23 feb 2017
Within the framework of Macri’s State visit

Spain-Argentina Business Meeting

Within the framework of the State visit of the President of the Republic of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, to our country that is currently taking place, a business meeting was held today at CEOE’s headquarters, organized by the State Secretariat for Commerce, CEOE and Spain’s Chamber of Commerce, in collabouration with the Embassy of Argentina. The meeting, which lasted all day long, was attended by more than 800 entrepreneurs from both countries, and the goal was to analyse the bilateral business opportunities and the sectors of interest for Spanish investment.

Spain-Argentina Business Meeting
Spain-Argentina Business Meeting — ©David Mudarra

 

Meeting at El Pardo

Prior to the meeting, the President of the Republic of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, also met, during a breakfast at El Pardo Palace, with the main Spanish investors to analyse the business opportunities available in his country. Meeting participants included the Secretary of State for Commerce, María Luisa Poncela; the director general of International Trade and Investments of said Secretariat, Jose Luis Kaiser; the president of CEOE, Juan Rosell; the Secretary General of CEOE, Ana Plaza; the President of the Spain’s Chamber of Commerce, José Luis Bonet and Inmaculada Riera, director general of this institution, among others.

The president of CEOE, Juan Rosell, praised Mauricio Macri’s policy to open up his country to the world, given that he has normalized relations with multilateral financial institutions and has given a boost to trade negotiations between the European Union and Mercosur. “CEOE and the European employers’ organization, BUSINESSEUROPE, support the signing of a trade agreement between both blocks, which would enable Spanish and Argentinian companies to operate in a market of more than 750 million consumers," he said. In addition, he stated that two middle-sized economies, such as the Spanish and the Argentinian ones, would only be sustainable if they allow their respective companies to develop their activity in a larger market, enabling them to take better advantage of economies of scale in order to compete in the global economy.

 

 

Business Meeting at CEOE

The Argentinian Minister of Production, Francisco Cabrera, highlighted during the opening session of the business meeting held at CEOE that one of the priorities for Argentina with this visit is for "Spain to act as a lever to accelerate trade negotiations with the European Union for an agreement between the latter and MERCOSUR”. In addition, he emphasized the importance of the Public-Private Partnership Act, the opportunities in renewable energies and he advocated promoting the presence of Spanish SMEs in the area. Furthermore, he said that Spanish companies currently employ 150,000 people in the Latin American country.

The Labour Minister, Jorge Triaca, in turn, spoke about fostering even more dialogue between the social actors in Argentina, as well as about offering a framework of transparency and predictability for future investments. In this sense, he stressed the importance of Spanish investment and mentioned the need to promote training to enable access to employment in the country.

The Secretary of State for Trade, María Luisa Poncela, praised the new Public-Private Partnership Act in Argentina, as it offers greater guarantees and more predictability for Spanish business that plan to invest in the country in the future. She also said that through CESCE and ICEX’s Fund for the Internationalization of Companies (FIEM), new alternatives are offered to encourage the start up of projects in Argentina and to promote Spanish investment in the country. She also mentioned the importance of culminating the EU-Mercosur Agreement.

 

SMEs

During the opening session of the conference, Antonio Garamendi, Vice-President of CEOE and President of CEPYME, highlighted the importance of boosting the presence of SMEs in both countries and fostering investment in Argentina in sectors such as banking, telecommunications, insurance or concessions, among other. In addition, he also mentioned other areas of interest, such as infrastructures, agro-industry, renewable energies, start-ups and information technologies.

The president of the Industrial Union of Argentina, Adrián Kaufmann, said that Spain is the eighth destination of Argentinian investment and, in turn, it is the second country that most exports to the Latin American country, following the United States.  In addition, he emphasized that the measures adopted by Macri’s government have facilitated access to the credit market and allowed large investments in infrastructures, which is an incentive for Spanish companies to invest in the country’s key sectors.

The director of the International Department of Spain’s Chamber of Commerce, Alfredo Bonet, stressed that "this new phase for the Argentinian government will offer entrepreneurs from both countries multiple opportunities for cooperation, which will be even greater if we succeed in achieving our strategic goal of culminating negotiations for an agreement between the European Union and Mercosur”.

 

Sectors

During the course of the day, representatives from the Argentinian government, such as the Secretary for Agro-food Markets, Marisa Bircher; her counterpart in the field of Entrepreneurs and SMEs, Mariano Mayer; the head of National Viability to the Ministry of Transport, Javier Iguacel; the Undersecretary of Water Resources to the Ministry of Internal affairs and Public Works, Pablo Beraciartua; and his counterpart in Renewable Energies, Sebastian Kind; analysed the opportunities available in key sectors of the country for Spanish companies.

Argentina's ambassador to Spain, Horacio Reyser, explained that Argentina’s upcoming presidency of the G20 and the holding of the Inter-Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization, which will take place in December in Buenos Aires, constitute two opportunities to get Latin America back in the spotlight at a worldwide level and, thus, promote its opening policy.  To achieve this, it is crucial to establish a stable legal framework and a context of predictability in order to attract foreign investment.

Bilateral meetings and meetings with Argentinian authorities

After analysing the business opportunities for both countries, several B2B meetings were held, as well as meetings between the various officials and authorities of the Argentinian government and the participating Spanish companies. Subsequently, the presidents of sector associations would meet with Argentinian businessmen to specifically analyse the trade and investment possibilities for each strategic sector.