Buenos Aires Times

economy SPANISH PM TO VISIT ARGENTINA

Caputo talks up Argentina's investment potential for Spanish firms

It was the Finance Minister’s first public appearance following his presentation to Congress on Wednesday where he addressed legislators’ concerns about the country's rising debt levels and his personal ties to offshore companies.

Monday 9 April, 2018
Finance Minister Luis Caputo addresses an audience at the Embassy of Spain in Buenos Aires in April, 2018.
Finance Minister Luis Caputo addresses an audience at the Embassy of Spain in Buenos Aires in April, 2018. Foto:Télam

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Finance Minister Luis Caputo yesterday addressed investors and diplomats at an event held at the Spanish Embassy in Buenos Aires where he talked up Argentina's investment potential.

It was the minister’s first public appearance following his presentation to Congress on Wednesday where he addressed legislators’ concerns about the country's rising debt levels and his personal ties to offshore companies.

“The opposition is really much more aligned (and is) accompanying” the government in many ways, Caputo indicated. “Of course we cannot be naive, even though I was yesterday”, he added, prompting laughter.

Caputo seemed to refer to a note he passed to opposition lawmaker Gabriela Cerruti, who responds to former president Cristina Kirchner, in which is he said: “Don’t be so mean”.

Cerruti appeared on a number of television stations on Wednesday to denounce the note as intimidatory.

The scandal cut short Caputo's presentation on Wednesday after tensions escalated among opposition and government lawmakers over the minister's response to questions about his stake in offshore firms.
 
‘AS LONG AS POSSIBLE’

At the Embassy presentation on Thursday, Caputo also said that he hoped the economic reforms initiated under President Mauricio Macri would “last as long as possible”. 

As he had on Wednesday, the minister tied the country’s rising foreign debt to the “rhythm of the deficit” but insisted that “this is not the rhythm we will see in 20, 10 or even five years”.

“It will gradually start to drop ... to one percent point annually”, he said. “The level of debt in the next four years will be the lowest in the region”.

Caputo talked up the government’s PPP plan (Public-Private Investment Plan) that includes “60 projects valued at US$ 26 billion in the next four years”). He described the PPP as the “most ambitious” development plan in the country’s history.

The meeting at the Spanish Embassy comes amid preparations for Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s upcoming visit to Argentina.

Caputo was joined Thursday by Horacio Cristiani (Gas Natural Fenosa president), Ramón Puerta (Argentine Ambassador to Spain), Francisco Javier Sandomingo Núñez (Spanish Ambassador to Argentina), and Martín Zarich (BBVA Francés president). Editor-in-chief of ABC, journalist Bieito Rubido, was the moderator.

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