L to R: Maria Eugenia Vidal, Ruben Ramírez, and Juan Manuel Urtubey (Image: Andres Carli) 


Summary: Argentina 2016 – Economic and Political Perspectives

By Magdalena Day

Ministers, governors, and legislators spoke about the new government’s agenda to increase transparency and expand the country’s economy.


Opening Remarks

  • Susan Segal, President and CEO, Americas Society/Council of the Americas
  • Jorge Luis Di Fiori, President, Argentine Chamber of Commerce
  • Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, Mayor, Buenos Aires
  • Marcos Peña, Chief of Cabinet of Ministers


  • Francisco Cabrera, Minister of Production

Panel: Economic and Financial Perspectives

  • Roberto Sifón Arévalo, Managing Director, Lead Analytical Manager of Sovereigns & Public Finance Ratings in Latin America, S&P Global
  • Gerardo Mato, Chairman, Global Banking – Americas, HSBC Securities
  • Susan Segal, President and CEO, Americas Society/Council of the Americas (moderator)

Governors Panel

  • Juan Manuel Urtubey, Governor of Salta
  • Maria Eugenia Vidal, Governor of Buenos Aires
  • Ruben Ramírez, Director Representative, Argentina, CAF – Banco de Desarrollo de América Latina (moderator)


  • Andrés Ibarra, Minister of Modernization

Panel: The legislative agenda for Argentina's future

  • Graciela Camaño, National Deputy (Frente Renovador)
  • Julio Cobos, National Senator (Unión Cívica Radical)
  • Federico Pinedo, National Senator and Provisional Senate President (Frente Pro)
  • Omar Perotti, National Senator (PJ Frente para la Victoria)
  • Jorge Argüello, President, Fundación Embajada Abierta (moderator)

Lea el resumen en español.

AS/COA’s 2016 Latin American Cities Conference in Buenos Aires offered perspectives on a new economic and political scenario in Argentina. The new president of the Argentine Chamber of Commerce, Jorge Di Fiori, and new government leaders joined AS/COA President and CEO Susan Segal in opening the thirteenth edition of the conference #councilARG. The need to demonstrate the country’s economic and political stability to investors was one of the recurrent themes of the day, as well as the government’s focus on supporting the private sector. 

Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta focused his presentation on what makes the capital especially competitive and what it can offer international investors, such as a sophisticated creative industry and talent in sectors such as technological entrepreneurship.

For Marcos Peña, the new Cabinet Chief since the Mauricio Macri administration took office December 10, the government has successfully created a plan to stabilize Argentina, including initiatives to remove currency controls and settle a debt deal in record time to “normalize” the economy and reenter the global market. These cultural changes are among the government’s priorities for Argentina’s future. 

Production Minister Francisco Cabrera followed with remarks on the government’s commitment to helping small and medium companies prosper by reducing taxes and promoting competition.

Segal then moderated a panel with international investors Roberto Arévalo Sifón and Gerardo Mato, who discussed the growing confidence Argentina has generated and its effect on the country’s sovereign ratings among agencies like S&P. The panelists agreed that the government should continue to work on the transformations the administration kicked off in December, commending Macri’s economic team for the speed at which they’re moving. 

Buenos Aires Governor María Eugenia Vidal discussed the political initiatives her province is taking to ensure investor confidence, such as limits on the reelection of local officials and increasing accountability. She urged the audience at the Alvear Palace Hotel to invest in Buenos Aires because it represents 35-40 percent of the Argentine economy and population, and because, “other investors are already doing it.” Vidal also talked about the need to work on infrastructure projects, pointing out that indebting the city to pay for infrastructure is good debt, and crucial to avoid flooding in Buenos Aires. 

The governor of Salta, Juan Manuel Urtubey, also emphasized the importance of infrastructure projects, like the Plan Belgrano, for Argentina’s northern region. Urtubey says investing in infrastructure reduces transportation and logistical costs that affect competitiveness. 

The minister of modernization, Andrés Ibarra, was next to speak, presenting the various plans the government has to increase transparency and eradicate corruption in Argentina. Initiatives include the digitalization of public records and administration and employee training. 

The conference closed with a panel of national senators and deputies discussing the legislative priorities of the new administration. From the government’s coalition, Julio Cobos (National Senator, Union Cívica Radical) presented his housing proposal and Federico Pinedo (Provisional President of the Senate of Argentina, Propuesta Republicana) emphasized the government’s commitment to economic expansion. From the opposition, Graciela Camaño (National Deputy, Frente Renovador) and Omar Perroti called for greater dialogue among the parties and the need to combat security issues like narcotrafficking.  

Elizabeth Gonzalez translated this summary.