‘Aloz y Petloleo’ or the bringer of modernisation? Argentinian public opinion on Chinese trade, financial aid and investments in the country
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The challenges and importunities China’s economic expansion on the world stage present for Argentina has become a widely discussed topic. However, since the public opinion on this development is an understudied phenomenon, this thesis investigates to what extent the Argentinian public opinion sees Chinese trade, financial aid and investments in Argentina as a positive contribution to the country’s economic development and modernisation process in the period 2014-2017. Over 120 news articles from four Argentinian newspapers that discuss three state visits are examined. Findings show that bilateral trade is perceived to lead to primarisation of the Argentinian economy and a deepening dependence on China. Financial aid and investments provoke more diverse comments. Public opinion recognises the Chinese preferential loans and investments as a welcome contribution to the modernisation of infrastructure. In contrast, the current economic agreements award China privileges that hinder the participation and development of Argentinian industries. Overall, Chinese economic influence is not seen by Argentinian public opinion as a positive contribution to the country’s economic development and modernisation process. Argentinians are open to Chinese trade and investments, however, qualitative improvements in the composition of exports and investments need to be made to solve the asymmetries in the current relation.