The government has opened talks with Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei as it explores its options for the adoption of advanced 5G technology.
Argentina's Foreign Ministry confirmed the news in a statement on Tuesday, saying that government officials had met earlier in the day with the Chinese firm's representatives to "discuss the company's investment in the country and the eventual impact of 5G technology in Argentina and across the world."
Among those in attendance at the meeting were Foreign Ministry Chief-of-Staff Guillermo Justo Chaves, Secretary for International Economic Negotiations Jorge Neme and Steven Chen Shiqing, Huawei's CEO in Argentina.
According to the government officials, the country plans to bring in 5G technology in 2022 or 2023. Argentina was one of the last in the region to introduce 4G to its telecommunications, doing so in 2014.
"We are investigating the issue thoroughly, focusing on the competitiveness and security of the various solutions available on the market. Issues such as Big Data, the digitisation of companies and artificial intelligence are central to competitiveness," Neme said in a statement, which highlighted that as many as 500 Argentines were employed by the Chinese company in Argentina.
Huawei has invested billions of dollars in 5G tech, the future of the mobile telecommunications system, competing mainly against Sweden's Ericsson and Finland's Nokia.
Several Western nations , including the United States and the United Kingdom, have have barred the company from participation in their 5G networks over security fears, suggesting that Huawei's technology poses a security risk, in particular because its founder, Ren Zhengfei, is a former engineer of the Chinese People's Liberation Army.
According to the Foreign Ministry's statement, talks in Buenos Aires on Tuesday also addressed "issues such as global commercial competition, cyber security and the protection of personal data."
Among the innovations 5G could deliver is sweeping changes to the digitisation and automation of industry, the connecting of objects and household appliances and the carrying out of surgical operations via remote control.
"For us it is essential to work together with a company of this magnitude," said Justo Chavez.