President Mauricio Macri met with members of the Medef in Paris this morning.

President Mauricio Macri started off the last leg of his European trip today championing his record and encouraging French firms to invest in Argentina.

Fresh from the World economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Macri began his official activities in Paris this morning with representatives from the Mouvement des Entreprises de France (MEDEF), the largest federation of businesses in France, and later a lunch with businesses leaders hosted by the Rothschild Group. Macri will meet with French President Emmanuel Macron this afternoon, with the Mercosur-European Union trade negotiations featuring on the agenda.

Yesterday, Macron said that there were some “red lines” in the agricultural sector, both environmental and social, that he wasn’t prepared to cross in terms of an EU-Mercosur deal. He also thanked Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission for “resisting” a deal in late 2017 that would have been negative for the beef, sugar and ethanol sectors. Macri sent a message of his own to Macron yesterday at Davos.

Nonetheless Macron tired to reassure beef producers by saying that the Turkish and Japanese markets would be soon open for their exports. French beef producers expect the price of beef to fall 10 percent if a deal with the Mercosur is implemented, threatening 25,000 to 30,000 jobs.

Speaking at the breakfast, Macri said that “Argentines have matured, learned from their lessons” and that the October 2017 legislative elections were support for the “path” taken by his administration to attract investment and reduce poverty. “That allowed us to carry out the second phase of our reforms, with the support of the opposition.”

The president and members of his cabinet met with executives for lunch. (Photo via Argentine Presidency)
The president and members of his cabinet met with executives for lunch. (Photo via Argentine Presidency)

“This is the first time in history that we’ve exited a populist cycle without an economic crisis, within democratic institutions and the support of the people” said Macri. A press release distributed by the Argentine presidency noted that Frédéric Sanchez, president of the international chapter of MEDEF, offered support for “the changes that have taken place and the objectives of poverty and inflation reduction.” Sanchez confirmed that a delegation will travel to Argentina in September to scope out investment opportunities. The MEDEF represents 800,000 small businesses in the industrial, trade and services sectors.

As such, Macri listed renewables and non-conventionals such as the shale deposits at Vaca Muerta, energy, lithium, mining, infrastructure, tourism and air transport as areas in which investment would be welcome, adding once again that no country has as much potential as Argentina.

At the lunch, the president said that investments are “welcome, we want to work with them and we are very grateful for the overtures made towards us from the very beginning.”

Among those present at the lunch were executives from  large French and Eriopean companies like Carrefour, Acccor, L’Oréal, Sanofi, Arianespace, Dassault Aviation, Chargeurs, Natixis, Grupo Barceló, BDGS Associés, Todini Finanziaria, Nestlé, BBVA, Atlantia, Suez, Alstom, Rothschild.