This information is derived from the State Department's Office of Investment Affairs’ Investment Climate Statement. Any questions on the ICS can be directed to EB-ICS-DL@state.gov.
Last Published: 11/20/2017

Argentina is the third largest country in Latin America and one of the wealthiest in the region, possessing abundant human and natural resources, highly diversified industries, and a population of 43 million people. The country has the second largest shale gas resources and fourth largest shale oil resources worldwide, and presents significant investment and trade opportunities, particularly in infrastructure, health, agriculture, information technology, energy, and mining.

Since entering office in December 2015, the Macri Administration has focused on rebuilding investor confidence and attracting investment as key to economic recovery. Macri and his economic team acted quickly to correct macroeconomic imbalances, including unifying the exchange rate, lifting currency controls, improving the accuracy and transparency of government statistics, reducing distortionary import and export restrictions, and resolving the long-standing bond holdouts dispute that allowed Argentina to exit default and reenter international capital markets after 15 years. The Macri Administration has improved government transparency, increased dialogue with stakeholders, including the private sector, unions, and political opposition, as well as strengthened coordination between the national and provincial governments. The government took steps to improve Argentina’s regulatory framework to facilitate business creation and trade particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises, and to increase competition in the communications, gas and energy, auto, and aviation sectors. It also took some measures to strengthen protection of intellectual property rights, but long-standing deficiencies remain.

The Macri government took steps to reintegrate Argentina into the international community, including reestablishing consultations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which lifted its censure of Argentina in November 2016; agreeing to chair the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference in December 2017 and to assume the G20 Presidency in 2018; hosting the World Economic Forum in Latin America in April 2017; pursuing an EU-MERCOSUR trade agreement; expanding economic cooperation with numerous partners including Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Canada, and the United States; becoming an observer in the Pacific Alliance; and increasing constructive engagement with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) with an eye towards eventual membership. Argentina has notified its intention to ratify the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement, which is pending congressional approval.

To showcase Argentina as “open for business,” the country convened nearly 2,000 leading business and world leaders in September 2016 for the first Argentine Business and Investment Forum. Since the beginning of the Macri Administration, the private sector has announced planned investments for the 2016-2019 time period totaling approximately USD 45.6 billion. Moody’s in March 2017 upgraded the Government of Argentina’s rating from stable to positive, but maintained the issuer rating at B3 (speculative). Standard & Poor’s recently upgraded its sovereign rating for Argentina from B- to B.

Argentina and the United States continued to expand bilateral commercial and economic cooperation, specifically through the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), the Commercial Dialogue, and the Digital Economy Working Group, in order to improve and facilitate public-private ties and communication on trade and investment issues, including market access and intellectual property rights. Argentina and the United States continue to discuss pending trade disputes, including a 2012 WTO case stemming from Argentina’s import policies. More than 500 U.S. companies operate in Argentina, and the United States continues to be the top investor in Argentina with more than USD 13 billion of foreign direct investment as of 2015.

The policies laid out by the Macri Administration over the past year have led to slight improvements in Argentina’s macreconomic performance, with the latest private and official estimates projecting a mild economic recovery of 2.5-3.5 percent GDP growth for 2017. Inflation clocked in at 40 percent for 2016 but is on a downward trend. The IMF, World Bank, and private economic consultants have issued reports forecasting economic recovery and declining inflation to continue through 2018. Despite these improvements, key challenges remain, such as the need to further slow inflation, reduce the fiscal deficit, improve competitiveness, increase access to financing, further liberalize trade, and strengthen the country’s institutional framework.

Table 1

Measure

Year

Index/Rank

TI Corruption Perceptions Index

2016

95 of 175

World Bank’s Doing Business Report “Ease of Doing Business”

2016

116 of 190

Global Innovation Index

2016

81 of 128

U.S. FDI in Partner Country ($M USD, stock positions)

2015

USD 13,323

World Bank GNI Per Capita

2015

USD 12,460

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.



Argentina Economic Development and Investment Law