On 20 March, Argentina’s Treasury Minister Nicolás Dujovne and the UK’s Minister of State for International Trade Greg Hands swapped cities to hold a complementary series of meetings, in London and Buenos Aires respectively. The visits aimed to develop bilateral tools to facilitate exports and encourage investment, as well as improving flight connections and developing the potential of Argentine mining, among other bilateral matters.
At the conference entitled "2017 Mining Plan: a new chapter in Argentine mining", organised by the Argentine Embassy in the UK and the Argentine-British Chamber of Commerce, the Treasury official gave a general overview of the situation in Argentina alongside Ambassador Carlos Sersale and Mining Secretary Daniel Meilán.
Speaking to an audience including over 100 business people from the mining and banking sectors, law firms and journalists, the Minister ran through the measures taken by Mauricio Macri’s government to normalise the economy: standardising the exchange rate; access to international markets; transparency and reliability of data; a sustained reduction of inflation to 18% by the second half of 2016; the creation of 25 thousand jobs per month; the lowering of tax burdens. Looking to the future, he stressed that "the reforms will continue" in order to build an economy that is "more closely connected to the world" through a policy of smart international insertion. As testimony of this, he cited the progress made in Mercosur-EU trade talks (a few days earlier, the Minister participated in the G20 Meeting of Ministers in Baden Baden) and added that "we also want to negotiate with Mexico, the Pacific Alliance and the UK following Brexit".
In turn, Secretary Meilán expanded on reasons to invest in mining in Argentina, what is one of the most attractive destinations for the industry globally. "Our mining sector has an enormous potential. If we see that in Chile, mining contributes to between 13 and 15% of GDP, and that in Argentina that figure is at a mere 3%, it becomes clear that there are opportunities to invest in and develop our mining sector", he stated. At the same time, he stressed that London is not only a "vital global financial hub", but that it boasts institutions like the London Metal Exchange, the largest futures and options market for metals.
Meanwhile, in Buenos Aires, Greg Hands met with Ministers Francisco Cabrera (Production), Luis Caputo (Finance) and Guillermo Dietrich (Transport). With Cabrera, the pair signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which pledges to establish a bilateral Trade Dialogue with a view to increasing, promoting and developing trade and investment. In particular, it agrees to hold an annual bilateral ministerial meeting, along the same lines as agreements signed with Japan, the United States and Spain.
The UK government also confirmed that it will reintroduce lines of credit worth £1 billion to promote investment and exports from British companies in Argentina through UK Export Finance. The Minister also signed an updated Air Services Agreement (ASA) with Guillermo Dietrich in order to increase the frequency of flights between the country’s capitals.
The UK Minister finished off his trip by holding a meeting with a delegation of six parliamentarians who were invited to London by the IPU in January, and with whom he agreed to continue to pursue their joint efforts in the field of anti-corruption.
High level visits between Argentina and the UK 2016-17
In the past 14 months, over 20 high level visits have taken place between Argentina and the UK in the name of establishing a positive bilateral agenda. These have included: Argentine Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra and Deputy Foreign Minister Pedro Delgado, Ministers Lino Barañao and Esteban Bullrich, the Secretary of Strategic Affairs Fulvio Pompeo, and a cross-party bicameral delegation of six representatives headed by Senator Federico Pinedo.
On the British side, meanwhile, the following officials have travelled to Argentina: the Minister of State for Europe and the Americas Sir Alan Duncan, Lord Price and now his successor, the Minister of State for International Trade Greg Hands, the Head of the Diplomatic Service Sir Simon MacDonald, the Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns, the FCO’s Chief Scientific Advisor Professor Robin Grimes and Christopher Rodrigues, Chair of the British Council.
"The economy we want"
Presentation of the Argentine Minister for Treasure Nicolas Dujovne at the Argentine Residence in London.
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