After the debate: strong criticism of Javier Milei for his ideas about what foreign trade is like

Javier Milei suggested that exporters to China look for other markets to place their products.  Fabian Marelli
Javier Milei suggested that exporters to China look for other markets to place their products. Fabian Marelli

One of the topics on which Javier Mileythe candidate of La Libertad Avanza (LLA), had the greatest number of cross-questions from Sergio Massa was diplomatic and commercial relations with foreign countries, a topic on which Milei spoke, on previous occasions, in harsh terms towards two of Argentina’s main commercial partners, which are Brazil and China. The libertarian let it be known that will not maintain relationships with those two nations but would still seek not to hinder trade between private parties.

It is an idea, in any case, that has questions in different areas, since the State has a role trade catalyst in which companies participate, not only through large exchange agreements but with health or tariff regulations, which are usually the norm in bilateral relations.

“The commercial issue is free of individuals. Because unlike you, I don’t think the State is going to do it, I think individuals are going to do it,” Milei said. “It is established by the States, the tariff regime, the health permit regime, the quota regime, It is established by the States”, Massa replied immediately.

“That is why Argentina, from being the country that represented 3% of the world’s exports there, in its 20th century, today represents 0.3%, that is why we have a closed economy. Because you always want to do the same thing,” Milei insisted. She also maintained that those who export to China or Brazil can look for clients in other countries to replace those marketsbeyond the volume of exchange that Argentina has with those two nations.

These ideas were criticized by the private sector. “Foreign trade in the world is carried out regulated between States or blocs. Although the exchange is between private parties, the different commercial conditions each country negotiates them defending their interests and establishing tariff rules, for tariffs and health regulations, among others,” said the president of Richmond laboratories. Marcelo Figueiras.

“Hence, the formation of blocs is attractive in terms of gaining critical mass and negotiating power. Really propose that we are going to fight with our commercial partners and that this does not harm our citizens. it’s unreality“, he mentioned in dialogue with Infobae.

Marcelo Figueiras (Richmond Laboratory)
Marcelo Figueiras (Richmond Laboratory)

“What was mentioned about export triangulation It is impracticable and unusual. There are basic rules of international trade that must be followed. The formation or integration of commercial blocs has to go through separate tracks from the political,” Figueras concluded.

For his part, the manager of the Celulosa Argentina paper mill Jose Urtubeysaid that “the matter of international trade cannot enter a field of ideologizationcannot for ideological reasons maintain that there are not going to be State-State relations, with China and Brazil, which are some of our largest buyers of products,” he told this medium.

“There is no (on the part of Javier Miley) knowledge of the mechanism in which the state is indispensable to export, such as tariffs, health, standards in the World Trade Organization (WTO),” said Urtubey.

“What was mentioned about export triangulation is impractical and unusual. There are basic rules of international trade that must be followed” (Figueiras)

And he also questioned, like Figueras, the idea of ​​“outsourcing” the origin of exports to pass them through other countries first. “It’s impossible, it’s absurd. Not only is it not recommended, but it takes away the clarity of foreign trade, and it could even be more expensive because there must be costs to be able to market in that way. It is difficult to implement and it takes away your sovereignty,” Urtubey said.

Finally, regarding the replacement of markets, another idea put forward by the libertarian presidential candidate, the businessman from Salta considered that “what China buys from you today, not just anyone buys from you, you have to ask the soybean node if this is the case. A market is not replaced like candy, they are markets that took years to achieve, They are not generated by magic“, complete.

For its part, Gustavo Martínez Pandiania foreign policy reference for the Unión por la Patria candidate, hinted this Monday that an eventual government of Massa’s presidential candidate should not be understood as “the continuity of a Kirchnerist government” but rather as a different management.

José Urtubey, director of Celulosa Argentina
José Urtubey, director of Celulosa Argentina

“Characterize it as a fifth Kirchnerist government It is clearly a mistake“said Martínez Pandiani in a meeting with the press at the Argentine Council for International Relations (CARI), in which he criticized Milei for his promises to cut relations with two Argentine partners such as China and Brazil. At the same time, he ratified Massa’s promise that if he takes office as president he will add Hamas to the registry of terrorist groups in Argentina in which Hezbollah was added in 2019.

“What China buys from you today, not just anyone buys from you, you have to ask the soybean node if this is the case. A market is not replaced as if they were candy, they are markets that took years to achieve, they are not generated by magic” (Urtubey)

“When there are democratic transitions, when you change from one government to another, there are changes and there are continuities. In Argentine foreign policy there are going to be changes and continuities,” he noted. And he highlighted three “continuities”: the claim of sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands; rights and sexual diversity; and climate change.

For her part, the Secretary of Mining Fernanda Ávila, said that “in case there are still doubts about the value of the commercial link between Argentina and China: 38% of lithium exports are sold to the eastern country. When Sergio Massa talks about strategic international relations It is not an ideological question, it is foreign policy”.

“In the first nine months of 2023, China and Brazil imported 293 million dollars of Argentine minerals. The impact of breaking these ties not only it would be huge for the industry, but it would also be for the entire productive chain associated with the sector,” he continued. “Trade agreements are not based on affinities or philosophical disciplines“They are tools to boost the economy and strengthen development while we produce, generate work and, above all, grow as a nation,” concluded Ávila.

Another official, Secretary of Industry José Ignacio de Mendiguren, said that “Milei does not have the slightest idea of ​​what foreign trade is. It is the governments that establish the agreements, the tariffs, as an alternative they talk about triangulating, which is what those who want to evade do. The one who wants to be President proposes triangulating with Paraguay. His proposals are so complex that he would have to have the majority of Congress. And he doesn’t have it,” he said.

Y Daniel Scioli, ambassador to Brazil, highlighted that this type of agreement proposed without the states involved is not possible. The former ambassador assured that “the agenda of both states is large and political dialogue is essential. And there is no triangulation as he mentioned: what is sold to Brazil, is sold to Brazil, not through other countries. “Many of the private sector representatives on both sides felt reassured to hear Massa, and the same in China.” “Ideological issues cannot be interjected into what is good for Argentina,” Scioli concluded.

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