President Mauricio Macri met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin yesterday for talks aimed at reviving trade between the two countries.
One of only a handful of solid announcements to stem from the meeting was Putin's confirmation that Russian businesses would “participate in the modernisation of the rail network” in Argentina.
“We hope we can cooperate and compliment one another, (and) increase cultural, commercial and sports exchange,” Macri told reporters at the Kremlin, seated alongside Putin.
He noted that “Argentina had chosen to return to the world, to build relationships with important countries like Russia”. His government’s priority was to “see the country grow and reduce poverty,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Macri had met with representatives of 18 of Russia’s biggest companies to talk up investment opportunities in Argentina. In attendance were leaders of Russia's agriculture, energy, tech and construction sectors.
“This morning I had breakfast with this country’s big businesses and they all expressed interest in cooperation,” Macri said, also taking the opportunity to thank the Russians for their role in search efforts for the missing ARA San Juan submarine.
For his part, Putin said his country “shares Argentina’s priorities for the G20” and confirmed he would attend the summit in G20 Buenos Aires in 2018.
He confirmed that Russian businesses are willing to “participate in the modnerisation of the rail network” in Argentina.
The Macri government hopes public works contracts will bring US$26 billion in investment to Argentina in the next five years.
Russia-Argentina trade was valued at US$1.87 billion. In 2017, the figure dropped to US$806 million (excluding December, the data for which are not yet available).
The government had said prior to the meeting with Putin at the Kremlin that it did not expect to secure any major trade outcomes on this trip. Instead, the meeting would act to reassure the relationship between the two countries with an aim at working toward trade deals further down the line, Foreign Minister Faurie told La Nación.
Macri arrived to Moscow on Sunday evening local time with his wife Juliana Awada.
On his five-day trip, his first in 2018, the president and his entourage will travel to the World Economic Forum in Davos before moving onto Paris for talks with French businesses and President Emmanuel Macron.