Argentina's new ambassador to the United States, Fernando Oris de Roa, officially submitted his credentials yesterday to US President Donald Trump at an Oval Office ceremony.
"You're going to do a great job," Trump reportedly said as he welcomed Oris de Roa.
For his part the newly arrived diplomat, who landed in the country last Thursday, reaffirmed Argentina's pledge to help forge better bilateral relations with Washington.
"Today, Ambassador Fernando Oris de Roa presented his credentials to @POTUS at the @WhiteHouse. He is now officially the Ambassador of the Argentine Republic to the United States of America," tweeted the Argentine Embassy's official account.
President Mauricio Macri designated Oris de Roa as the next ambassador to the United States in early November of last year, tapping the businessman to replace former ambassador and ex-economic minister Martín Lousteau, who stepped down in March to run for office in Buenos Aires.
At the ceremony, Oris de Roa had a colourful start to his time in the US. According to reports in the local press, when the new ambassador entered the Oval Office, Trump shouted "Mauricio! Mauricio!" several times. Clarín reported that Trump jokingly shouted "Lemons! Lemons! Lemons!" at Oris de Roa too, a reference to prolonged trade disputes between the two countries over the fruit.
Speaking with reporters from Clarín, La Nación, Infobae and the Buenos Aires Times after his encounter with Trump, the new ambassador said he was happy to be in the US and that he enjoyed his interaction with Trump. The ceremony also involved six other new ambassadors from other nations.
Oris de Roa is not a career diplomat. He has spent the majority of career in private business in the agricultural sector. He was the president of the Compañía Continental de Cereales from 1970 to 1993, then later purchased and headed the Tucumán-based citrus company San Miguel. He also presided over fruit factory Expofrut in Río Negro, the distillery of PDA liquor and Avex poultry, among others firms. He holds a Master's degree from Harvard University and worked for nine months as an investment secretary at the City government's Ministry of Modernisation.
The ceremony coincides with the beginning of the process to send a new US ambassador in Argentina, a post that has been vacant for roughly a year, when Noah Mamet left following the 2016 election.
Trump has nominated moderately conservative federal judge Edward Prado for the position. The Senate must confirm the appointment but Prado is expected to be confirmed easily.