BUENOS AIRES – The executives of several large Spanish companies operating in Argentina met on Thursday in Buenos Aires and agreed that Mauricio Macri’s administration has encouraged new private investments, but warned that long-lasting institutional stability was necessary to secure the business sector’s confidence.
The forum took place in the Spanish embassy, where the presidents of the BBVA Frances bank, Martin Zarich, and the Gas Natural Fenosa company, Horacio Cristiani, were invited to speak on the issue of private investments and business confidence in Argentina.
Argentine Finance Minister Luis Caputo was also invited to the event, organized by Spain’s ABC newspaper.
“The political process is favorable. This is a new stage that is very interesting. For me, the issue is that Argentina has gained a terrible reputation from the point of view of political changes ... which sometimes lead to a decrease in investment flows,” Cristiani said.
According to Cristiani, Macri’s administration had encouraged “legal certainty” that is essential to investors, although he warned of the risk of “institutional and political volatility,” which has long affected Argentina.
“There are changes in every country, but we cannot have 180-degree changes from one period to the next,” Cristiani added.
Zarich recognized that Argentina’s recent history of political changes explained why gaining foreign corporations’ complete confidence was still a challenge.
“There is still much work to be done ... A particular macroeconomic context is necessary to build up investments, which involves economic stability and legal certainty,” the BBVA Frances president said.
Zarich added that, although “boatloads of investments” would not come pouring in from one day to the next, confidence would gradually improve after companies start identifying a “profitable project.”