(Photo via Twitter Mauricio Macri/DDC)

President Mauricio Macri Macri arrived in Russia this morning – afternoon in Moscow –  thus kicking off his first international trip of 2018, with a bilateral meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin as the main highlight. The President’s official agenda will begin tomorrow at 9 AM local time at the Ritz Carlton Hotel – same one he will be staying in tonight –  with a working breakfast with 18 Russian business giants.

“We made it to Russia,” the President tweeted this morning.

Biocad (Biotech), Gazprom (Energy), Gazprombank (Banking), Phosagro (Agrochemicals), Rosatom (Nuclear Energy), Sinara (Investments), Uralkali (Fertilizers), Vnesheconombank (Development Bank), Lukoil (Oil), Mail.Ru (Internet), Russian Railways, Vtb Bank Grou, Yandex (Internet), Russian Copper Co., Transmashholding (Railway) and Softline (Information Technology) will be represented at the meeting.

Macri, on his end, will be joined by Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie, Argentine Ambassador to Russia Ricardo Lagorio and Energy and Agro-industry ministers Juan José Aranguren and Luis Miguel Etchevehere.

The choice of ministers is not casual. Most of the countries’ bilateral trade revolves around the agribusiness sector: The single biggest Argentine exports in 2016 are pears (11.7 percent of the total) and lemons (8.7 percent), while mineral fuel and oil (42.1 percent) and mineral or chemical fertilizers (34 percent) were the largest imports.

Aranguren, on his end, will try to captivate energy sector leaders to get them to invest in thee nergy fields located in the Province of Neuquén’s Vaca Muerta region, as well as the electric grid to transport the energy the country could produce as a result of its exploitation.

The President will then partake in the inauguration ceremony of a plaza that will be baptized as “Argentine Republic.” The plaza will be located in the district of Yakimanka, very close to the Argentine embassy, the Presidency’s website informed.

After laying a wreath at the Tomb of  the Unknown Soldier – in honor of those fallen during World War II – Macri will meet with Putin in the Kremlin. Macri will be joined by Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie, Strategic Affairs Secretary Fulvio Pompeo and Argentine Ambassador to Russia Ricardo Lagorio.

Photo via Clarín
Photo via Clarín

The foreign minister began working on achieving a fruitful outcome even before the beginning of the official activity, telling La Nación that Russia “is an economic and commercial player of major importance to Argentina.” Although he clarified there will not be any “major announcements” regarding investments, he emphasized on the need to “keep up the work through time” to eventually get them.

On the Russian side, Putin will be joined by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, foreign affairs adviser Yuri Ushakov and Sergey Dankvert, head of the Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance. Dankvert’s portfolio related to the controls on imports of agricultural goods, a key interest for Buenos Aires.

The Kremlin said in a statement that “the two leaders will discuss the further development of comprehensive Russian-Argentinean partnership in politics, trade and the economy and in the cultural and humanitarian spheres, as well as exchange opinions on current international issues.”

After the bilateral meeting, the two delegations will share a working lunch. Both heads of state will then hold a joint press conference. This event will mark the end of the Macri’s official activity in Russia. On the same day, the President will make his way to Davos, Switzerland, to partake in the World Economic Forum.