First visit by UK trade minister to Argentina in 10 years

London (AFP) - Britain's first trade delegation to Argentina in a decade has arrived, officials said on Thursday (May 5), as the two countries aim to thaw relations despite their longstanding sovereignty dispute over the Falkland Islands.

Trade and Investment Minister Mark Price is leading the visit, which comes after a meeting between British Prime Minister David Cameron and Argentina's new President Mauricio Macri in January.

Macri has said he wants a "new era" of relations.

"Keen to expand trade and investment with the region, Lord Price's trip will see him visit Argentina today," Britain's trade ministry said in a statement.

"With the Argentine government embarking on an ambitious reform agenda, the UK is well placed to take advantage of the markets that are opening up." Price said he hoped to "build on renewed relationships like that with Argentina".

In 2013, almost 100 per cent of the Falkland Islands' residents voted in favour of remaining under British rule.

Argentina claims it inherited the remote archipelago from Spain when it gained independence, while Britain says it has historically ruled the islands and that their residents should have the right to self-determination.

Britain and Argentina fought a bloody war over the islands in 1982 after Argentine troops invaded and then prime minister Margaret Thatcher sent a naval task force.

The conflict claimed the lives of 649 Argentine soldiers, 255 British soldiers and three islanders.