The U.S. and Argentina signed a bilateral trade and investment framework agreement, announced a new commercial dialogue and discussed other ways to expand commerce during President Obama’s recent visit to Argentina, the first bilateral visit to that country by a U.S. president in nearly 20 years. A White House fact sheet notes that these measures aim to support the efforts of Argentinean President Mauricio Macri, who “has quickly implemented economic reforms to begin addressing economic imbalances and deepen Argentina’s integration with the global economy” since he took office in December.

In response to a question about negotiating a free trade agreement between the U.S. and the Mercosur trade bloc of which Argentina is a member, Obama said that could be a possibility down the road. “At the beginning, right now, there’s a lot of underbrush, a lot of unnecessary trade irritants and commercial irritants that can be cleared away administratively,” he said. “And that's some of the work that we intend to do right away.” Obama noted that the two sides have organized a working group that will “identify all the areas where currently there are barriers that have impeded progress in our trading relationship” and that “we will systematically work through those.”

TIFA. The U.S.-Argentina TIFA will create a forum for the two countries to engage on a broad range of economic issues such as market access, intellectual property rights protection and cooperation on agricultural matters as well as collaboration on shared objectives in the World Trade Organization and other multilateral fora. In a joint press conference Macri pointed out that Argentina “has a very low level of trade exchange with the United States” at the moment and that “it is very important for us to work together to enhance investments by your companies in Argentina.”

Commercial Dialogue. To address issues affecting firms in both countries, the Department of Commerce and the Argentine Ministry of Production will host this year the inaugural meeting of the U.S.-Argentina Commercial Dialogue.

Trade Facilitation. The U.S. will cooperate with Argentina as both countries develop single-window customs programs.

Technical Assistance. The U.S. will provide technical assistance to help support President Macri’s economic reforms, including support from the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice for Argentina’s Commission for the Defense of Competition as well as exchanges between the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Statistics Agency of Argentina to share best practices on economic data collection and analysis. The two sides will also deepen discussions on telecommunications policy.

Small Businesses. The U.S. and Argentina will deepen cooperation to promote small business growth by facilitating the creation of an Argentine network of business assistance centers and linking small firms in both countries to an international network of trusted business partners through the Small Business Network of the Americas.

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