Please note that the JSE will be closing at 3pm on 26th April
to accommodate for the launch of the new Derivatives platform.

Chinese delegation to visit Argentina to discuss stalled nuclear deal -gov't source

(Repeats story from Friday with no changes to headline or text)

By Cassandra Garrison

BUENOS AIRES, March 15 (Reuters) - A delegation from China will visit Argentina this month to discuss the construction of a nuclear power plant, signaling potential progress in a deal that could increase Beijing's deepening influence in the South American nation.

An Argentine government source told Reuters this week the "technical team" from China would meet with local suppliers about the long-stalled nuclear power plant project, reportedly worth up to $8 billion.

Argentina had hoped to announce an agreement on China-financed construction of Atucha III, as it has been referred to in the past, during a state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping after November's G20 summit in Buenos Aires.

But the deal failed to emerge then, and in January Argentina's nuclear energy undersecretary, Julian Gadano, and the ambassador to China, Diego Guelar, met with officials in Beijing for talks about the project, the government source said.

A second government source, in the foreign ministry, said talks about the nuclear plant with China were ongoing but added that there had been no "concrete progress" toward signing a deal.

If finalized, the nuclear plant would be one of the biggest projects financed in Argentina by China, which has become a key trading partner for Argentina and its biggest non-institutional lender.

The Chinese embassy in Buenos Aires did not respond to requests for comment and China National Nuclear Corporation, a state-owned nuclear firm that has held talks previously about building nuclear plants in Argentina, declined to comment.

A press officer in Argentina's nuclear affairs department, which operates under the foreign ministry, said he was unaware of the delegation's visit.

The power plant deal was first negotiated under the administration of former President Cristina Fernandez, a left-wing populist who left office in 2015 after striking a number of deals with China.

When Argentina signed a $56.3 billion financing deal with the International Monetary Fund to rescue its troubled economy last year, U.S. President Donald Trump voiced his support for the plan and the leadership of center-right President Mauricio Macri.

Marci, like right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro in neighboring Brazil, took a tough stance against China on the campaign trail, saying he would review some of the deals Fernandez had made with the country.

But China has emerged as a critical trading partner, investor and financier for the U.S. allies nonetheless, as part of its long-running push into Latin America. (Reporting by Cassandra Garrison Additional reporting by David Stanway in Shanghai Editing by Tom Brown)

2019-03-18 05:00:00

© 2019 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved. Reuters content is the intellectual property of Thomson Reuters or its third party content providers. Any copying, republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. "Reuters" and the Reuters Logo are trademarks of Thomson Reuters and its affiliated companies.