Last updated in March 2018
Official relations between Germany and Argentina have existed since 1857. Bilateral relations are broadly based in economic and cultural terms and are characterised by similar positions on important multilateral issues. Cooperation in academia, science and research is a priority for both sides.
On multilateral issues, there is broad consensus on the importance of free trade and international law, on nuclear non-proliferation and on human rights. Along with Brazil and Mexico, Argentina is one of the three countries representing Latin America in the G20 group of major industrialised countries and emerging economies. At the end of 2017, Argentina took over the G20 Presidency from Germany. This is why exchange at the political level is particularly intensive at the present time.
There has in recent years been a marked increase in the frequency of bilateral visits, the high point of which was Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Argentina in June 2017. In 2016, Germany’s then Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited Argentina, where, among other things, he signed a memorandum of understanding on a working holiday programme that will make it easier for youth and young adults from both countries to spend a year living and working in the partner country. In December 2017, Federal Minister Katarina Barley attended the kick-off event in Buenos Aires for Women 20 (W20), the G20 engagement group that promotes dialogue on women’s policy issues.
Argentine President Mauricio Macri paid a visit to Berlin from 4 to 6 July 2016, meeting with, among others, then Federal President Joachim Gauck, Federal Chancellor Merkel and then Bundestag President Norbert Lammert. The signing of nine declarations on strengthening German-Argentine cooperation, not least in the economic and scientific sectors, underscores the interest of both sides in further deepening relations. President Macri also attended the G20 Summit in Hamburg in June 2017. Federal Chancellor Merkel is expected to visit Buenos Aires again at the end of the year to attend the G20 Summit.
Argentina is Germany’s third most important trading partner in Latin America, after Brazil and Mexico. In 2017, Germany recorded a surplus of nearly 1.7 billion euros in its trade with Argentina. The volume of bilateral trade grew that year by around three percent to more than 4.2 billion euros – a rise that was driven by exports from Germany. In 2016, some 4.8 percent of Argentina’s total imports came from Germany, which remains the country’s fourth most important supplier, after Brazil, China and the United States. During the same period, Germany dropped to 12th among buyers of Argentine exports, with purchases totalling 4.23 billion euros.
In 2017, Germany’s primary imports from Argentina were raw materials (accounting for 23 percent of imports), foodstuffs (21 percent) and unprocessed goods (12 percent), especially non-ferrous metals. Germany is the largest buyer of Argentine beef in the European Union. In 2017, German imports of vehicles and vehicle parts from Argentina accounted for 10 percent of total German imports from the country.
Traditionally, Germany’s primary exports to Argentina have been industrial products. In 2017, the share of vehicles and vehicle parts in Germany’s total exports to Argentina rose to more than 20 percent. Machinery dominated German exports in 2017 (accounting for 38 percent of exports), and was followed by chemical products (21 percent), especially pharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals.
The European Union plays a major role in foreign direct investment in Argentina. The principal individual investors are the United States, Spain, the Netherlands and Brazil. Germany ranks fourth among EU investors there, after Spain, the Netherlands and France, according to 2016 figures from the Central Bank of Argentina. The principal investments by German companies are concentrated in the automotive, energy, pharmaceutical and service sectors.
The Argentine-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (CADICAA) has some 450 members, including about 170 German companies. There are a total of around 200 companies with German capital operating in Argentina, directly providing over 22,000 jobs.
Culture and education
The German schools abroad in Argentina are among the best-regarded private schools in the country and are also thought highly of by parents with no connection to Germany. As part of its Schools: Partners for the Future initiative (PASCH), Germany supports a total of 30 schools in Argentina, at which the teaching of German as a foreign language enjoys particular prominence. Of these, four are German schools abroad in Greater Buenos Aires (one with a German higher education entrance qualification – Abitur – stream, three offering the optional mixed-language school-leaving qualification International Baccalaureate, and one with an integrated vocational training centre and courses leading to the optional German university of applied sciences entrance qualification). In addition, 16 schools across Argentina offer the German Language Certificate (DSD) and 11 other schools are overseen by the Goethe-Institut.
German culture is highly regarded and has a presence in Argentina thanks in part to the Goethe-Institut and its network (branches in Buenos Aires and Córdoba, two Goethe-Zentren – in Mendoza and San Juan – and nine other cultural societies that receive support). German films enjoy a high profile in Argentina, being regularly submitted to the country’s two most important film festivals where they draw a broad and positive response, as well as being screened at the annual week-long Festival of German Films in Buenos Aires, which is held in September. Leading German musicians and orchestras regularly visit the country, and the Argentines’ affection for the German rock band Tote Hosen is legendary.
Science and academia
Germany enjoys an excellent reputation in Argentina as a partner in research. Bilateral cooperation in science and technology has a long tradition dating back many years, to the framework agreement of 31 March 1969.
Particularly worthy of mention here is the Max Planck Society (MPG), which operates the Max Planck Laboratory for Structural Biology, Chemistry and Molecular Biophysics of Rosario (LMPbioR) in the province of Santa Fe and maintains a liaison office for all of Latin America in Buenos Aires. It also involved in the operation of the Biomedicine Research Institute of Buenos Aires (IbioBA), a partner institute run by the MPG jointly with Argentina’s National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET).
Also of note is the Argentine-German Geodetic Observatory (AGGO), which opened in the city of La Plata in mid-2015. The AGGO, a joint project of the German Federal Agency for Geodesy and Cartography (BKG) and CONICET, is the only geodesic observatory of its kind in Latin America, and it is part of the global infrastructure that enables Earth observation and the updating of global reference systems.
Since 2015, the German Research Foundation (DFG) has funded an International Research Training Group in Argentina called SuRfAce Processes, Tectonics and Georesources: The Andean Foreland Basin of Argentina (StRATEGy). The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is cooperating with the city and province of Buenos Aires as part of its Morgenstadt – City of the Future initiative. During President Macri’s visit to Germany in July 2016, a declaration of intent was signed with the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft to promote the joint development of innovative technologies and strengthen cooperation between the two countries’ research and industrial sectors. Since late 2017, the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology (IWES) has maintained a liaison office in Mar del Plata. A declaration of intent concerning collaboration in the field of renewable energy is expected to be signed in March 2018 with the Argentine Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation.
An agreement was signed in 2015 to continue operation of the Pierre Auger Observatory near Mendoza, an international collaboration dedicated to the study of ultra-high energy cosmic rays, until 2025. The most important German member of this project is the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).
An important pillar of bilateral cooperation is the German-Argentine Centre for Higher Education (DAHZ), which was set up in 2012 by the German and Argentine Governments and the Argentine-German Scientific Association of German Business in Argentina. The DAHZ currently supports 18 binational study programmes (PhD and Master’s programmes) in biomedicine, logistics, economics and engineering. In late 2013, the DAHZ also launched the I-DEAR (Ingenieros Deutschland Argentina) exchange programme in engineering.
In 2016, some 400 students from Germany and 725 students from Argentina received German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) funding. Co-funded scholarship programmes with the Argentine Ministry of Education and are being expanded, especially in engineering. The first application phase for the Argentine BEC.AR engineering scholarship programme, which is fully funded by Argentina, is scheduled to start in March 2018. The DAAD is a project partner.
The DAAD is also active in other areas. The long-term lectureship at the University of Buenos Aires’ (UBA) School of Law has been filled since August 2015. The DAAD also has a post at UBA’s Faculty of Letters and Philosophy (Walter Benjamin Free Chair). The Walter Gropius Chair in Architecture and Urban Studies has been established at the private Universidad Torcuato Di Tella. Other DAAD lectors are working to improve language teacher and translator training in Buenos Aires, Córdoba and Tucumán.
This text is intended as a source of basic information. It is regularly updated. No liability can be accepted for the accuracy or completeness of its contents.