Argentine Trade Minister Talks Corn

Argentine international trade and economic relations secretary Luis Maria Kreckler has headed a delegation to Moscow for talks on corn exports and cooperation in nuclear energy.

The visit came as Russia works to expand ties with Latin American countries, also including Brazil, Venezuela and Cuba.

The sale of 3 million tons of Argentine feed corn is being negotiated in the aftermath of droughts in Russia, Elena Leticia Mikusinski, head of economy and commerce at the Argentine Embassy, said Monday. The first shipment may take place in January 2011, with the full amount of the order to be shipped by the end of that year, she said.

The order, which is "rather large," will alleviate problems with corn production in several regions, said Russian Grain Union vice president Alexander Korbut.

Cooperation in nuclear energy is also being worked out, Kreckler said in an interview Friday without elaborating. Russia's state nuclear corporation Rosatom agreed with Argentina earlier this year to study the possibility of building Russian power reactors in the country.

The construction of two Russian-financed thermal-electric plants in Argentina was among the topics on the agenda, Mikusinski said.

Kreckler said trade between Russia and his country should return to pre-crisis levels in 2011. That trade reached a high of $1.7 billion in 2008.

Kreckler met with Sergei Ryabkov, deputy foreign minister, and Sergei Dankvert, head of the Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Inspection Service and president of the Russia-Argentina joint committee. His visit comes on the heels of a meeting between Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman at the Group of 20 summit in Seoul earlier this month.

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