BUENOS AIRES, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- Argentina and China have succeeded in forging "excellent ties of trust," especially in the area of agro-industry, said Argentine Agro-Industry Minister Luis Miguel Etchevehere.
Bilateral cooperation in this field has made it one of the most "strategic and fruitful" sectors, Etchevehere told Xinhua at a ceremony held here on Monday night to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China and offer a glimpse into the progress of Sino-Argentine relations.
Such cooperation has been further deepened since the two sides elevated their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2014, the minister said.
China is now Argentina's second-largest trade partner and its main export market for agricultural goods, with more than 80 percent of Argentine exports to China coming from this sector, the minister said.
Among the long list of Argentine products now available to Chinese consumers are beef, pork, goat meat and mutton from Argentina's southern Patagonian region, honey, blueberries and cherries, dried peas, and soybean meal.
In just a few years, the South American country has become China's leading supplier of select items, said the minister.
"A notable fact is that in 2018 Argentina consolidated (it's position) as China's number one supplier of peanut oil, frozen shrimp and fresh pears; second largest supplier of beef and poultry; and third largest supplier of soybean, peanuts and sunflower oil," Etchevehere said.
He also highlighted the renewal of tangerine and soybean oil exports after seven and three year suspensions, respectively.
"All of these achievements attest to the key role that agro-industrial cooperation plays in the partnership between the two countries, a relationship characterized by trust and mutual respect," Etchevehere said.
Chinese-Argentine "economic complementarity" -- as consumers and produces of agro-industrial products --"points to a broad future outlook with mutual benefits," he added.
Last year, bilateral trade totalled 16.28 billion U.S. dollars, up by 18.2 percent year on year.
Since a comprehensive strategic partnership was forged in 2014, the two sides have also deepened their cooperation in infrastructure, renewable energies, education, sports and culture.