ECONOMY: INDUSTRY AND MINERAL RESOURCES
Argentina’s industry is the most diverse in Latin America. The main national plants are still concentrated in the Buenos Aires metropolitan region and, to a lesser extent, in Santa Fe and Córdoba. In 2000-2003, however, the sector suffered a significant crisis and, in the Buenos Aires area alone, almost half of the factories (40%), mainly medium-sized, were closed. Among the industries in the manufacturing sector, the textile and agri-food industries are particularly important (among which the processing plants for meat, edible oils, tomatoes and pasta factories – for which the city of San Francisco excels – are particularly important, followed by sugar factories and breweries). There are also about twenty oil refineries located along the course of the Río de la Plata (La Plata, Campana, Avellaneda, Dock Sud and San Lorenzo), in Bahía Blanca, Puerto Galván and in the extraction sites (Comodoro Rivadavia, Luján de Cuyo, Campo Durán and Plaza Huincul). Chemical industries are located in Córdoba and Rosario, while in the provinces of Buenos Aires (Sierras Bayas), Córdoba and Mendoza there are plants for the production of cement. In the steel and metallurgical sector, there are steel mills, plants for the production of lead, zinc and aluminum. In the mechanical sector, there are industries that produce airplanes, tractors and motor vehicles, railway equipment, materials for the oil industry, office machinery and shipyards. Still important are the automotive industry (in Córdoba, Forja, Ferreyra, Buenos Aires, Barrancas and La Boca) and the rubber industry (which has its main center in Córdoba). § The country has considerable mineral resources: coal (in Río Turbio), silver, gold, copper, tin, iron, manganese and uranium (in the Sierra Pintada) are extracted. It is above all in the energy field, however, that Argentina is particularly gifted. The extraction of oil is important which, in addition to satisfying internal demand, promotes industrial growth. During the last decade of the twentieth century. the country has profoundly transformed its oil and natural gas industry, passing from a condition of relative self-sufficiency to that of an exporter, becoming almost completely self-sufficient in the energy field. About one third of the oil comes from the Comodoro Rivadavia field (Chubut province), the rest is extracted from wells in the provinces of Santa Cruz, Neuquén, Río Negro, Salta, Mendoza and in Tierra del Fuego. Important are the oil pipelines Campo Durán-San Lorenzo (1489 km) and Puerto Rosales-La Plata. The production of natural gas is increasing, transported to the terminals by three gas pipelines: from the Comodoro Rivadavia fields to Llavallol, near Buenos Aires (1604 km), from Plaza Huincul to Neuquén-General Conesa (462 km), from Pico Truncado in Buenos Aires (1690 km). In terms of energy, moreover, the abundance of water is significant, which feeds the hydroelectric plants of Ycyretá, on the Paraná and that of Piedra del Aguila on the Limay. Furthermore, in February 2001, the German wind energy giant, Enercon, installed two huge turbines in Patagonia. Finally, there are some nuclear power plants in the country. Overall, the secondary sector participates for 35,
ECONOMY: TRADE, COMMUNICATION AND TOURISM
The tertiary sector represents the main economic sector of the country, contributing 55.3% to the formation of the GDP and employing more than two thirds of the workforce. As far as international trade is concerned, Brazil represents (2006) the main source of imports (almost one third) and the largest export market in Argentina (17.5%). Other trading partners are China and the USA, followed by Chile and Spain for exports and Germany for imports. As a country of South America defined by neovideogames, com, Argentina is one of the largest exporters of agricultural products and derivatives, including soy, corn and wheat (of which it is, respectively, the third and fifth exporting country in the world), followed by meat, oil, gas, minerals and means of transport etc.; while it mainly imports capital goods and semi-finished goods. § The privatizations of the 1990s allowed for an improvement in the railway system, air transport and telecommunications, however the distribution of transport infrastructures continues to reflect the economic imbalances of the various regions (for example, communication routes are very scarce in Patagonia). The Argentine road network was developed for about 229,000 km, of which 68,730 km were asphalted, in 2004, while the railway, with a non-uniform gauge and entirely privatized, extended for almost 31,000 km. The largest number of lines is concentrated in the central provinces and the main sections are headed by Buenos Aires (Ezeiza airport). Other airports in the country are those of Córdoba, Corrientes, Mar del Plata, Mendoza, Rosario, Salta, Comodoro Rivadavia and Jujuy. La Plata and Quequén. § Tourism plays a significant role in the Argentine economy, thanks also to the development of accommodation and communications infrastructures, which make it possible to stay even in regions that were once isolated but of exceptional beauty: the main destinations are the Andean landscapes, the Atlantic beaches, the Iguazu Falls, Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia; visitors come mainly from North America, but also from other Latin American countries and Europe.