March 6, 2020
1. Alberto Fernández to kick off regularly scheduled 2020 legislative activities
With an emphasis on institutions and an invitation to generate consensus, President Alberto Fernández kicked off Congressional ordinary sessions. The head of state stressed the state of the country he received upon inauguration, how he worked from the beginning on Argentina’s most urgent needs and discussed the economic reality and the importance of renegotiating debt in a sustainable manner. Moreover, Fernández presented his agenda for Congress, his vision regarding Argentina’s position on a global stage, and a series of collective activities for productive sectors of the economy, giving special attention to agriculture, hydrocarbons, mining and the knowledge economy. It is worth noting that during the Senate’s final extraordinary session, the “Gondola Law” – which mandates equal exhibition of brands on supermarket shelves – passed with 56 votes in favor, 0 against and 4 abstentions. It will take effect once regulated.
2. Martín Guzmán meets with IMF mission
Economy Minister Martín Guzmán received the IMF’s Argentina mission on Thursday. The IMF continued their analysis of the economic situation through different meetings that were held with Central Bank President Miguel Pesce and Productive Development Minister Matías Kulfas. The mission had already met with Argentine revenue agency (AFIP) chief Mercedes Marcó del Pont and gathered information with the goal of advancing on discussions regarding the country’s economic program and the strategy employed by Argentine authorities to achieve debt sustainability. The revision of the IMF of Argentina’s public finances has already concluded.
3. Health Ministry confirms two coronavirus cases in Argentina
Health Minister Ginés González García confirmed the first positive coronavirus test in Argentina: the patient is currently hospitalized and isolated in a private clinic in the city of Buenos Aires after having arrived from a two-week long trip across Europe. The second patient was confirmed today. The Ministry of Health began once again to release daily reports regarding the state of the virus in Argentina that can be reviewed online.
4. Chamber of Deputies president travels to Brazil, meets with President Bolsonaro
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro received the president of Argentina’s lower house, Sergio Massa, where they both agreed to strengthen bilateral relations and “consolidate Mercosur.” Massa met with Bolsonaro in the framework of a parliamentary diplomacy movement, highlighting that they reached agreements to work together to reinforce both country’s economy – although the presidents of both countries have yet to meet. Prior to the meeting with the president, Massa met his Brazilian counterpart, Rodrigo Maia, alongside a delegation of deputies from both countries. Massa’s visit also included meetings with Brazilian Senate chief, Davi Alcolumbre, and Supreme Court President Antonio Dias Toffoli.
5. Government announces hike in withholdings on soy, reduces duties on regionally-significant products
Through Decree 230/2020, the government made its tax hike on soy exports official – increasing them by 3% to 33% – and reduced taxes on a multitude of crops associated with regional economies. The government hopes that these policies will “prove fundamental in establishing inclusive policies on exports from regional economies that improve their performance and increase competitivity in the export of value-added goods and services.” With this measure, withholdings on peas, kidney beans, chickpeas and lentils will drop 4% to 5%, peanuts and sunflowers by 5% to 7%, and flour by 2% to 7%. In the case of confection sunflower and sunflower oil, the reduction will amount to 7%, to 5%.