Argentina: More than beef and wine grapes

Argentina has a vibrant wine industry, whose Malbec grape, grown here, is already well known to Canadians. (Photo: Argentine Tourism Agency)

Argentina has a vibrant wine industry, whose Malbec grape, grown here, is already well known to Canadians. (Photo: Argentine Tourism Agency)

Since President Mauricio Macri took office in December 2015, his government has made important changes to stabilize the business environment for local and foreign companies in Argentina. It has corrected macroeconomic imbalances, lifted capital controls, devalued the Argentine peso, reduced import regulations and removed most export taxes.
Concurrently, Macri has taken steps to restore the Argentina National Statistics Agency. He has re-established a mature dialogue with the International Monetary Fund and has concluded agreements with most of Argentina’s creditors, allowing the country to resolve its sovereign debt default.
Argentina needs to be connected by road, rail and airports. To this end, Macri has launched the Belgrano Plan, which is a power infrastructure plan for the northwest of Argentina. For example, in terms of extending the railway lines, the government has announced an investment project to integrate 3,800 kilometres of tracks  between the northwest and northeast of the country, at a value of $5.55 billion US. The Belgrano Plan as a whole seeks a global investment of $16 billion US.
In terms of renewable energy, Act 27 191 aims for the consumption of renewable energy to reach eight per cent of total national consumption of electric power by 2018. That number will jump to 20 per cent by 2025.
Moreover, in the energy sector, Argentina has vast oil and gas resources with exploration and exploitation opportunities. For example, our country has the fourth-largest unconventional reserves of oil in the world and the second largest in natural gas.
In terms of Canadian companies established in Argentina, there are approximately 31 businesses, many of them in the mining sector. Nevertheless, there are also Canadian-controlled subsidiaries in the agro-industrial sector (fertilizers, processed foods, livestock, dairy and fish products) as well as in energy (mainly oil and gas), printing and telecommunications, to name a few.
Canadian imports from Argentina are based primarily on precious metals (85 per cent) and wine (eight per cent). In 2015, Argentina exported $1.87 billion worth of goods to Canada.
The top-10 products are: gold in unwrought form, wines, silver in unwrought form, crude petroleum oils, oils obtained from bituminous minerals, casein, silver ores and concentrates, lead ores and concentrates, medium density fibreboard and pears.
Argentina is one of the world’s largest exporters of beef. In 2015, my country fulfilled all sanitary requirements and Canada officially opened its market to Argentine fresh and frozen boneless beef. Argentina has a worldwide reputation in this field and Canadians are looking forward to purchasing Argentina’s beef in their local supermarkets.
Argentina also has many premium wines and is interested in introducing them to Canada. Malbec is a red wine grape that is already much appreciated by Canadian consumers. Argentine wineries are ready, as well, to introduce other types of grape varieties such as Bonarda, Cabernet and Viognier, which have had a tremendous success in such markets as the U.S. and Europe.
At the same time, Argentina is working closely with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to obtain a sanitary certificate for poultry in 2016. This will allow us to export premium poultry, free of Newcastle disease, to Canada.

Marcelo Gabriel Suarez Salvia is ambassador of Argentina to Canada. Reach him by email at ecana@mrecic.gov.ar or by phone at (613) 236-2351.

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Marcelo Gabriel Suarez Salvia is ambassador of Argentina to Canada. Reach him by email at ecana@mrecic.gov.ar or by phone at (613) 236-2351.

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