Argentina celebrates its 207th anniversary modernizing its economy and strengthening its ties to the world
Susana Malcorra, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Argentine Republic
It was on May 25 in 1810, on our ‘May Revolution’, when the Argentine people heralded the end to our colonial era and embarked on the road to independence.
Today, some 207 years later, and as a robust and federal democracy, Argentina is embarking on a new era that is bolstering the rule of law, stabilizing and modernizing its economy, and integrating it more tightly into the world economy.
Argentina is historically one of the richest and more developed countries in Latin America, and is recognized for its highly-skilled labor, and the technical capabilities, creativity and versatility of its citizens. Indeed, it is ranked second in human development in Latin America according to the United Nations Development Program’s Human Development Index 2017.
Thanks to the resource-rich “Pampa Húmeda” region, with its intensive agricultural productivity, Argentina has become one of the main food producers in the world. It boasts extensive and modern agricultural and cattle rearing industries, and an oilseed cluster renowned as being the most efficient in the world.
This year´s harvest is expected to be the largest in our history, reaching around 130 million tons, enough to feed ten times our population, more than 400 million people around the world. And as a result of the President Mauricio Macri’s eliminating of export tariffs, we expect to be feeding around 600 million people in the near future, thereby helping the world - and countries like India in particular - achieve food security.
Heavy industries such as automotive and metallurgy also play an important role in the country’s economy. To these we are adding rapidly-growing sectors like renewable energies –helped by Argentina’s optimal wind and sun conditions–, biotechnology, software development and the creative industries.
Argentina also has important mining reserves: the 7th largest silver and copper reserves, the 4th largest reserves of lithium and 9th of gold. Apart from its conventional oil and gas reserves, it has the second largest shale gas and 4th largest in shale oil reserves.
Like India, Argentina is a very competitive regional and global services provider, especially in the IT sector. Argentina creates more internet content in Spanish than any other country. And, of the 5 “unicorns” –startup companies valued at over U$S 1 billion- in Latin America, 4 were created in Argentina.
Since December 2015, the Government has been strengthening Argentina´s insertion into the world economy, improving macroeconomic stabilization and reinforcing legal certainty, predictability and transparency. After a phase of economic ‘normalization’ in the first half of 2016, inflation slowed substantially, and fiscal consolidation and the return to growth took center stage. This year growth is expected to be around 3.5%.
Investment, both private and public, is helping Argentina lay the foundations for consistent and sustainable growth. We have a highly ambitious infrastructure and clean energy agenda, one that will offer huge opportunities to Indian firms, not to mention the investment opportunities in important sectors for Indian companies, such as traditional energy, agribusiness, ICT, business services, metallurgy and other heavy industries.
Argentina and India can also expand bilateral trade ties by strengthening the 2004 trade agreement between India and Mercosur, the first preferential trade agreement of this sort signed by Mercosur with a non-Latin American country.
India and Argentina are therefore ideally placed to become great trade and investment partners, a potential that depends on our capacity to scope out and expand opportunities in the current international climate.
Finally, and consistent with the decision to play a more constructive international role, Argentina will host the 11th WTO Ministerial Meeting in December of this year, and will assume the Presidency of the G-20 in 2018. We expect to continue working together with India, to host a successful Ministerial Conference and develop the G-20 agenda, helping to strengthen multilateral trade and the global economy.
I look forward to continuing to develop and harness the great potential that our bilateral relationship presents, exploring new fields of cooperation, reinforcing our ties and diversifying our agenda for the benefit of both countries.