President Mauricio Macri landed in Davos, Switzerland in preparation for a few days of non-stop showmanship at the World Economic Forum, an annual International Monetary Fund (IMF) event. In addition to his responsibilities as G-20 Chair, Macri will meet one-on-one with heads of state and CEOs in the hopes of strengthening economic relationships and procuring international investments.
And he’s piqued ample interest. Already planning to meet with Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Queen Máxima of Holland, and IMF Director Christine Lagarde (among others), the German Prime Minister Angela Merkel has also requested a meeting with him. Perhaps over beers and brats they can hammer out some details on the long-standing negotiations for a Mercosur-EU trade deal which were unable to be finished during December’s WTO meeting in Buenos Aires.
If any EU issue is discussed, it will likely carry forward through the end of the week, when Macri heads to France for meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron. Macron has already signaled his desire in a deal of his own, in regard to the sale of four patrolling naval ships. Previously, this €300 million sale has been negotiated between the two countries for over a year and a half, but rejected by Argentina for budget concerns. Now it seems, Macron wants to sweeten the deal, and make him an offer he can’t refuse.
Included in the president’s entourage are Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie, Treasury Minister Nicolas Dujovne, Minister of Energy Juan José Aranguren, and Minister of Production Francisco Cabrera. Buenos Aires City Chief of Government Horacio Rodríguez Larreta and Entre Ríos Governor Gustavo Bordet are also in Davos in order to attract regional attention in the form of investments. Rodríguez Larreta is set to speak on a panel about the future of urban mobility and also about the responsibilities of cities taking care of the environment during a meal organized by the Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen.
Rodríguez Larreta will also promote the Urban20, an initiative set up in preparation for the G-20 Summit at the end of 2018, through which global mayors can discuss issues of the urban environment with G-20 leaders.
Salta Governor Juan Manuel Urtubey was initially slotted to attend as well, however at the last minute announced he would stay in Salta to deal with the recent shutdown of a sugar mill in the province. As with his first trip to Davos when he invited former Frente Renovador Congressman Sergio Massa, Macri chose to invite Bordet and Urtubey, both members of the Partido Justicialista opposition party. Bordet and Urtubey gave integral support to the pension reforms that passed in December.
The World Economic Forum was Macri’s first introduction onto the world stage in 2016 after his December 2015 inauguration, and two years later he has much to be happy about. He has consistently shone a light on Argentina, opening the door to significant international investment that had all but abandoned the country for over a decade.
Macri has garnered additional international attention with a recent article from The Economist which appears cautiously optimistic of his policies of economic gradualism, while still noting the work left to be done.
President Macri has the ability to highlight his most recent legislative successes, in addition to his party’s major wins in the mid-term elections, painting a positive and healthy environment for international investment. With this momentum, he can point to his goals for his second half of his term, and perhaps, in the years that follow.
Argentina will have more opportunities to show off as G-20 meetings continue, and the Inter-American Development Bank hosts its annual meeting in Mendoza in the end of March.