Executive Director, AACCLA, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Executive Director, U.S.-Argentina Business Council, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
August 11, 2023
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s U.S.-Argentina Business Council (USABC) led a delegation to Buenos Aires, on July 11-12 and met with the U.S. embassy, leading presidential candidate teams, key congressional leaders and delivered our Dear Candidate letter alongside our white paper on innovation Unleashing the post-COVID potential of Argentina’s innovation system.
We heard from the economic, commercial, and foreign affairs presidential candidate advisors. Across the board, advisors agreed the road to recovery was going to be tough, but shared optimism about their ability to implement change. There is a widespread consensus among political leaders about the need to stabilize the economy and advance pro-market reforms.
Argentina is set to hold “open, simultaneous and obligatory primaries” (PASO) on August 13. Meeting with the top candidate teams and understanding their priorities in trade and the economy allowed the USABC members get unique insights, position themselves, and advance policy priorities.
Who we met with
- U.S. Ambassador to Argentina
- Members of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies’ Parliamentary Group of Friendship with the U.S.
- The three leading candidate teams from La Union por la Patria, Juntos por el Cambio and La Libertad Avanza.
Congress: Key takeaways from Argentina’s congress
- Argentina is still an opportunity for U.S. investment.
- The private sector should come to the Argentine Congress and provide frequent briefings about sector specific opportunities for Argentina.
Let’s Party: Key priorities from the three parties
Union por la Patria (UP):
- It is imperative Argentina continue payments to the IMF and renegotiating a better deal.
- Prioritization of identifying ways for Argentina to benefit from the IRA Act.
- Evaluate ways to unblock potential investments because of current controls.
Juntos por el Cambio (JxC):
- Addressing a reform agenda, including investment protection, labor reform and deregulation.
- Pushing for a comprehensive labor reform aimed at reducing litigation and hiring costs.
- Paying the IMF debt, OECD accession, and engaging strategically in hemispheric organizations like the OAS and regional blocs like MERCOSUR as well as focus on trade priorities as well as alignment with the U.S. and the west.
- Introduce a comprehensive macroeconomic reform, which would address taxes, investment, informality, dated laws inhibiting trade, to achieve fiscal stability.
- Reform policies to boost strategic sectors in energy, mining, infrastructure, innovation and tourism.
La Libertad Avanza (LLA):
- Establish Argentina as an exporting powerhouse through signing free trade agreements with other countries.
- Deregulation, elimination of restrictions, and modification of how the Central Bank operates.
- Enhance private sector engagement in developing pro-trade/business strategies.
- OECD accession
U.S. leadership maintains an optimistic outlook in Argentina and invited members to be patient with Argentina as it stabilizes its economy but reiterated Argentina’s untapped potential in multiple sectors. Argentina is still an opportunity for U.S. investment, and Argentine leadership encourages the private sector should come to the Argentine Congress and provide briefings on opportunities for Argentina.
Bottom Line: Although the short-term view of Argentina is precarious, there is willingness and openness to work with the private sector to find a long-term solution. For the future of trade, a sincerity to explore free trade agreements and reach OECD accession will be of utmost priority.
The USABC will continue to engage with candidate teams, invite and meet with candidates in Washington, and work to include private sector in strategic priorities. Additionally, we will meet with USG and provide feedback on the delegation and private sector recommendations.