China and Argentina have agreed to increase their collaboration in science, which they see as linked to their growing economic and trade ties.
They will deepen cooperation in areas such as biomedicine, renewable energy, new materials and information technology, according to Lino Barañao, Argentina's science minister, who was in China on his second official visit to the country earlier this month (7 June).
Barañao also discussed with China's science minister, Wan Gang, efforts to increase the exchange of students and researchers between their countries, and invited Chinese enterprises to actively participate in research in Argentina's science centres.
The two agreed to launch a joint technology transfer centre.
Cooperation will be extended in various research fields linked to the economy, including agriculture, transport and mining, and Argentina will invest US$200 million in astronomy cooperation with China, Barañao says.
The two countries have already had fruitful cooperation in astronomy and satellite observations, building on an original agreement for science cooperation signed in 1980.
Suijian Xue, head of China National Astronomical Observatories' office for international cooperation says: "China has developed very good cooperation with Argentina in some narrow astronomical fields, however, there is now a strong momentum to expand the cooperation to include other fields in astrophysics with support from both governments."
As Argentina has a population of 40 million but produces food for almost 400 million, it can help to meet the food demands of other countries, including China, Barañao says.
He adds that the China-Argentina Joint Research Centre on Food Science and Technology, which was established in 2008, has already achieved good results in food development and food safety.
Barañao says the agreements he signed will also boost cooperation by companies from both countries.
China is currently Argentina's second largest trading partner and has become Argentina's third largest source of investment, after the United States and Spain, he adds.
Barañao has great confidence in increased future cooperation between the two countries because of their many shared economic and scientific interests.
For example, northern Argentina is rich in lithium. "I believe our two countries can cooperate in developing safe and efficient lithium batteries," he says.
Argentina is a large agricultural country and has strong demand for modern freight trains. This could be another area of cooperation, Barañao adds.
Carlos Juan Moneta, the director of Post-graduate Studies in Asia-Pacific at the National University of Tres de Febrero, in Argentina, says: "With the relations between China and Argentina and other Latin American countries continuing to expand and deepen, the field of science and technology is also increasingly necessary to the agenda of cooperation."