April 31, 2020
1. Government extends mandatory preventative social isolation
Through Decree 408/2020, the Argentine government extended the mandatory preventative social isolation measures through May 10th. The decree made President Alberto Fernández’s announcements during last Saturday’s press conference, where he also presented an epidemiological analysis of the pandemic. Beginning with this new norm, provincial governors have the power to make exceptions for the mandatory preventative social isolation measures, provided compliance with a series of requirements. Additionally, the measure permits “recreational outings outside the house up to 500 meters away” in cities with less than 500,000 residents. Nonetheless, the isolation measures will continue without any changes for those cities with more than 500,000 residents. Finally, through Decree 409/2020, the government extended the ban on entry of non-resident foreigners into the country through May 10th.
2. Citing the health emergency, Argentina will not participate in external Mercosur negotiations
The chancellery announced the suspension of Argentina’s participation in Mercosur free trade talks with South Korea, Lebanon and Canada. In this sense, they stated that now is not the moment to open the economy as a result of the crisis caused by COVID-19, causing differences with the other three member countries (Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay). Nonetheless, the Argentine government is continuing talks with the EU regarding the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA).
3. Alejandro Vanoli resigned as head of the ANSES
The Chief of Cabinet of Ministers, Santiago Cafiero, asked Alejandro Vanoli, who until yesterday was the head of the National Administration of Social Security (ANSES), to resign. The government indicated that Vanoli’s departure is due to the fact that they are looking for a “more dynamic” ANSES that is “close to the needs of the people” in the context of the coronavirus pandemic emergency. In this sense, Vanoli had been questioned due to the overflow of risk groups and other beneficiaries of social allowances at the doors of banks throughout the country in the framework of the coronavirus pandemic. The government confirmed that María Fernanda Raverta, who was serving as Minister of Community Development in the Province of Buenos Aires, will be the new head of the entity.
4. CGT and UIA agreed on a 25% limit on wage adjustments for suspended workers
Argentina’s largest labor union, the CGT, and the largest employer advocacy group, the UIA, reached an agreement limiting salary cuts to 25% of total salary for suspended workers, as a result of the pandemic. Labor unions headed to the negotiation table after suspensions and cuts reached 50%. The agreement was reached after a roundtable that included Héctor Daer, Carlos Acuña, Andrés Rodríguez and Antonio Caló from the CGT, Miguel Acevedo and Daniel Funes de Rioja from the UIA, and the Ministers of Labor and Productive Development, Claudio Moroni and Matías Kulfas, respectively.
5. Kicillof announces economic measures for small-scale merchants and SMEs
Accompanied by the provincial Minister of Production, Augusto Costa and the President of the Provincial Bank, Juan Cuattromo, Buenos Aires Governor Axel Kicillof presented the Productive Stimulus Plan. This policy includes measures such as “open businesses” and the Provincial Plan for the Production of Essential Supplies, which consist of platforms for small merchants, help for small and medium enterprises and cooperatives to “diversify and retrain.” Additionally, the government added measures including FINDE, which aims to stimulate the consumption of cultural goods and services by electronic means, an agreement between the Provincial Bank (BAPRO) and the Buenos Aires Guarantee Fund (FOGABA), and the creation of Regional Consultative Councils.