Timerman replies to De Gucht rejecting “unacceptable” arguments and “tone”
Argentine Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman said the recent criticism from the European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht regarding the YPF expropriation is “unacceptable,” and assured that it “surprised him due to his tone and approach”.
“I find your criticism to our country’s trade policies unacceptable,” Timerman said in a letter he sent De Gucht, in which he underlined the European official’s statements represent an “overreaction.”
“Argentine complies with its international obligations and the decisions that it makes on trade are transparent and consistent with the norms and commitments taken in the World Trade Organization,” the letter continued.
Timerman responded to De Gucht’s statements, who said that the Government’s decision to expropriate YPF was “an unfortunate decision.”
The minister also criticized the “disregard” shown by the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, “who did not reply to any of the calls I made to her to discuss why the UK refused to comply with the UN resolutions on the Malvinas sovereignty issue”.
Timerman said Argentina more than contributes with its share to the global economy recovery by increasing EU imports and from the rest of the world, well beyond its international percentage.
However the EU does not act with the same reciprocity and the minister who then enumerates a long list of alleged EU barriers and impediments to Argentine exports.
Insisting on the reasons for the seizure of YPF, Timerman alleges that Repsol-YPF from 1999 to 2011 saw oil production down by 38.3% and gas output by 25.4%, with net investments in the period of 3.7 billion dollars, plus a contraction of proven reserves of 40% for oil and 47% for gas.
This, however did not impede the Spanish company do distribute profits in that period of 15.7 billion dollars, which among other things meant that “Argentina in 2011 experienced its first fuels deficit in 17 years equivalent to 3.5 billion dollars in imports”.
Timerman says that compensation will be ruled by Argentine law and international agreements such as the Spain/Argentina Reciprocal Investments promotion and protection accord dating back to 1991.
The letter also points out that in effect the EU is the main investor in Argentina and that this is partly because of the good several years performance of the Argentine economy, contrary to what happens in the EU, and as long as those investments are in the production sector, “they will continue to be welcome”.
Timerman then blasts the EU for linking trade talks with Mercosur to the YPF expropriation thus hindering “a most ambitious global agreement in several fields”.
Finally the suggestion of expelling Argentina from the G20 is “totally improper” since Argentina as well as the EU are founding members and it would be more constructive if “the EU complies with its promises instead of attributing itself the role of assessing other members, which nobody has asked it to perform”.
It is therefore inadmissible that a sovereign decision linked to a multinational corporation whose performance endangered the country’s energy self-sufficiency “can be used to condemn our development policies in international forums, trying to restrict our margin of public policies”.
The original letter from De Gucht caused a diplomatic embarrassment for Timerman since he first denied having received the letter, later not having read it and finally not in the date EU claimed which later also proved the minister wrong, plus some unnecessary comments he made all along the incident.