Mauricio Macri : Interview
How is Argentina’s hosting of the G20 conference in 2018 expected to affect the local business climate?
MAURICIO MACRI: Our hosting of the G20 is proof that Argentina is integrating into the world in an intelligent way. It is an opportunity for leaders to make agreements that will guide us towards a just and sustainable future. Furthermore, it will help our country take its place in the world, realise its full potential and generate solutions to various global challenges. It is the first time that such an important event has been held in South America, representing an international recognition of the transformation that our country has undergone.
The G20 also included a business chapter, the B20, whose working groups were all led by local businesspeople. The business sector is helping to generate solutions to problems facing the globe, which forces it to be up to date and connected with future trends.
How is the government working to support long-term economic development?
MACRI: We understand what international investors need to commit and invest in the country – the key is confidence in the long term. In just two years we unified the exchange rate, returned to the capital markets, reorganised the economy and rebuilt the public statistics system. We have begun to grow, and we are strategically opening our doors to the world.
This change is based on a renewed political and cultural vision, ratified by the people in the legislative elections of 2017. That is the biggest long-term guarantee. This change will be permanent, as we are building agreements with all members of leadership.
Energy policy is an example of our commitment to long-term development. We aim to diversify our energy sources with a focus on renewables, but we are also betting on the enormous hydrocarbons potential we have in Vaca Muerta. After many years of decreasing gas production, we rebounded in 2017, which we will continue working on to boost our industry and economy.
What can be done to simultaneously focus on Mercosur and foster trust in the business community?
MACRI: Today more than ever, it is important to have a new vision of regionalism. With that in mind, our agenda for Mercosur includes negotiations with the EU, convergence with the Pacific Alliance, and links with new markets in Asia and Africa. An EU-Mercosur agreement would generate regulatory certainty and reinforce confidence in our bloc, encouraging new investment. Countries similar to Argentina experienced an investment boom after signing agreements with the EU.
To what extent is tax reform sufficient to improve informality indices in the economy?
MACRI: The tax reform approved in December 2017 will help create a fairer system that, in turn, helps generate employment and equalise burdens in a more progressive manner. This also helps fight inflation, which is the most regressive tax because it disproportionately affects those with fewer resources. We are working to promote investment and reward companies that want to grow and innovate. For example, we are incentivising companies to reinvest their profits by progressively reducing their income tax rates.
How are the public and private sectors working to improve Argentina’s international competitiveness?
MACRI: We aim to attract investment by building a healthy economy that allows us to grow, achieve fiscal balance and reduce inflation, while supporting the most vulnerable members of society. We are investing more than ever before in public works to improve domestic infrastructure and connectivity. Furthermore, we have taken steps to reduce fiscal pressure; logistics, energy and non-wage labour costs; and the role of bureaucracy. Meanwhile, the private sector is working to become more globally competitive. Both sides will continue pursuing this, as we believe that a competitive Argentina will create better opportunities for all citizens.
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