GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

Family Name:
First Name:
Title of Paper:
Non-governmental actors in Argentina’s Agenda towards the Gulf States. The role of agribusiness
Paper Proposal Text :
Argentina and the Arab countries have had a long-standing relationship due, to a certain extent, to the presence of Arab communities in Latin America as a result of several waves of migration in the past. However, the linkage with the Gulf Cooperation Council countries has taken place much more recently for various reasons, but mainly when reciprocal interests emerged and the conditions of both regions allowed them to interact. Throughout their history, both the Gulf countries and Argentina have had foreign policies deeply influenced and marked by their relationships with the developed countries in the North. As a consequence, they ignored or neglect other actors in the internacional arena, despite the fact that their potentiality could imply greater diversification and better partnership for all of them.
During the XXst century a correlation of world forces contributed to create and sustain long term and relatively static alliances. In the case of Argentina and Latin America, the hemispheric relationships with the hegemonic power in the West were out of question. Meanwhile, the Gulf countries – relatively newly independent states, with the exception of Saudi Arabia - maintained a strong relationship with the former colonial power and its axis of alliances throughout the world.
The XXIst century, however, unleashed a number of changes in the balance of power of the international system: the rise of new emerging middle powers and the ever increasing importance of the natural resources in the global strategic configuration of world forces. At the same time, the role of the private actors -specially national and transnational companies-, have gained ground at a higher rate during the last years.
Governmental and private initiatives have taken place at the same time –either overlapping or complementing each other. These interactions have resulted in a more interdependent world opening a variety of options and creating new and diverse associations, both in the bilateral and multilateral areas. The summits between Latin American countries and the Arab World (Brasilia 2005; Doha 2009; Lima 2012) has generated a new model of inter regional relationships, becoming a new and more complex way of rapprochement. At the same time, it is worth to remark the efforts to improve and extend the newborn partnership between MERCOSUR and the Gulf Cooperation Council for they are negotiating an agreement to create a common Free Trade Area since 2004. Once completed and implemented, it could offer an appropriate framework to extend the participation of non-state actors between both regions and could improve commercial linkages beyond other kind of non-state issues.
Trade between Argentina and the Arab World in general, and Argentina and the Gulf in particular, have not only grown exponentially during the last years but it is just starting with an immense potential to flourish. In the context of globalization, this hyper-connected world offers not only a variety of challenges -the seek for food supply and other vital resources– but also a new era of opportunities to promote their development through the effort of public and public actors.
The primacy of trade over other type of relations in the connections between Argentina and the Gulf Countries -due to the absence of explicit political affinities, because of mutual ignorance, lack of specific knowledge of their own realities and the difference of language– shows the existence of a private agenda parallel to the national foreign policies. This means that business goes ahead paving the way for governmental decisions. Given the importance of these non state linkages and the evident difference between “political times and business/commercial times”, this paper presents a discussion of the connection (or disconnection) between the public and the private sphere in relation with the above mentioned countries, taking into account the role of Argentina as an important global agricultural supplier and the Gulf countries, as key global oil suppliers.
The research aims at highlighting the role of the Arab Argentina Chamber of Commerce -founded in 1931; the FEARAB (Federación de Entidades Argentino-Arabes, Federation of Argentine-Arab institutions) founded in 1972; as well as the big agriculture companies to create networks and promote interregional trade. Within this context we seek to analyze the level of agreement and/or disagreement between the needs of the agribusiness sector located in Argentina and the national political agenda, and to identify the most relevant programmes or actions of non-state actors and their incidence or impact in national public policies.