Interview: Mauricio Macri
To what extent will new economic reforms bolster foreign direct investment (FDI) in Argentina?
MAURICIO MACRI: Our main long-term objective as a government is to advance towards zero poverty. The state has a responsibility to help those with the greatest need, and the only sustainable way to do this is by creating jobs. We must generate trust so that we can attract local and international investments from large and small companies, as well as the public sector. With respect to employment, we inherited a complicated legacy: in the last five years the economy has not created jobs and we continue to suffer high inflation. However, with the measures we are taking and the trust we are generating, inflation is decreasing and there are signs the recession is ending. Certain sectors are already experiencing growth and we are starting to witness an increase in FDI. It must also be said that we are moving rapidly forward with the restructuring of our economy. We have eliminated currency exchange controls and stabilised the exchange rate, put an end to default, and we’ve restored the independence of the National Statistics and Census Institute.
How can the public and private sector collaborate to achieve positive political and economic outcomes for all countries in Latin America?
MACRI: The main challenge is to guarantee environmentally sustainable, society-focused, prolonged economic growth that is capable of providing every family in the region with a better quality of life and more opportunities. This requires unity, commitment and a coordinated effort across the region. Developing public-private partnerships is also key to achieving this goal, and we have to work together and prioritise key issues, such as the need to develop infrastructure, innovation and the provision of quality public services. Highlighting the importance of human development, maintaining peace, fighting drug trafficking and tackling global warming are also critical areas to address.
How can regional integration through the Pacific Alliance further enhance commercial relationships between its current members?
MACRI: Regional integration in Latin America is key for wider development opportunities. We must understand that together our nations are stronger, and if we collaborate with our collective strengths, talents and resources, we can grow faster. Therefore, the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) must be brought into the 21st century to become more compatible with the Pacific Alliance. This should be a pragmatic integration based on cooperation and mutual respect, and one that strengthens the growth of our economies and provides all Latin Americans with opportunities.
Which sectors present the most attractive long-term investment opportunities in the markets of both Mexico and Argentina?
MACRI: Mexico has historically been an important partner in the industrial sector, and recent growth in bilateral trade is positive news. Mexico’s diversified, competitive and open economy is a strategic destination for Argentinian investments, and 2017 signals a great opportunity to further develop this bilateral relationship and strengthen our ties. President Peña Nieto’s visit to Argentina in mid-2016 led to an agreement aimed at widening and deepening existing commercial agreements between our two countries.
Argentina offers a wealth of opportunities for Mexican investments in the food, telecoms, hospitality and automotive industries. For us, it is very important to diversify our export offerings and generate real and effective access to the market for agro-industrial products. In addition to this, Argentinian companies made several investments into Mexico’s burgeoning ICT industry recently, particularly in the software segment. We believe these bilateral investments and growing trade links will translate into new jobs that will drive both countries towards a more prosperous future.
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