January 17, 2020
1. Alberto Fernández to make first official trip as president to Israel
President Alberto Fernández announced that his first trip as president will be to the city of Jerusalem, in Israel on January 23rd. There he will participate at a forum titled “Remembering the Holocaust, Fighting Antisemitism” marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Following his trip to the Middle East, Fernández will visit the Vatican where he will meet with Pope Francis. The president has not yet rejected the idea of extending his trip through Europe and visiting Spain and Portugal, as he did while he was campaigning for president. In line with his international agenda, Economy Minister Martín Guzmán hopes to secure a meeting with IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva on February 5th, at a meeting organized by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, titled “New Forms of Solidarity Towards Fraternal Inclusion, Integration and Innovation.” During the final days of January, Guzmán will receive the first IMF mission since Fernández assumed the presidency in Buenos Aires, a committee led by new head Luis Cubeddu, a Venezuelan economist with a long trajectory at the multilateral lender, and Julie Kozak, who does not have experience working in Argentina.
2. Inflation reaches 3.7% in December; accumulating to 53.8% for 2019
The Argentine statistical agency (INDEC) published figures from its consumer price index, the country’s official inflation indicator. December’s 3.7% inflation was added to the running total for 2019, which reached 53.8% – the highest figure in the last 28 years. The sector that saw the sharpest increase in prices were health, communication and home goods. The inflation rate’s high points throughout the year were fueled primarily by increases in the exchange rate at various moments.
3. Government focus on imports administration
Last week, the government announced an additional 300 products that will fall under the group of non-automatic import licenses, which has raised concerns about delays in the importation process. The government is currently communicating details of the new norms to business chambers, while the Secretary of Industry and Foreign Trade, Ariel Schale, stated that in the future, they will not permit any company that has not completed the new AFIP (Argentine tax agency) form to import. The automotive, auto parts and plastics sectors experienced delays in receiving their non-automatic import licenses for goods needed to produce. According to the WTO, the government can withhold the licenses for up to 60 days.
4. Alberto Fernández meets with legislative leaders in push for extraordinary congressional sessions
President Alberto Fernández met with Chamber of Deputies head, Sergio Massa, and Frente de Todos leader, Máximo Kirchner, on Tuesday to develop an agenda for the extraordinary sessions of congress that the government will submit in the coming days. The three leaders highlighted that the agenda’s draft versions are nearly complete and will touch on, retirement privileges, the fiscal pact, debt renegotiation with the IMF ,a reform of the federal justice system and the government plans to include a project for the development of Vaca Muerta.
5. U.S. to support Brazil’s OECD membership
U.S. President Donald Trump will support Brazil’s entry into the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in exchange for continuing support for Argentina in spite of their new administration. The information was made official by the U.S. Embassy in Brazil.