2018 was a tumultuous year for Argentina. Confidence in investing in the country dwindled as it experienced its worst drought in 30 years, the collapse of the peso, a $57 billion IMF bailout and the impact of the U.S.-China trade war. But opportunities are also emerging for investors, especially given the policies of President Mauricio Macri, who took office in 2015.
Gustavo Horacio Luis Fazzari, Consul General of the Argentine Republic in Hong Kong, discussed these challenges and opportunities with members at the Chamber's Country Briefing Series roundtable luncheon on 13 December.
He said that Argentina has advantages in many sectors including infrastructure, agribusiness, manufacturing, knowledge-based services and renewable energy.
“Many of the industries and infrastructure in Argentina need large investment,” he said. “I hope that more investment will be made in the country under China’s Belt and Road Initiative.”
The country's relationship with the Mainland has been developing in recent months. Fazzari explained that during and after the 2018 G20 Summit held in Argentina, an $8.5-billion currency swap deal and an agreement to reduce non-tariff barriers were made between Mainland China and Argentina. The government of President Macri has been working hard to renew the face of Argentina and reach out the world in terms of opening the country’s markets, he added.
Nicolas Aguzin, Chairman and CEO for JP Morgan Asia Pacific, also spoke at the roundtable. He told members that there were huge opportunities in the country’s tourism and technology industries in particular, and that Argentina had sufficient talent and human capital available to support the development of these sectors.
Aguzin also recommended that investors find good local partners and be aware of the capital structure when doing business in the country.
“Anyone who is looking to invest in Argentina has to consider making a long-term investment and get ready to go through ups and downs,” he said.
Diego Gieco, Managing Director for Corium Ltd, shared his insights based on more than 20 years of experience doing business in Mainland China and Hong Kong. As an Argentinean, he said that the biggest difficulty had been adapting to the cultural differences.