March 25th, 2022
1. The board of the International Monetary Fund approved the agreement with Argentina
This Friday at noon, the board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved an Extended Facilities Agreement with Argentina that will allow the country to obtain financing from the multilateral organization for USD 45 billion in exchange for the implementation of a program which has among its main objectives the reduction of the structural deficit, the financing of the Central Bank to the Treasury and the lowering of inflation. In turn, the new funds will be used to strengthen the international reserves and face future maturities, which it is worth mentioning, will end in 2032 thanks to the new understanding. In this sense, it only remains the official statement from the IMF confirming the approval of the agreement, which was previously passed into law by the national Congress. In turn, Argentina managed to reach an agreement with the Paris Club to extend the payment of USD 2,000 million, part of a debt that the country holds with this forum of creditor countries.
2. The national government regulated the Front Labeling Law
On Wednesday of this week, through Decree 151/2022, the national government regulated Law 27,642 for the Promotion of Healthy Eating, also called Front Labeling, and which had been approved in October of last year by the House of Representatives. It should be recalled that the initiative promoted a labeling system with nutritional information on those products that have excess of sugar, sodium, saturated fat, total fat and/or calories. In this sense, the regulatory decree establishes that the affected products must have black octagons with this information in a visible, understandable, clear, and effective way. On the other hand, packaged foods and beverages that contain any warning seal may not incorporate complementary nutritional information, logos or phrases with the sponsorship or endorsements of scientific societies and/or civil associations, among others. In addition, the regulation established a 2-stage schedule regarding the limits that companies will have to adapt their products to the new nutritional references and their respective labels: the first one, within nine months from the date of entry into force of the law; and a second one, which establishes the implementation limit in a period not exceeding 18 months from the date of entry into force of the law. Finally, the enforcement authority will be the Ministry of Health.
3. President Fernández announced anti-inflationary measures
After the publication of February’s inflation result, which was 4.7%, President Alberto Fernández made a speech last Friday in order to announce measures to contain inflation. However, although he did not announce concrete measures, he said that the objective will be “to ensure that the prices of the most relevant consumer products are accessible to Argentine families” and called on the representatives of industry, trade unions, and society to form “a dialogue table”. One of the main measures already taken was the agreement made by the Secretary of Domestic Trade headed by Roberto Feletti together with several supermarket chains, whereby the prices of 580 products that have increased during the last few weeks will be returned to the values they had on March 10th. Finally, it is expected that the national government will create a “stabilization fund” which will be aimed at “avoiding increases in the prices of products that are internationally affected by the conflict in Ukraine”. In this sense, Decree 131/22 was published on Saturday, which increased the withholding of soybean oil and flour from 31% to 33%, and which aroused protests from rural entities.
4. The Gross Domestic Product grew 10.3% in 2021
The National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INDEC) reported this Wednesday that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew 10.3% in 2021, compared to the 9% drop in 2020, driven by the crisis generated by the COVID-19 pandemic; this way, the GDP grew again for the first time since 2018, when Mauricio Macri was President. In this sense, the report also showed an expansion in private consumption (10.2%), public consumption (7.8%) and investment (32.8%), as well as in exports (9%) and imports (21.5%), compared to 2020. Finally, the highest growth was recorded in the hotel and restaurant sectors (23.5%) and construction (27.1%), items that were strongly affected by the pandemic.
5. The national government establishes that companies with more than 100 employees must have nurseries
Through Decree 144/2022, published in the Official Gazette, the national government established that those companies that have more than 100 employees on their payroll must offer childcare spaces for children between 45 days and 3 years of age. In this sense, those employers whose facilities are in an industrial park may arrange for the implementation of care spaces at a distance of fewer than two kilometers. On the other hand, it is worth mentioning that the regulations offer as an alternative the “payment of a non-remunerative monetary sum, as reimbursement for childcare expenses or care work” through the collective labor agreements. In this regard, the decree regulates article 179 of Law 20,744 of Labor Contract which had been approved in 1974, and that the Supreme Court of Justice had demanded to the Executive Power through a 2021 ruling.