MINISTER OF PRODUCTION
Argentina 2017 I Industry I Leader
BIOGRAPHY He was appointed as Minister of Production in December 2015. Prior to his appointment, he was Minister of Economic Development of the City of Buenos Aires and President of Fundación Pensar. Prior to starting his career in public service, he worked in the private sector in important companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Maxima, Roberts Group, HSBC Group and La Nación.
“WE ARE CARRYING OUT THE LARGEST INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN IN HISTORY TO IMPROVE THE COMPETITIVENESS OF PRODUCTION AND TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE OPPORTUNITY OF DEVELOPING LOCAL SUPPLIERS."
THE GOVERNMENT IS COMMITTED TO THE GROWTH OF THE INDUSTRY SECTOR WITH A ROBUST AND COMPETITIVE NATIONAL INDUSTRY. HOW THE ECONOMIC SITUATION IS AFFECTING THE SECTOR TODAY?
We want to reaffirm our government’s commitment to the growth of the industry. For a developed Argentina, we need a robust and competitive national industry. The industry is an essential generator of quality employment, incorporation of technology and strengthening of the social fabric, and our obsession as a government is to multiply the work to advance towards Zero Poverty. We want the industry to grow steadily for the next 20 years and for that we have to work hard together to face the challenges, which are many.
We know that 2016 was a tough year, we took steps that we wish we could have avoided. But we found a very damaged economy, which did not grow or generate employment, with high inflation and many distortions. The measures we took allowed us to avoid a crisis and lay the foundations of growth that is already happening. But above all, we are creating the foundations for a new economy. Inflation is falling and the economy is growing. We are reducing the fiscal deficit, but at the same time lowering taxes and improving infrastructure investment. We have reduced public spending and increased the percentage of GDP allocated to social benefits.
THE ECONOMY HAS BEEN GROWING STEADILY FOR THE LAST FOUR CONSECUTIVE QUARTERS AND INVESTORS ARE REGAINING CONFIDENCE IN ARGENTINA. WHAT ARE THE BEST PERFORMING SECTORS IN THE ECONOMY TODAY?
Growth was sequential and heterogeneous. First began agribusiness and as a result, pick ups were the best-selling cars during 2016, which drew the automotive industry. Then the construction, and began to lift their structural materials: steel, aluminum, cement. Gradually all sectors are taking off and industrial activity grew to 6.6% year-on-year in June.
There is already growth in 14 of the 15 sectors of the EMAE and 11 of the 12 of the manufacturing industry that relieves the INDEC. If the industry grows, it is because there are many entrepreneurs who invest to innovate and produce more, looking for new markets, increasing shifts and taking new jobs.
THE GOVERNMENT HAS ESTABLISHED THE NATIONAL PRODUCTION PLAN TO IMPROVE PRODUCTIVITY AND JOB CREATION IN THE INDUSTRY SECTOR. WHAT ARE THE KEY OBJECTIVES OF THIS PLAN?
We are aiming to solve fundamental problems and improve productivity in all aspects. We will improve access to financ- ing for the industry to incorporate technology and increase production with more added value. Between January and July, industrial SMEs received loans of USD 1.7 billion which is an increase of 53% compared to the same period in 2016. As inflation continues to decline, loan rates will improve. We are also working on a new capital market law to increase access to finance for companies. It is very important that the entire private sector supports it.
We have been working together with the National Government, provinces, companies, and unions, sector by sector to improve productivity and increase employment. We have already signed six agreements that are work plans, with commitments from each of the parties. With the automotive sector to produce 1 million cars in 2023. In Vaca Muerta to improve investment and productivity. With the motorcycle industry to increase the local integration of auto parts and exports. With textiles and footwear to boost the activity and contribute to the formalization of labor. And with the construction to create 100,000 homes. This week with the biotechnology sector, a pillar of the economy of the future, which has already committed to invest USD 670 million in this first stage. We are carrying out the largest infrastructure plan in history to improve the competitiveness of production and to take advantage of the opportunity of developing local suppliers. We know that the logistics costs are very high and we need to invest so that our production moves quickly, with diverse alternatives and in a competitive way. The Transportation Ministry is investing USD 1.9 billion over four years.
ONE OF THE PRIORITIES OF THE GOVENMENT OF PRESIDENT MACRI WAS TO RESTABLISH COMMERCIAL RELATIONS WITH INTERNATIONAL MARKETS. WHAT ARE THE EFFORTS BEING MADE TO GAIN ENTRY INTO STRATEGIC MARKETS?
We are working together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and we have already achieved important milestones in international negotiations. We opened the market to sell 42,000 cars and vans per year to Colombia. We reached a double taxation elimination agreement with Brazil for knowledge-based services. China will once again buy soybean oil and start working with its main e-commerce platform. From the agricultural sector, in 2016 and 2017, we have opened 39 destinations for 60 productive sectors and five markets were reopened for seven products. All this shows that we can negotiate with criteria and consistency.
Abovel all, our efforts show we can negotiate with our private sector sitting at the table, defending their needs and taking advantage of their capabilities. We want a strong MERCOSUR and during our Pro Tempore Presidency, we advanced an Investment Facilitation agreement and continue working to standardize the technical standards and regulations in our countries. We also return to the postponed agreement with the European Union and before the end of the year we will have significant progress.