Photo via Los Andes

Despite promising during his state visit in March last year, President of the United States, Barack Obama, in the end didn’t sign Argentina’s entry to the US’s General System of Preferences (GSP): a system which would have given the country — as it already does with other developing countries — import facilities to access its immense market.

Now it will be up to President Donald Trump to decide to whether or not to include Argentina, as his victory brought all plans of the kind to a halt pending his administration’s approval, in accordance with their foreign economic policy, Ambito noted.

Considering his clear promise to implement protectionists measures, getting into the system might prove to be a bit more trickier than it would have under Obama. The Macri administration will have to play their cards – and contacts; above all the personal relationship between Macri and Trump  – right to make this happen. They are certainly set on achieving this goal: a good diplomatic and commercial relationship with the United States is one of the central pillars of the Macri administration’s foreign policy.

Although a report from the Argentine Chamber of Commerce (CAC) assured that US participation in Argentine foreign trade was (in 2015) the lowest in 80 years, and that Treasury Minister Nicolás Dujovne said Trump’s protectionist policies will have a “marginal impact,” Ambito reports that, should Argentina not be included in the end, exports worth up to US $1 billion could be lost. A relatively small number in foreign trade, but perhaps not so much for those exporting the products.

Under Obama, it seemed the agreement was close to happening. The promise was made in his state visit in March and his commitment was ratified in October during a visit from US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker.

Moreover, Production Minister Francisco Cabrera said that during Pritzker’s visit he was confident about the possibility of the US opening its market to about 500 Argentine products. So far, lemons and some cuts of meat have made their way back to American store shelves. Products that had already been approved and were exported the most during 2015 were: Biodiesel (AR $385 million), crude oil (AR $298 million), and wine (265.4 million). In contrast, Argentina mainly imported gas, planes and organic and chemical products from the United States.

The last available figures on commercial trade with the US are from 2015, when the country had a US $4.7 billion commercial deficit. This completed a decade of deficit, as the balance of payments was favorable to the country by US $495 million in 2004, according to a report elaborated by Acebeb consulting firm.

But besides the GSP, the US Commerce Secretary had assured the Argentine Government it would go back to including the it in a special system to finance exports from American-based companies within the country. Argentina had access to that benefit between 2002 and 2012, until then-President Barack Obama removed it due to lack of payment to two American companies.