is peculiar about Argentina's relation with China and SEA and India is the triangular
commerce configuration: China concentrates the main imports flow, while exports go,
7
Program started in 2013 whose aim was to improve Argentina's exports both quantitative and qualitative
by means of partners and products diversification.
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e-ISSN: 1647-7251
Vol. 11, Nº. 2 (November 2020-April 2021), pp. 74-89
Foreign policy, development, and international strategies towards Asia Pacific:
the cases or Argentina and Chile
Florencia Rubiolo, Paola Andrea Baroni
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mainly, to SEA and India's markets. This way, Argentina set a commercial insertion
strategy with larger market diversification than Chile, besides adding markets that are
no big world economies, such as Vietnam and Indonesia, and other emerging country
such as India, to the ranking of main partners thus shaping a South-South commercial
insertion.
One of the main characteristics of both countries' commerce with East and the South of
Asia is the exports concentration in a few products. In the case of Chile, four products
account for the 83% of sales to China: copper ore and its byproducts, Iron ore and wood
pulp. Exports to India follow a similar pattern, with more than 90% concentrated in three
products: copper ore and its byproducts, wood pulp and iodine (ALADI, 2019).
Argentina's exports also show a high level of concentration in agricultural products. Sales
to SEA are formed, mainly, by soybean, maize and wheat pellets, that represent
approximately 85% of what is sold to the region. Those sent to China are mainly
soybeans, oil, fish and sunflower oil, and they account for 82% of what is sold to the
country. In the case of India, the concentration is higher since the main exported product
is soy oil, whose participation fluctuated between 72% and 90% in the period 2012-2018
(ALADI, 2019).
As we mentioned, South American imports of Chinese products have gone through a
growing process since the early 2000. The two main import areas are textile and
confection, and IT, machinery and electronics (ALADI, 2019). The quick growing process
of imports increased the governmental and business concern about the impact on local
production, on employment and on th