Argentine president Mauricio Macri confirmed that a date has been officially established for his meeting with Donald Trump at the White House, April 27. The date was revealed by the president Macri during an interview with Bloomberg.
At the White House presidents plan to discuss Argentine-United States bilateral relations, trade, Mercosur-US relations and most certainly the Venezuelan situation. The meeting has been a goal for the Macri administration since Trump took office, and was made possible after the Trump administration offered an invitation during their last telephone conversation on February 15th.
Former Argentine Ambassador in the US, Martín Lousteau, was supposed to be a part of the meeting to support the bilateral discussion. But given his resignation last Monday, this will no longer be the case. Susana Malcorra, in a press conference at Palacio San Martín, announced that Deputy Chief of Mission Sergio Osvaldo Pérez Gunella is assuming the duties of the post in the meantime. Lousteau has plans to run for an elected post in next October midterm elections.
According to Macri, Trump believes that the relationship built by Argentina with the Obama administration will serve as the base of their discussions, and that “we should believe that we are going to analyze our relations and achieve benefits of future cooperation.” Topics of mutual concern may include, “commercial relations… drug trafficking and terrorism.”
Macri makes clear, however, that he is “not… a defender of the free market,” but that he believes in “globalization.” The statement appears to attempt to bridge his understanding that Argentina’s economy will grow through participation in larger markets, but in way that doesn’t damage local industry. Macri ends arguing, “We can find ways of deepening our relationship between Argentina and the United States [because right now] we have a very weak connection.”
For Argentina, the most contentious potential talking point may be dialogue on increasing trade between Argentina and the US: “We should focus ourselves first on areas that we can complement each other.” Macri may be referring to increased Agricultural exports to the US, a topic of discussion in their last telephone conversation.
But Argentine-US relations are only part of the planned discussion, as Macri affirms the importance of including Mercosur in the bilateral discussion. Perhaps most in the forefront of these discussions is the political crisis in Venezuela and what collective action can and should be taken to support Venezuelan democracy.