December 24th, 2021
1. The Chamber of Deputies approved modifications to the Personal Property Tax and must return to the Senate
The Chamber of Deputies met on Tuesday after rejecting the Executive Branch’s 2022 Budget projection last week. This time, with 127 yes votes and 126 no’s, the Senate’s half-sanction was approved with modifications, raising the Personal Property non-taxable minimum. Among the proposed changes, it introduced a clause that maintains the 2.25% rate on imported goods. The bill must now return to the Senate for final approval. The Frente de Izquierda bloc, whose four deputies allowed the ruling Frente de Todos to approve the proposed modifications, was key for the vote’s success. On the other hand, Juntos por el Cambio, Interbloque Federal, liberal deputies, and minority provincial blocs voted against the measure.
2. The national government pays the International Monetary Fund USD 1.89 billion
This Wednesday, the national government made a second payment of USD 1.89 billion to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). These disbursements are part of the Standby agreement through which Argentina received a loan of USD 44 billion from the international organization. The payment was made as part of the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) the country received from the IMF in August. The executive branch will have to cancel USD 3.9 billion of maturities in the first quarter of 2022. The agency published a report analyzing the agreement signed with Mauricio Macri’s administration in 2018 that revealed that the loan had “substantial risks for the IMF” and that the Argentine government did not meet the objectives “of restoring confidence in the market, the reduction of external and fiscal imbalances, the reduction of inflation, and the protection of the most vulnerable segments of the population.”
3. The United States Congress confirms Marc Stanley as ambassador to Argentina
The United States Senate confirmed Marc Stanley to serve as ambassador to the Argentine Republic. Stanley is close to President Joe Biden and worked on the 2020 presidential campaign. In addition, he was head of the Jewish Democratic National Council for six years. The ambassador assured a U.S. senatorial committee a few months ago that Argentina should present an economic plan to stabilize the country to “direct the discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and refinance outstanding debt of USD 45 billion.”
4. COVID-19 cases increased last week
The national Ministry of Health reported 11,121 new cases of COVID-19 and 11 deaths on Tuesday. The weekly average of infections up to that day was 6,309, a significant rise over the last seven days. Health authorities continued urging the population to get tested, vaccinated, and take preventive measures. The Province of Buenos Aires’ “COVID Free Pass” took effect this week, while the national government’s pass will begin to be rolled out on January 1, 2022. Both measures accredit fully vaccinated individuals over 13 years of age to attend activities with a higher epidemiological and health risks such as mass events or work activities.
5. MERCOSUR extends the import tax increase regime
Within the framework of the Summit of Heads of State of MERCOSUR and Associated States, the States Parties resolved to extend Decision 27/15 of the Common Market Council for seven more years. It authorizes a temporary increase in imports originating outside the zone without exceeding the limit established by the World Trade Organization (WTO). According to a statement from the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the measure, which was extended through Decision 9/21, aims to meet the expectations of member states’ productive sectors.
Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, Comercio Internacional y Culto: Cumbre del Mercosur: Comunicado de Prensa de Argentina, Brasil y Paraguay