Argentina is a republic and has a national congress consisting of a Senate and Chamber of Deputies. The President and Vice President are directly elected for a four-year term and cannot be re-elected beyond a second consecutive term.
Argentina's population continues to grow but at a slower rate because of its steadily declining birth rate. Argentina has been primarily a country of immigration. Regional migration continues to supply low-skilled workers and today it accounts for three-quarters of Argentina's immigrant population.
Argentina is one of the largest economies in South America, behind Brazil and is similar in size to Colombia. It is one of the world's main agricultural and livestock producers, and its exports of agricultural commodities account for about two thirds of the country's total export earnings.
Argentina's major export destinations are Brazil, Chile, China, and the United States. The bulk of its imports come from Brazil, the United States, China, and Germany. Argentina is party to the Mercosur Regional Trade Agreement with Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela, which aims to promote trade and fluid movement of goods, people, and currency.
Two-way trade between Argentina and New Zealand was valued at NZ$192.5 million in 2012. Exports to Argentina totalled NZ$23.6 million, while imports were NZ$168.9 million. Machinery, raw hides, skins and leather and paper products dominate New Zealand exports to Argentina, followed to a lesser extent by electrical machinery and medical devices. There has been significant (estimated at over NZ$200 million) New Zealand investment in Argentina, especially in the dairy sector, and more recently, new ventures in pasture seed, high quality wine, tourism and veterinary products.
Facts about Argentina's economy
Argentina's GDP was US$474 billion in 2012
The Argentine economy is dominated by the service sector, which contributes around 57 percent of total GDP. This sector is dominated by finance and banking, transportation, tourism and ICT, which have performed particularly well over the past decade, with ICT sector output having grown by more than 15 percent per year since 2002.
The industrial sector contributes around 33 percent to total GDP and chiefly consists of heavy engineering equipment, motor and aeronautical peripherals, apparels and power, as well as coal and minerals.
The agriculture sector contributes the remaining 10 percent.
Overall foreign direct investment in Argentina is very low compared to other countries in the region such as Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Colombia.
Two way trade information
Opportunities for New Zealand businesses
Argentina is one of the main food and commodities suppliers in the world, exporting over US$20 billion per year. The availability of land and natural resources has traditionally provided a comparative advantage to achieve high productivity. Argentina's vast temperate regions are climatically similar to New Zealand, although the sheep farming areas in the south are very dry. With increasing global demand for food, producers are seeking out and investing in technology that increase efficiencies and productivity. This represents an opportunity for New Zealand innovative agribusiness technology and consulting companies.
As an emerging economy, sustainability is becoming a relevant issue in Argentina. Some of the country's main export markets, such as Chile, the United States and the European Union, are imposing stricter regulations in production processes that Argentina will need to meet. This represents an opportunity for New Zealand's expertise in this field.
The electronic security market has been growing in Argentina in recent years with reports growth of about 15 percent in 2011, with further growth predicted to be near 20-30 percent. It is a fast growing market for electronic security related products, equipment and services, and is heavily reliant on imported products. This opportunity is reflected by a widespread perception of growing insecurity, as well as increasing priority placed on workplace, public and private security. This also expands to fire and safety equipment. Domestic suppliers tend to satisfy the demand for less sophisticated equipment.
Food processing equipment
The food processing equipment sector in Argentina relies heavily on imports by large domestic food processing companies and food exporters. The market is largely tied to the investment strategies of these large companies. With the recent increase in demand for food and solutions to reduce costs, they have invested in technology and equipment to increase efficiency and productivity. This is linked to equipment for cleaning, sorting, grading of quality and general processing.
Health and medical equipment
Argentina has high expenditure per capita on private health with high rates of personal health insurance and a growing sector of private health providers. Imports of medical equipment, particularly high-end medical technology products, have been showing strong growth over recent years. There are good opportunities for the providers of medical equipment, especially where there is no completion from locally manufactured products.