US CONFIRMS STEEP BIODIESEL DUTIES
The US Commerce Department confirmed Thursday its final anti-subsidy duties on biodiesel imports from Argentina, confirming tariffs at even higher levels than aniticpated. The news came just 48 hours after President Mauricio Macri warned that he would appeal any such move to the World Trade Organisation. The new duties on Argentine biodiesel range from 71.45 to 72.28 percent, up on preliminary duties of 50.29 to 64.17 percent. The measure is a huge blow to local producers, who sold the US an estimated US$1.2 billion in 2016.
MERCOSUR DEAL CLOSE, SAYS EU
The European Union and the Mercosur are close to concluding a free-trade accord, an EU official said Friday. Jyrki Katainen, an EU Commission vice-president, said: “We’re close to having a new association and trade agreement.”
WINE TAX IDEA DITCHED
The government has ditched a proposed tax on wine, after a one-to-one meeting from Mendoza Governor Alfredo Cornejo and President Mauricio Macri on Thursday. Plans had been made to place a 10-percent levy on wine and champagne.
UNIONS ‘AGREE’ TO LABOUR REFORM
Reports emerged on Wednesday suggesting that the CGT umbrella union grouping had agreed a deal with the government over labour reform. According to a report published by Bloomberg, during President Mauricio Macri’s visit to New York this week, the CGT has agreed to “90 percent of the proposals” put forth by the government. According to a source with “direct knowledge” of the negotiations, “the bill will be sent to congress next week” and will “reduce severance payments [by] 40 percent and eliminate other perks.”
GOV’T BUYS USED JETS FROM FRANCE
Argentina has purchased five Super Étendard fighter planes from France, the French ambassador to Argentina revealed this week. Pierre Henri Guignard said the deal for the used aircraft was made during talks over the sale of four French naval ships. “We parted with five Super Etendard fighters that are a bit old but important for them,” Guignard told Reuters. “The amount is symbolic as they are not new.” Ministers have previously expressed concern over Argentina’s fighter jets but warned they did not have the funds to purchase new aircraft. The country is gearing up to host the G20 summit next year, World Trade Organisation conferences and the Youth Olympic Games.
CENTRAL BANK RAISES RATES
The Central Bank this week raised its policy rate by 1.5 percentage points, a move experts saw as indicating inflation figures for October will come in higher than expected. The rate has risen to 28.75 percent, up from 27.25 percent.