04 April 2018
Jorge Forteza / Beachhead Advisor, South America
ExporterToday caught up with Beachhead advisor Jorge Forteza, to discover that there’s never been a better time to seek trade with Argentina, and indeed most of South America.
It’s no secret that South America has had more than its share of unstable governments over the past half-century. But today, with just one or two exceptions, the continent is generally stable politically.
And it’s time for Kiwi trading companies to pay attention.
Argentina is one country that has gone ahead in leaps and bounds since a new centre-right government was elected in December 2015.
On a recent trip to New Zealand, Jorge Forteza, NZTE’s beachhead advisor for Argentina (pictured below), explained that the new government has learnt from the lessons of the past and is focused on bringing the country back into the world. Since the election it has brought in a number of measures to encourage a more open trade and investment driven economy, including the elimination of export taxes.
“Now begins the long, hard work of improving the competitiveness and infrastructure of the country.”
Already Argentina’s’ income per capita is rising, he says – although once much higher than that of Uruguay and Chile, it is at least now back on a par with the continent’s two star performers.
Moving to a more open economy involves both Argentina introducing measures as well as Mercosur, the long-time economic alliance and customs union comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela, which also needs to become a more open trading area.
Unfortunately, as it stands, Mercosur is not part of the CCTTP agreement, and linking with the Pacific Alliance countries is still a distant prospect.
Meanwhile Argentina is getting on with restructuring industries, developing the services sector and dealing with poverty, and is very much alert to what is going on in Australia and New Zealand – two countries it has long admired for their developing economies and, as Forteza describes it, “with similar resource endowments”.
“New Zealand in particular has a very good image in Argentina. There have also been several very good ambassadors based there who have enhanced the importance of the region, and we are very much connected through tourism, education and our rugby,” he says.
“Argentinian people are very much alert to what’s happening in this part of the world.”
Forteza visited a number of Waikato, Tauranga and Auckland companies across different sectors during his visit here – predominantly agri-business, dairy and precision engineering firms that are generally expanding their South American business and are excited about their future in Argentina.
“This is a good time to expand into not just Argentina, but South America too,” Forteza says.
"This article first appeared in Exporter Today on 28 March 2018"