Opening Up Argentina to the World: Some Strategic Observations

May 2018

Danny Leipziger

IIEP Working Paper 2018-4

Introduction: Argentina is at a decisive point with respect to economic policy, and nowhere is this more apparent than in its external outlook. Exports have never been the main economic driver for economic growth, although, at times, due to domestic issues, they have played an incredibly important role. The Macri Administration has rightly identified trade and investment policies as crucial stepping-stones in the rebuilding of the economy and the repositioning of Argentina to be a competitive international player. Major domestic reforms in the areas of tax and pensions, as well as prudent macro-policies to both gradually reduce fiscal deficits and inflation, will be prerequisites for sustained positive results. These efforts need to be complemented by microeconomic reforms to improve the productivity and efficiency of the economy. This note aims to examine how Argentina, as a late mover into the global economy and as an economy that has experienced serious prior setbacks, can now position itself in a world that that requires the utmost in efficiency and innovation, and in which distance is an increasingly less important constraint to economic activity. We take as given the fact that Argentina has been somewhat isolated from global value chains, that it has not benefited as much as it should have from regional trade agreements, and that it now faces an international economy that is both less robust in terms of commercial trade and also more open to disruptive forces. In other words, Argentina faces internal as well as external obstacles in its announced desire to better integrate into the world economy

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