February 11th, 2022
1. Presidential tour to Russia, China and Barbados finished
President Alberto Fernández finished his international tour after a stop in Barbados, following his visit to Russia and China, where he signed agreements aimed at building mutual trust and strengthening commercial exchanges. The agreements include the commitment of millionaire investments and exchange of infrastructure, technology and knowledge. Fernandez held meetings with the heads of state of Russia, Vladimir Putin, and China, Xi Jinping, and with the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley. In an interview with TELAM, Alberto Fernández stated that “Argentina is very dependent on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the United States. We need to open other bridges, and bet on multilateralism, without being satellites of anyone.” According to the government, there were efforts to incorporate the country to the “Silk Road,” the Chinese initiative to promote the flow of trade and investments, which includes around 140 countries. Likewise, the delegation worked on the renewal of the Currency SWAP Agreement between the People’s Bank of China and the Central Bank of the Argentine Republic. “Both parties will continue to strengthen the currency SWAP cooperation in order to encourage greater use of national currencies in trade and investment and facilitate companies of both countries to lower costs and reduce exchange risk,” a statement said.
2. The main opposition coalition announced that it will support the agreement with the IMF subject to conditions
In order to avoid a default and to show responsibility, presidents of all the parties that make up Juntos por el Cambio, the main opposition coalition, announced their support to the draft agreement with the IMF on the condition that the agreement does not include a tax increase. Miguel Pichetto, leader of Peronismo Republicano, stated: “We see as positive the beginning of the understanding that the government has initiated with the IMF. We maintain what we have said: no to default, Argentina has to honor its debts. The matter is discussed in Congress, where there is a very clear definition by JxC of not endorsing tax increases or new taxes.” However, Juntos por el Cambio will make official its legislative position −which is divided between the “hard wing” and the “dialoguists”− only until the Executive Branch sends the agreement’s final draft.
3. February 12 is the formal deadline for regulating the Food Front Labeling Law
Saturday, February 12, is the official deadline for the Executive Power to enact the regulation of the Food Front Labeling Law, which was sanctioned on October 27, 2021. During the last few days, the National Ministry of Health, the agency leading the technical process, met with different companies of the food sector to communicate that the government’s decision is to move forward with the regulation, considering eventually extending the official regulation date. Government authorities announced that the established implementation deadlines, one of the main demands of the industry, will not be modified. In this sense, the deadlines for modifying product labels and including the black warning seals for critical nutrient excesses will continue to be 180 days for large companies and up to 1 year for small companies.
4. Civil society entities presented a Reform of the Magistrates Council
The Bar Association of the City of Buenos Aires, the United States Chamber of Commerce in Argentina (Amcham), the Institute for the Entrepreneurial Development of Argentina (IDEA), along with more than 30 civil society organizations, presented a draft bill for the reform of the Council of the Magistrature, the body that appoints and sanctions judges, and administers the funds of the Judiciary. This bill proposes a change in the project promoted by the national government to introduce reforms in the Council of the Magistrature. The initiative of the organizations proposes to grant the President of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, Horacio Rosatti, the leadership of the organism, and to avoid the political partidization of the organism by reducing the participation of the representatives of the Executive and Legislative powers.
5. Talks on the bill to increase exports of the agro-industrial sector began
The President of the Chamber of Deputies Sergio Massa, and the Minister of Agriculture of the Nation Julián Domínguez, received representatives of the Argentine Agroindustrial Council (CAA), to start talks on the bill introduced by the Executive Power that seeks to increase exports of the agro-industrial sector. The bill was included on the agenda of laws sent by the Executive Power to Congress to be dealt with during the extraordinary sessions that began on February 1 and will end on February 28. The meeting was attended by the Secretary of Institutional Relations of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Jorge Solmi; and the Secretary of Food, Bioeconomy and Regional Development of the Nation, Luis Contigiani. On behalf of the CAA, some of those present were Alfredo Paseyro (ASA), Agustín Tejeda (Grain Exchange), Silvina Campos Carles (Coninagro), among others. It should be noted that, in the midst of the movements generated within the Frente de Todos Bloc due to the agreement in principle with the IMF, there has not been sessions in any of the Chambers, so this Sergio Massa meeting would be the kick-off for the agenda.