June 5, 2020
1. Alberto Fernandez announced the extension of the Preventive, Mandatory and Social Isolation until June 28
President Alberto Fernández announced a new extension of the preventive, mandatory and social isolation in the Metropolitan Area of Buenos Aires (AMBA), Gran Resistencia, Gran Córdoba and some cities of Río Negro and Trelew, until June 28th inclusive. These are the conglomerates where there is community circulation of the virus. Meanwhile, the rest of the country is entering the “new normality” phase, which will be based on “obligatory social distancing”. Accompanied by the Buenos Aires City mayor, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, and the governor of the province of Buenos Aires, Axel Kicillof, Fernández argued that 90% of the cases of Covid-19 were registered in the AMBA, while there are 18 provinces that are free of infection. Fernández explained that although a large part of the country is already functioning, the problem of the coronavirus has not yet been overcome. For this reason, he explained that public or private events involving more than ten people, such as cinemas, theaters, clubs, cultural centers, interurban or interjurisdictional public transportation, and tourist activity will continue to be prohibited throughout the country.
2. Argentine central bank outlines new measures for businesses to access foreign exchange market
The Argentine central bank mandated that businesses with liquid assets originating in the formation of foreign assets must put these resources towards paying off foreign debts. Any firm that liquidates government bonds issued in pesos to foreign currency must wait 90 days prior to and following the transaction in order to access the official exchange market. Companies must request prior authorization from the Argentine central bank to access the exchange market for the payment of foreign obligations (imports) if they have reduced their total debt obligation as of January 1st, 2020. Additionally, an affidavit will be required to certify the debts reported, and in the case of a false report, the company’s access to the exchange market will be blocked, and penalties will be imposed.
3. Government extends external debt negotiation deadline to June 12th
Through Resolution 266/2020 published in the Official Bulletin, the national government officially extended its timeframe for the renegotiation of debt issued under foreign legislation through June 12th. Following the announcement, Economy Minister Martín Guzmán confirmed that the government is working on the final amendments to its offer but warned that the leeway to restore debt sustainability is limited. Days later, IMF Director Kristalina Georgieva reiterated the multilateral lender’s plea to the Argentine government and its private creditors to reach an agreement regarding the country’s sovereign debt and expressed that “nobody benefits from a country falling off the cliff,” referring to debt.
4. Senate endorsed Alberto Fernandez’s decrees to alleviate the effects of COVID-19
The Senate held its third virtual session. On Thursday afternoon, the officialism of the Chamber unanimously approved – the opposition withdrew from the room – a package of 12 DNU, including the one that enables the chief of staff, Santiago Cafiero, to reallocate budget items. Extensions of the preventive, mandatory and social isolation and border closures, a ban on dismissals and closing of bank accounts, and the impossibility of suspending prepaid mobile phone or internet service due to lack of payment were also approved. On the other hand, they rejected the decrees that enabled the transfer of wiretapping during the macrism to the Supreme Court, which must now be returned to deputies to be repealed. The opposition, meanwhile, blocked at the start of the session the draft Law on Rentals and Distance Education in rejection of the government’s intention to deal with the 12 DNU as a package.
5. Supreme Court lifts judicial and federal tribunal recess in eight provinces
The Supreme Court declared the lifting of the judicial recess in courts and federal tribunals in the jurisdictions of Corrientes, Tucumán, Comodoro Rivadavia, Mendoza and Córdoba. Resolution 17 of the Supreme Court established that every province can establish its own protocols. However, the circulation licenses for COVID-19 at-risk groups remain the same for those above 60 years of age. In the case that a justice or judicial functionary is above 60, all work must be conducted remotely, which means a digital ruling will be valid for sentences and resolutions.