Arab News | 6 January 2011
By MAHMOOD RAFIQUE | ARAB NEWS
MANAMA: Argentina, with a sophisticated agro-based industry, offers rare opportunities to the Bahraini and GCC investments in agriculture sector especially when the region is seeking investments for food security.
”Argentina will welcome investment from Bahrain in its agricultural sector so it can guarantee its own food security,” Ignacio Rossi Sammartino, deputy head of mission of the Commercial Section at the Argentine Embassy, told Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) board members.
“The agro-industrial sector is a very attractive area for investment cooperation benefiting the two countries in light of the growing global demand for food,” said Sammartino. “Argentina firmly believes that it is beneficial to Manama as well as Buenos Aires to achieve greater cooperation and joint investments due to the strong economies of both countries.”
Argentina, he said, is one of the most productive food producing and exporting countries of the world, with an estimated 27 million hectares of arable and permanent cropland.
”Agriculture and animal husbandry have traditionally supplied the nation with 70 to 95 percent of its export earning,” he said. “Similarly to Bahrain, our country is known for its lack of religious and racial conflicts. Argentina is still a land of great diversity and pluralism with opportunities for everyone, no matter their belief or ethnicity.”
Sammartino, who conducted a presentation at the BCCI on existing opportunities, told the BCCI board members that his country with excellent investment opportunities would continue to enhance the base of existing ties in trade, investments and commercial sectors with Bahrain and other GCC nations.
”GCC is one of the major business partners of Argentina and ranked 39 with trade volume of 689.8 million euros in 2009. Even though the trade balance is favorable to Argentina, at the moment, there is a big scope for investments. We welcome GCC investments or vice versa,” he said.
“Argentine exports are mainly agro-based including soybean products, cereals, beef; motor vehicles and parts, chemicals and medicine. Argentina is a major importer of industrial and computing machinery and parts, industrial supplies, automobiles and other consumer durables and refined fuels and lubricants. Its main trading partners are Brazil, Chile, European Union and the United States,” he said.
“Our country has a very diverse landscape ranging from the mountainous region of the Andes to the fertile plains of the Pampas. Crops grown include cereals, oil grains and seeds, sugar cane, fruits and tea.”
He said Argentina offers investors attractive climate in a wide range of sectors. Earnings as a percentage of foreign direct investment (FDI) stock were 10.2 percent on average in 2006 to 2008, the highest in the past 15 years. “Earnings as a percentage of revenues for the 340 largest non-financial companies are also reached at record levels, averaging 15.4 percent per year from 2005 to 2007.”
“It is important to note that FDI receives the same treatment as domestic investment. Remittance abroad of profits and capital is unrestricted and transnational companies are free to operate in any sector in the country,” Sammartino added.