April 30, 2021
1. Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area maintains restrictions through May 21st
President Alberto Fernández announced that his government will extend restrictions at high epidemiological risk, like the Buenos Aires metro area. The president stated that, “we need a marked and sustained reduction in cases over the coming weeks, as it could be difficult to get an ICU bed, as a result, we should continue with the measures so everyone can access the health resources they need and deserve.” At national level, social meetings in private homes will be suspended and in public open-air spaces only less than 10 people will be allowed to gather. In this sense, a division of zones is proposed according to the levels of contagion in each one of them. In the “epidemiological alert” zones, such as the AMBA, circulation will not be allowed between 8 pm and 6 am, and shopping centers, casinos, bingos and discotheques will remain closed. Gastronomic establishments will be closed between 7 PM and 6 AM the following day, and will only be allowed to continue under the delivery modality. As for the recreational practice of any sport in closed places, those involving more than 10 people will be prohibited. In high risk areas, circulation will not be allowed between 0 and 6 AM, and a 30% capacity is established for cultural, social, recreational and religious events, cinemas, theaters, clubs, cultural and related centers; gastronomic premises; gyms. In areas of medium health risk, the authorities will be empowered to adopt measures to reduce traffic. On the other hand, Fernández informed that in the next few days he will send a “bill to Congress so that, on the basis of clear and precise scientific criteria, the President of the Nation and the governors will be empowered to take restrictions and precautionary measures during this exceptional situation.”
2. Argentina reveals proposal to reduce Common External Tariff during Mercosur foreign minister summit
Argentine Chancellor Felipe Solá presented a proposal to reduce Mercosur’s common external tariff, the levy that all countries outside of the trade bloc must pay for their products to enter the region. Solá ratified his position in favor of a bloc-wide push to deepen trade relations with other countries, provided they comply with Mercosur’s priorities. Solá’s proposal applies a methodology of tariff segmentation into agro-industrial, industrial, capital goods, IT and telecommunications products. Economy Minister Martín Guzmán acknowledged that although there are differences among the countries that make up the regional bloc, “we also see that there are points of agreement, and the important thing is to make progress on these points in order to build a more modern Mercosur, adapted to the development needs of our nations. The Argentine proposal contemplates the reduction of the Common External Tariff on a total of 1,900 input products, as well as for capital goods and accessories, from the current 2% to 0%. The Uruguayan initiative, on the other hand, contemplates a reduction of all tariffs by around 10% this year and by a similar percentage in 2022.
3. The opposition announced that it will support the postponement of the primary elections
The Budget and Finance Committee of the Chamber of Deputies, chaired by Carlos Heller, issued an opinion on Wednesday regarding an income tax reform that seeks to alleviate 90% of SMEs’ tax burden. The Consenso Federal and Juntos por el Cambio coalitions, on the other hand, expressed their rejection to the new marginal tax framework that establishes a rate of 25% for accumulated net profits of up to ARS $5 million (USD $53,438), a rate that will not only cover SMEs but also most medium-sized companies. The second bracket which will tax 30% of accumulated net profits between ARS $5 million and ARS $20 million (USD $213,752), and a third bracket will tax accumulated net profits above ARS $20 million at 35%. Dividends distributed will be taxed universally at 7%. Heller stated that “in our opinion, in 2021, with these rates we are proposing, the real income will increase by approximately ARS $45 to $50 billion (USD $481.03 million to $534.5 million), a figure equivalent to what will be lost due to the changes introduced in the income tax for individuals”. Two additions to the text of the bill were also announced. The first one is to favor the incorporation of women and transgender individuals as director, trustee or members of the board of directors of companies and mentions to the deductible amounts that are destined to the payment of fees to such officers. With the other amendment, it was clarified that the present bill will not modify the taxation rate of 41.5% on income derived from the gambling at casinos, electronic machines and/or automated betting machines of immediate resolution or not and/or through digital platforms. The opposition criticized the project and Juntos por el Cambio announced that it would present a minority opinion. In this sense, the vice-chairman of the committee, Deputy Luciano Laspina (PRO), said that “everything the government does is to destroy all the good things done by the previous government. On the other hand, the head of the Consenso Federal block, Jorge Sarghini, declared “we do not support this bill for macro and micro economic reasons.”
Ámbito: Diputados: obtuvo dictamen el proyecto que modifica ganancias para empresas
Infobae: Diputados: la modificación del Impuesto a las Ganancias para empresas obtuvo dictamen y en una semana tendría media sanción
4. Government prepares price freeze on series of 100 products until elections
Weeks after announcing March’s 4.8% inflation rate, the government plans on freezing prices of a series of essential products including flour, rice, polenta, oil, dairy, coffee and some cleaning and hygiene products, through November’s elections. All supermarkets, stores, self-service retailers and wholesalers across the country will offer these products at set prices. This proposal will replace the current price ceiling framework, which will expire on May 15th. With this in mind, the government – led by Interior Commerce Secretary Paula Español – is currently in talks with major players in the food and personal hygiene industry.
5. Public Works minister Gabriel Katopodis to serve as caretaker of Ministry of Transport
Through Decree 269/2021 published on Wednesday in the Official Gazette, the Minister of Public Works, Gabriel Katopodis, was temporarily entrusted with the signature and care of the office of the Ministry of Transportation. The position became vacant after the death of the Minister of Transport, Mario Meoni. The decision was made after the ruling coalition made its desire clear that the position be taken over by somebody from the Frente Renovador. Meoni passed on Friday in an accident on National Route 7 – he was one of the cabinet members closest to Chamber of Deputies President, Sergio Massa.