Last updated in March 2019
Official relations between Germany and Argentina have existed since 1857. Bilateral relations have a broad basis in business and culture 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, as well as on nuclear non‑proliferation and 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 and held the chair in 2018.
There has been a marked increase in the frequency of bilateral visits in recent years, the high point of which was Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Argentina in June 2017. During the year of the Argentine G20 Presidency, ministerial meetings were attended inter alia by Federal Foreign Minister Maas, Federal Agriculture Minister Klöckner and Federal Finance Minister Scholz and Federal Chancellor Merkel attended the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires at the end of the year. In 2017, 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 makes it easier for youth and young adults from both countries to spend a year living and working in their respective partner country. The programme is proving very popular.
Argentine President Mauricio Macri paid a visit to Berlin from 4 to 6 July 2016, meeting for example with 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 continuing to expand relations. During the G20 Summit, Germany signed an agreement on relaunching investment protection guarantees with Argentina.
Argentina is Germany’s third most important trading partner in Latin America, after Brazil and Mexico. In 2017, the volume of bilateral trade grew by around three percent to more than 4.3 billion euros – a rise that was driven by exports from Germany. In 2017, Germany recorded a surplus of almost 1.7 billion euros in its trade with Argentina. A good 4.8% of Argentina’s total imports came from Germany, which remains the country’s fourth most important supplier, after Brazil, China and the United States. Germany ranks 12th among Argentina’s export markets.
Germany’s principal imports from Argentina in 2017 were food (42%) and raw materials (23%). Germany is the biggest buyer of Argentine beef in the EU. In 2017, German imports of vehicles and vehicle parts from Argentina accounted for eight percent of total German imports.
When it comes to German exports to Argentina, traditional industrial products are to the fore. In 2017, cars and car parts accounted for more than 20% of German exports to Argentina. The same year, machinery accounted for 29%, heading the list, followed by pharmaceuticals with some 9% and electrical goods with 7%.
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. Within the European Union, Germany ranks fourth after Spain, the Netherlands and France (2016, Argentine Central Bank). Key investment by Germany businesses focus on the sectors cars, energy, pharmaceuticals and services.
The German-Argentine Chamber of Industry and Commerce has around 400 members, including about 107 German companies. All in all, some 200 firms with German capital are active in Argentina. They directly employ more than 22,000 people.
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 university entrance – Abitur – stream, three offering the optional mixed-language school-leaving qualification International Baccalaureate and one with an integrated vocational training centre and leading to the optional German university of applied sciences entrance qualification). In addition, 15 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 (with branches in Buenos Aires and Córdoba, two Goethe centers – 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 most important film festivals and drawing 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 research
Germany enjoys an excellent reputation in Argentina as a partner in this area. 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, in addition to the Biomedicine Research Institute of Buenos Aires (IBioBA), 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 the whole of Latin America in Buenos Aires.
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 Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation, DFG) has been promoting the German-Argentine Graduate College STRATEGY in the geology sphere. During President Mauricio 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 Energy Economics and Energy System Technology (IEE) has maintained a liaison office in Mar del Plata. The IEE hopes to develop joint projects with CONICET, for example biogas production in the Buenos Aires central market. A cooperation agreement concerning collaboration in the field of renewable energy is expected to be signed in May 2019 with the Argentine technology company Y‑TEC (the shareholders are YPF (51%) and CONICET (49%)).
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 the Observatory is the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) which in 2018 opened an international Helmholtz Graduate School together with the Universidad Nacional de San Martín (UNSAM) on the Miguelete campus.
The year 2019 marks the 25th anniversary of joint research on the Antarctic. The Alfred Wegener Institute together with the Instituto Antárctico Argentino opened the Dallmann Laboratory in 1994 at the Argentine Carlini Station on King George Island. Back then, it was the first research institution to be operated by several nations. In the Dallmann Laboratory, researchers from Argentina, the Netherlands and Germany worked under one roof from October to April. The focus is on field research in biology and geosciences in the ice‑free areas and in shallow waters near the coast.
An important pillar of academic cooperation is the German-Argentine Centre for Higher Education (DAHZ). It 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 2017, some 444 German and 769 Argentine students received German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) funding. Co‑funded scholarship programmes with Argentina’s Ministry of Education are being expanded, especially in engineering. The first selection process for the Argentine BEC.AR engineering scholarship programme, which is fully funded by Argentina, was held in April 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 lectureship at UBA’s Faculty of Letters and Philosophy (Walter Benjamin Free Chair) and the Faculty of Architecture (Walter Gropius Chair). 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.