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sing to me Argentina

Wednesday 14 April, 2010

I had lunch with the Niagara Foundation again, this time featuring Gustavo Martino, Consul General of Argentina in Chicago, who gave a presentation from Prosper AR about investment opportunities in Argentina & economic integration in Latin America. Here are the highlights:

Buenos Aires has a population of 3M of the 10M in the area.  Argentina has 24 states with a population of 40M total with GDP per capita of $14,000 & literacy rate of 90+% (education is provided for free).  GDP grew 8 1/2 % on average 2003-2008.  Argentina’s  exports are up 19% to $82B worth of goods & services & imports are up 29% to $67B worth of the same.  Industrial goods made up 22% while agriculture accounted for 10%.  Argentina is a member of the WTO & a part of the G20.  Foreign direct investment (FDI) is up 50% from 2007 to 2008 & 3-4 % already this year.  Argentina is ranked #9 in greenfield investments.  The country has a low debt ratio as % of GDP, is running current account surpluses in 2009 & 2010, & its reserves are up.  On the human resources front, labor productivity is increasing & Argentina boasts a number of leading researchers & Nobel Prize winners.

On Latin American integration, Mercosur brought together Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, & Uruguay in a common market/customs union, which means they have a common trade policy & external tariff.  The combined market has a population of 241M consumers & GDP of almost $2 Trillion.  Trade among internal partners has increased from 5% to 25%.  They lead an active international agenda leading to Free Trade Agreements with Latin American & other countries like Israel & South Africa.

Q&A

  • investments, consumption, & exports are all growing
  • the top 3 origins of FDI have changed from France, Italy, & the UK to Brazil, China, & Spain.
  • although historically inflation has been a problem, it is now at a more manageable 8-10%

If you go to Argentina, you must learn to tango.  I requested the presentation from the presenters, but they haven’t sent it to me.

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