The Argentine government of President Alberto Fernández has extended the so-called industrial promotion regime for the Province of Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica and South Atlantic Islands (which technically includes British Overseas Territories like the Falkland Islands claimed by Argentina), it was announced.
We continue to bet on investment, work, production and growth, said Fernández when announcing the 15-year extension of the industrial promotion regime, together with the creation of a fund for infrastructure works for the development of a Technological and Industrial Pole.
Fernández made the announcement from Casa Rosada, flanked by Tierra del Fuego Governor Gustavo Melella. The head of state also promised the Government would offer financial assistance to companies willing to invest in the area, following an agreement with local businessmen for a bonus payment of AR $ 40,000 (US $ 216, at the unofficial exchange rate) for their workers in November, which is when the mid-term elections will take place and votes are needed to reverse September 12's defeat at the Mandatory, Simultaneous and Open Primary (PASO) elections.
During the announcement, President Fernández underscored a 7% recovery in unemployment recorded recently in the province: It is the highest rate observed in Argentina amid so many bad times due to the pandemic.
In 2013, Tierra del Fuego produced 13 million cell phones and 3.5 million TV sets. That figure was cut in half by 2019, while the province went from over 15,000 workers to less than 8,000, the President explained.
Fernández, who took office Dec. 10, 2019, highlighted the differences between his development approach compared to that under former President Mauricio Macri, which -according to him- favoured policies convenient to those who speculate and punished those who produced. “That is why we continue to bet on investment, work, production and growth,” he pointed out.
Development Minister Matías Kulfas said the new Presidential Decree also ”establishes new conditions that arise from an intense exchange work and that aim to strengthen the island's production. In addition, it incorporates concrete actions that will allow financing the diversification of the productive matrix so that Tierra del Fuego can have new industries.”
The industrial sub-regime, established within the framework of Law 19,640, aims to promote new investments on the island, both in factories already established and for the installation of new initiatives to continue to promote the industry of Tierra del Fuego.
Also present at Casa Rosada were the mayors of Tierra del Fuego's two cities: Río Grande (Martín Pérez) and Ushuaia (Walter Vuoto), both known for their allegiance to the hardline Kirchnerite movement La Cámpora.
The authorities reportedly intend to match the conditions for industrial development in Tierra del Fuego to those existing in the Brazilian city of Manaus, where the promotion regime is in force until 2073.
According to the Buenos Aires daily Clarín, Kulfas had been against the extension but had his arm twisted in the face of the electoral results which demand concrete measures if the ruling Frente de Todos (FdT - Peronism + Kirchnerism) is to recover.
Law 19,640 dates back to 1972 when it was passed by the military regime at that time to boost populating the then national territory. In principle, tax benefits were granted initially for 10 years and today it benefits the electronics industry, which is exempt from VAT, profits taxes and import duties.
A plan to diversity Tierra del Fuego's industry suffered a blow months ago when the Province enacted a law to prohibit the farming of salmon in captivity, out of bioenvironmental considerations, which Kulfas and his team regretted because it might have meant a significant source of income - hence his reluctance to help the province in any other way.