BUENOS AIRES – President Mauricio Macri said on Tuesday that as his country has relatively little trade with the United States, Argentina would not feel much of an effect if the new Trump administration in Washington adopted protectionist policies.
“I believe that, given that our point of departure is very low level trade, I don’t think that protectionist measures by the United States would hurt us to a relevant degree,” Macri said during his first press conference of 2017.
“I think instead that we have to do a lot more to improve, to continue this path we have laid out with President (Barack) Obama,” he said.
Macri recalled that President-elect Donald Trump told him in a telephone conversation that he considered US relations with Argentina important.
“I believe there is an enormous road for Argentina and the United States to travel together, in a relationship that must be one of mutual benefit,” he said.
During the 2016 US election campaign, Macri expressed support for Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
After the Republican’s victory, however, Macri and the US president-elect had a friendly telephone conversation that revived “the old personal connection that existed” between the two men by virtue of Trump’s business dealings with the Macri family, according to Argentine Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra.
The US accounts for 24 percent of foreign direct investment in Argentina and major American firms have operations here, including Chevron, General Motors, Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, Cargill, Philip Morris, Dow, IBM and Monsanto.