June 11, 2021
1. Government launches price agreement program, terminates price ceilings
Productive Development Minister Matías Kulfas and Domestic Trade Secretary Paula Español, launched “Súper Cerca,” a price agreement with 24 large companies that allows 70 basic daily consumption products to reach local stores at fixed prices through the end of the year. The program consists of 30 grocery products, 10 dairy products, two varieties of baked goods, five soft drinks, six laundry care products, five cleaning products, four types of baby diapers and eight miscellaneous perfumery and personal care products. Additionally, the products will carry a label that was approved by the government for the display of the price throughout the country. To this respect, Kulfas stated, “we have worked with large companies in Argentina to offer a range of accessible products covering different formats and items. These are products that will have their price printed on the package, and that price will remain in effect until the end of the year.” The launching of Súper Cerca singals the end of the Precios Máximos (price ceiling) program, the last extension of which was due to expire on Wednesday and will not be renewed. “It is a good sign for many companies that have been marketing products below cost. It was always said that it was going to be done and now it has been confirmed,” said businessman Martín Cabrales. Government sources anticipated that the prices of the products that were included in the price ceiling program will not abruptly increase, but that meetings to authorize consensual increases will be held.
2. President Alberto Fernández welcomes Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez arrived in Buenos Aires as part of a tour of Latin America, which will include a visit to Costa Rica. Sánchez arrived accompanied by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and for Ibero-America, Cristina Gallach, and executives of Spanish companies investing in Argentina. During the meeting, President Alberto Fernández emphasized that Argentina and Spain have a unique opportunity to understand each other and advance on bilateral relations and highlighted that Spanish companies have all the possibilities to continue investing in the country. Fernández also thanked the prime minister for his support in the debt renegotiation processes: “I would like to thank the Spanish government for all the times I requested their help to face the most critical issues since we took office. They were always on our side, accompanying us and attending to our claims regarding the debt.” Sánchez assured that his government will always stand by Argentina in its negotiations with the Paris Club and the IMF. Within the framework of the visit, the heads of government signed an action plan to the deepen the strategic association between both countries, the Buenos Aires Declaration, and agreements on the exchange of diplomatic archives related to the last military dictatorship in Argentina and on gender issues.
Página 12: Fuerte respaldo de Pedro Sánchez a Alberto Fernández para la negociación con el FMI
Minuto Uno: Alberto Fernández, a Pedro Sánchez: “Las empresas españolas tienen todas las posibilidades de invertir en el país”
3. Chamber of Deputies approves 2020 fiscal consensus
The Chamber of Deputies passed the 2020 Fiscal Consensus, an agreement signed between the national government and 21 provinces in December of last year. The bill received 140 votes in favor, 104 against and one abstention. The new pact suspends tax exemptions and reductions that had been agreed in 2017 through December 31st and enables jurisdictions to increase taxes on income and stamps. The provinces will also be allowed to take debt in Argentine pesos, while limiting borrowing in U.S. dollars will be limited. On a separate note, the Constitutional Affairs and Social Action and Health Commissions of the Chamber of Deputies emitted a favorable opinion of the COVID-19 emergency law but was withdrawn from the agenda to be discussed during Thursday’s session as it lacked necessary votes for approval. The bill will have to wait for the next session, which will force the government to issue a new Decree of Necessity and Urgency (DNU) to establish new restrictions. The initiative, which has been approved by the Senate, seeks to establish a kind of “epidemiological traffic light” to determine the measures and restrictions to be taken in each jurisdiction according to the number of COVID-19 infections and some indicators, such as the accumulated incidence rate.
4. Sputnik vaccine´s active ingredient arrives in the country enabling local production
On Tuesday, the first shipment of 300 liters of the Sputnik V vacinne’s active ingredient arrived in the country, allowing Ricmond Laboratories to begin local production of vaccine developed by the Gamaleya Institute of Moscow. The shipment also included 400,000 doses of Sputnik V component 2 and 81,850 doses of component 1. With the arrival of these new doses of Sputnik V, Argentina received 18,931,945 vaccines. On the other hand, the Argentine government continues negotiations with China for the local production of the Sinopharm vaccine, which will be produced by the Sinergium Biotech laboratory, with a capacity to offer up to one million doses per week. The Ministry of Health, headed by Carla Vizzotti, and its Chinese counterpart, alongside domestic laboratories and the Argentine ambassador to China, Sabino Vaca Narvaja, finalized the details for the launch of this project, which began to take shape more than three months ago. China has already sent more than two million doses of Sinopharm vaccine to Argentina while the local production project is moving forward. In the midst of the arrival of new vaccines and after a controversy due to the delay in the negotiation with Pfizer, Chamber of Deputies President Sergio Massa, summoned the laboratories to a meeting where they were given access to information regarding the signing of contracts by the national government with each of them.
Argentina: Arribó el primer lote del principio activo para producir en la Argentina la vacuna Sputnik V contra el COVID-19
Cronista: China busca producir en Argentina un millón de vacunas Sinopharm por semana
5. Government extends restrictions via emergency decree through June 25th
Health Minister Carla Vizzotti, announced this Friday that the government will extend the the emergency decree that was slated to expire today, through June 25th. This would maintain the epidemiological traffic light policy, which establishes different types of restrictions according to the health situation across each district of the country. “Today the emergency decree is expiring, which is going to be renewed [and classify districts according to], low, medium and high epidemiological risk. There we will gauge the stress put on the health system and the epidemiological and health risk, where the parameters of the measures that are going to be taken are. This will be extended until June 25,” said Vizzotti. It is worth mentioning that the government did not receive the votes to debate the COVID Emergency Law, which delegates decisions on restrictions according to established epidemiological criteria to governors. As a result, the government will have to move forward with a new decree. President Alberto Fernández said, “We are reaching a point where I expected a law to solve [this issue], but we must wait one more week. I hope that next week it can be dealt with, and we can agree on how we must act in the face of the risk. In the meantime, we will continue to extend the decision we already made.” Meanwhile, Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta called a press conference for 6:00 pm to announce the measures to be applied in the Federal Capital. Yesterday, the Ministry of Health recorded, 4,066,156 confirmed cases, 27,628 new cases in one day and 669 deaths in its daily report. With regards ICU bed occupancy, this figure stood at 79.1% at national level, and 76.7% in the AMBA.