As you may well know, Macri is — to quote the great Mylie Cyrus — having his own Party in the USA this week, meeting the new president face to face for the first time since becoming president of Argentina. Although the two have spoken over the phone before, the visit is kind of a big deal, as it marks the first time an Argentina president has gone to the Oval Office since 2003, which gave rise to this intimate moment:
As we spend our afternoons philosophizing about where mate time ends and Campari time begins, the two presidents are looking at a pretty packed schedule to get through.
Yesterday, over a lunch in a restaurant in Houston, Texas Macri delivered a speech to big oil execs — with brief diversions into English to explain his jokes — calling on them to invest in Vaca Muerta, an oilfield in Neuquén. According to Energy Minister Juan José Aranguren, Vaca Muerta will receive between 6,000 and 8,000 million US dollars in investment this year. The business leaders in attendance had paid around up to 5,000 US dollars to be sponsors of yesterday’s event, and Macri’s speech, delivered while he perched between an Argentine and a US flag, would have been music to their ears, as he called on the “best companies to come to Argentina to develop energy potential.” Critics are quick to voice concerns that this move to court big oil companies is inconsistent with the promises he has made to reduce pollution and protect the environment but it’s not clear how the administration plans to strike that balance (if at all).
Many companies already have an agreement signed with Neuquén’s oil union. This work agreement with Vaca Muerta, according to the government, was able to pay the March salaries of all of the workers in the areas, and reduced unconventional gas production costs by around 25 percent. Macri said yesterday that he will also sign a decree lowering the import tariff from 35 to 7 percent for equipment used for unconventional gas and petrol extraction and exploration methods. He finished off the luncheon with a blast from the past, recalling his trip to Texas 38 years ago for a football tournament, scoring two goals for his team in the final.
Today, Macri’s meeting with president Trump is scheduled. The Macris will arrive at The White House around mid-day, where they will be welcomed by the Trumps, sign the guest book and have a private meeting between the two leaders. This is followed by an extended bilateral meeting and a business lunch, attended by various cabinet members from both governments.
The afternoon entails giving an address at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, followed by a trip to Congress to meet with Senators, including the chairmen of the Committee on Foreign Relations, and later members of the House of Representatives.
Moving on to an evening at the Four Seasons, Macri will meet with CEOs and senior business executives, giving a presentation before the US Chamber of Commerce. He will also sign a memorandum of understanding between the US Chamber and the Argentine Business Convergence Forum.
The address will be live broadcast here: