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Argentine-British tensions put bilateral trade at risk

The Americas Post - New demand for undersea oil has made the Falklands a bone of contention again

Recent diplomatic tension between Argentina and Britain over the Falkland Islands may affect growing bilateral trade which last year totaled 1.4 billion dollars, a new report indicates.

Among Argentina’s 10 export markets under stress, the most significant is that of Great Britain, destination for 7.5 percent of Argentine sales to the European Union, says a study by International Business Development (DNI) in Buenos Aires.

“Exports to the UK are vulnerable to current diplomatic conflict over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands,” the report states.

Argentine exports to the United Kingdom in 2011 reached approximately 805 million dollars while imports totaled 655 million, leaving a trade balance in favor of Argentina of about 150 million dollars, according to the report.

Unfriendly words between Argentina and Great Britain have been heard a lot recently, a few weeks before the 30th anniversary of the war for the Falklands, over which both nations claim sovereignty. Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez last week accused Britain of “militarizing” the South Atlantic in response to British plans to move to a warship to the area.¬†Fernandez denounced the plans to the United Nations.

Argentina’s main exports to Britain are soybean oil, soybean meal, wine, corn, seamless tubes, some chemicals and peanuts. Companies of British origin operating in Argentina directly or with partners include Shell, BP, Cadbury, Sweppes, Diageo, Nobility Picardo and HSBC, among others.

The main exporters to Britain from Argentina are the agribusiness firm Cargill, Minera Alumbrera, of Anglo Swiss Xstrata, Louis Dreyfus and Ford.