This week a group of Mexican entrepreneurs and business owners from the Mexican Business Coordinating Council (CCE) and the National Agricultural Council (CAN) met with several Argentine business associations in Buenos Aires in a renewed effort to strengthen the economic relationship between the two countries.
In addition, there have been talks between the Argentine and Mexican government about trade agreements after Deputy Trade Minister Juan Carlos Baker visited Buenos Aires in April of this year. The countries have been eyeing agreements with the agri-food and automobile industries which could be reached by the end of this year. Argentina currently has a US $129 million surplus in the agri-food industry with Mexico which can show further export potential with goods such as sunflower oil, corn, and dairy products.
CCE President Juan Pablo Castañón affirmed those sectors as priorities his visit, stating that both countries could benefit from a strong trade relationship in those industries. Castañón added that there is a “huge potential for growth” as Argentina opens itself to the world. The CCE represents more than four million Mexican companies which adds up to 88 percent of Mexico’s gross domestic product.
In its wave against previous protectionist policies, the Macri administration has indeed opened itself up not only to fostering relationships with Mercosur countries, but those throughout Latin America. Macri has been actively putting Argentina on the map by highlighting its leadership, including the upcoming World Trade Organization Conference taking place next week in Buenos Aires. As the spotlight gets brighter and brighter on Argentina with the G-20 presidency and its pending economic reforms, Argentina continues its efforts to diversify its international ties in hopes of receiving the financial rewards in the form of serious investments.
Mexico has always been serious about its relationship with Argentina. In 2016 alone trade relations between Mexico and Argentina resulted in over US $2.3 billion. Castañón stated that Mexican businesses, such as Bimbo Group, Coca-Cola FEMSA, and Cemex, look to continue to invest in Argentina and create more Argentine jobs.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations and icy ties with the US has not made it easy on the Central American country’s economy. Mexico’s ambassador to the US, Gerónimo Gutiérrez admitted as much, stating this week that there’s about a “50-50 chance” that NAFTA will be terminated after a fifth round of negotiations failed. These strains put Mexico in a position to reach out to its Latin American allies, and allows for a key opportunity for Argentina. In 2015, Mexico imported US $2.3 billion worth of US grains and US $1.4 billion of US soy. As those industries are two of Argentina’s main exports, the potential for trade agreements exists. A symbiotic commercial relationship between Mexico and Argentina both in public and private sectors can be seen as a step forward for both countries to continue economic growth.