Special Event Report: 
"Gov. Scott's Recent Trade Mission to Argentina - Results & Expectations"

Governor Rick Scott (FL) led a delegation of many small and mid-sized businesses on an export trade mission to Buenos Aires, Argentina from April 23-27, 2017. The mission was coordinated by the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires with support from key business organizations and government entities in Argentina. Enterprise Florida organized the mission on behalf of Governor Scott, and offered one-on-one appointments through the U.S. Commercial Service in Buenos Aires for participating Florida companies.

This Trade Mission was timely as President Mauricio Macri of Argentina arrived in Washington, D.C. on April 27, 2017 and met with President Donald Trump. Governor Scott sent a formal letter to President Trump on April 25, 2017, highlighting the significance of the U.S.-Argentina economic relationship for the State of Florida. 

World Affairs Council of Greater Miami worked in partnership with Akerman LLP  on a special event titled "Gov. Scott's Recent Trade Mission to Argentina - Results & Expectations" which reviewed the mission and future aspirations for Florida in trade with Argentina. The event took place on Friday, June 23, 2017.

Special guest speakers included Ambassador Marcelo Martin Giusto, Consul General of Argentina to Miami, Manuel Mencia, SVP, International Trade & Development, Enterprise Florida and two private sector participants on the Trade Mission from Venture Hive and Octopi. The panel was co-moderated by Dr. Jose Villalobos, Of Counsel, Akerman LLP with extensive experience at the highest levels in Argentina, and by Santos Goni, Director of the Board, World Affairs Council of Greater Miami and retired Argentine Ambassador.

Honored guests included Deputy Mayor of Miami-Dade County, Jack Osterholt who personally delivered a letter from The Honorable Carlos A. Gimenez, Mayor of Miami-Dade County. Approximately 90 people were in attendance, including foreign, state, and local officials, multiple chambers of commerce including Argentine-American Chamber of Commerce, leaders from the South Florida private sector, nonprofits and academia. 

This event was hosted by Daniel Jacobson, Partner, Akerman LLP and organized by Velma Anne Ruth, Executive Director & Secretary of the Board, World Affairs Council of Greater Miami.

Following welcome and introductions by Dan Jacobson, and opening comments by Santos Goni and Dr. Jose Villalobos, Ambassador Giusto provided a presentation on the Trade Mission to Argentina with considerations for the future, and reflections on developments in the Argentine economy.

Ambassador Giusto found Gov. Rick Scott's mission to be very important to strengthen the enduring bilateral ties between the State of Florida and Argentina, including some of Argentina's most important trade partners: the ports of Miami, Tampa, and Jacksonville. For instance, the mission and specially Gov. Rick Scott played a significant role for the United States to lift the ban on lemons and allow imports from Argentina's top producing region for the first time in 16 years. The Argentine Consulate coordinated official meetings and certain commercial meetings for the Governor's Mission. This included meetings with Argentinian officials and the different Ports, plus facilitation for the meetings with Faena Group and Costantini.

 In an effort to reduce Argentina's trade deficit with the State of Florida, Argentina is committed to promote and support their companies (particularly small businesses) to export goods and services. The Consulate General and Trade Promotion Centre of Argentina in Miami develops b2b matchmaking programs for visiting Argentine companies on a weekly basis as well as organizes our country pavilions at different trade shows across Florida, to name a few promotion activities.

Argentina will continue to promote the country as a foreign direct investment destination while building trust and confidence within Florida's investor community. In addition, the Consulate General and Trade Promotion Centre of Argentina will continue to support the State of Florida and its institutions and facilitate the connections with the Argentine government.

Ambassador Giusto seeks to organize a mission for government officials and companies from Argentina to visit Florida, which can be more targeted by industry sector. In regards to opportunities for American companies in Argentina, the country will undertake an infrastructure boom during the coming years with the goal of improving the quality of life of the population and increasing the competitiveness of domestic production. These requirements will create opportunities in sectors such as energy, transportation, telecommunications and public works.
The challenge in this new stage is to efficiently combine the public sector's contribution with indispensable private investment, in pursuit of making definitive headway towards inclusive development. The new Public-Private Partnership Law will be fundamental in achieving these objectives successfully.
Notable reforms and initiatives in Argentina that took place in 2016:

- Removed capital controls and repatriation restrictions
- Floated exchange rate and recovered monetary reserves
- Resolved defaulted debt and regained acces to financial markets 
- Remo
ved export taxes and import restrictions
- Introduced Central Bank Independence
- Instituted inflation targeting policy to reach single-digit CPI by 2018
- Established 4-year Plan to eliminate the primary fiscal deficit
- New Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) regulatory framework
- Re-launched the National Statistics Bureau (INDEC)
- Implemented an unprecedented tax amnesty scheme (achieving record of 120 BN USD)
- Launched Stategic Plan of Atomic Energy (2015-2025)
- Argentina presentation to achieve a new status in OCDE
- Construction: Increase in public investment (execution of 2016 Infrastructure Plan)
- Tax amnesty to boost real estate investment
- Energy (renewables) auctions of 2016 begin construction
- Agricultural sector: Elimination of "cepo" and export tariffs as well as further confidence is boosting agricultural production and exports
- Industry & services: Consumption will improve throu
gh increase in real wages

According to Enterprise Florida, Argentina is Florida's 10th largest trade partner with over $4.2 billion in bilateral trade. Florida-origin exports to Argentina represent $3.3 billion. 

For this Trade Mission, Enterprise Florida partnered with AMCHAM (American Chamber of Commerce in Argentina), who supported relationship development with Argentinean business leaders, stakeholders, and meetings with Governor Scott. Special events, seminars, participation with media and officials were key components of economic advancement through relationship development.

The U.S. Commercial Service in Buenos Aires organized over 96 meetings for 16 companies that participated in the business matchmaker. As a result, the participating companies reported the actual and expected sales total of $25,850,000.

Additionally, the Florida Ports Council and the Argentine Coordination of Ports committed to find ways to develop direct sea routes. Among the attendees were representatives from two Florida Ports (Port Miami and Port Everglades).

As a special handout, Enterprise Florida offered key metrics to attendees, highlighting the industry-specific trade values between Florida and Argentina. Top sectors follow: 

Florida Merchandise Trade with Argentina

- Total Exports - 2016: $3.33 Billion
- Top Exports - 2016: Civilian Aircraft, Engines and Parts ($331Mn), Electric Apparatus for Line Telephony, Parts ($303Mn), Automatic Data Process Machines ($236Mn), Human blood, animal blood, antisera, vaccines ($163Mn)

- Total Imports - 2016: $890 Million
- Summary of All Imports - 2016: Biodiesel and Petrol Oils ($130Mn), Aluminum ($126Mn), plus essential oils, gold, silver, precious metal, fruit, fruit juices, wine, livestock, fish and fish products, seafood, yachts and boats, machinery parts, and more

Event attendees were very engaging in the question and answer segment, which included comments raised by guests who also participated in the Trade Mission. Many attendees raised inquiry on trade relations throughout Florida, in the broad range of industry sectors at varied economic levels, while raising greatest interest to know the specific industries that Argentina would like to see exported from Florida in a manner to promote advancement for Argentina.

World Affairs Council of Greater Miami extends great appreciation to: 

- Dan Jacobson, Partner, Akerman LLP
- Ambassador Marcelo Martin Giusto, Consul General of Argentina
- Manny Mencia, SVP, Enterprise Florida 
- Argentine-American Chamber of Commerce 

World Affairs Council of Greater Miami is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization supporting the intersection of diplomacy, academia, and public discourse on international affairs, including socio-political development, economic growth and security.

World Affairs Council of Greater Miami operates in collaboration with organizations predominantly between the Miami area and Washington, D.C. providing educational opportunities and resources on international issues through prominent speaking events, networking events, and media relations. 

Our national media partner is The Shalom Show on TV , broadcasting since 1979 and hosting prominent leaders from the United States and Israel including Prime Ministers, policy makers, business leaders and scholars. 

Our programs bring together government leaders, diplomats, senior military officers, issue experts, academia, business leaders, philanthropists, college and high school student groups, and the media through these platforms. World Affairs Council of Greater Miami engages foreign policy issues concerning all Continents, while dedicating a focus on Miami as a bridge to Latin America.

World Affairs Council of Greater Miami is a proud member of the World Affairs Councils of America, which maintains chapters in 40 states across the country, and has been active in foreign affairs for over 90 years.
C ontact:
Velma Anne Ruth, M.Ed.
Executive Director & Secretary of the Board
World Affairs Council of Greater Miami