In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Mauricio Macri confirmed that a date has been officially established for his meeting with Donald Trump. This April the 27th, Macri will fly to Washington D.C. to meet with Trump in the White House, where they plan to discuss Argentine-United States bilateral relations, trade and Mercosur-US relations. The meeting has been a goal for the Macri administration since Trump took office, and was made possible after the Trump administration offered an invitation during their last telephone conversation on February 15th.
Former Argentine Ambassador in the US, Martín Lousteau, was supposed to be a part of the meeting to support the bilateral discussion. Given his resignation this Monday, this will no longer be the case. Susana Malcorra, in a press conference at Palacio San Martín, announced that Deputy Chief of Misson Sergio Osvaldo Pérez Gunella is assuming the duties of the post in the meantime.
Macri reports that Trump believes that the relationship built by the Obama administration will serve as the base of their discussions, and that “we should believe that we are going to analyze our relations and achieve benefits of future cooperation.” Topics of mututal concern may include, “commercial relations… drug trafficking and terrorism.”
Macri makes clear, however, that he is “not… a defender of the free market,” but that he believes in “globalization.” The statement appears to attempt to bridge his understanding that Argentina’s economy will grow through participation in larger markets, but in way that doesn’t damage local industry. Macri ends this train of thought saying, “We can find ways of deepening our relationship between Argentina and the United States [because right now] we have a very weak connection.”
For Argentina, the most contentious potential talking point may be dialogue on increasing trade between Argentina and the US: “We should focus ourselves first on areas that we can compliment each other.” Macri may be referring to increased Agricultural exports to the US, a topic of discussion in their last telephone conversation.
But Argentine-US relations are only part of the planned discussion, as Macri affirms the importance of including Mercosur in the bilateral discussion. Perhaps most in the forefront of these discussions is the political crisis in Venezuela and what collective action can and should be taken to support Venezuelan democracy.
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