FACT SHEET: United States – Argentina Relationship
President Obama, accompanied by First Lady Michelle Obama, is in Argentina to meet with newly elected President Mauricio Macri and First Lady Juliana Awada. Together, the leaders explored opportunities to strengthen the relationship between the United States and Argentina and partner to address global challenges, such as climate change, peacekeeping, refugees, and the defense of human rights and democracy. It was the first bilateral visit to Argentina by a U.S. President in almost two decades.
The leaders also discussed President Macri’s economic reform agenda, opportunities for expanding trade and investment, science and technology cooperation, and U.S. support for building Argentina’s capacity to combat organized crime.
U.S.-Argentina Economic Relationship
Since taking office in December, President Macri has quickly implemented economic reforms to begin addressing economic imbalances and deepen Argentina’s integration with the global economy. To support those efforts, the two governments announced steps to bolster trade and investment, deepen cooperation at the G-20, and promote their shared G-20 objective of strong, sustainable, and balanced economic growth. Reflecting significant private-sector interest in Argentina, U.S. companies announced multibillion dollar investments that will help build upon the more than $20 billion in annual United States-Argentina trade. In the coming months, six trade delegations will help U.S. and Argentine businesses identify further opportunities. To address issues affecting firms in both countries, the Department of Commerce and Argentine Ministry of Production this year will host the inaugural meeting of the United States-Argentina Commercial Dialogue.
Trade and Investment Framework Agreement
Argentina and the United States signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, which recognizes the essential role of trade and private investment, both domestic and foreign, in furthering growth and creating jobs. The agreement will facilitate dialogue on a broad range of issues, including intellectual property, market access, and cooperation on agricultural matters, as well as collaboration on shared objectives in the World Trade Organization and other multilateral fora. As major agricultural exporters, the United States and Argentina have committed to work together to expand global trade in agricultural products and combat non-scientific barriers to trade. This includes working to expand bilateral trade and resolve outstanding market access issues in agriculture and across the full range of products and services.
Entrepreneurship and Small Business Growth
The United States and Argentina will deepen cooperation to promote entrepreneurship and 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. The two countries will also take steps to support women entrepreneurs, particularly through the Women’s Entrepreneurship in the Americas initiative. Small Business Administration Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet will lead a delegation to Argentina in April to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Production and launch these efforts.
The United States welcomes Argentina’s support for the ratification and implementation of the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement, and Argentina’s commitment to submit the agreement for legislative approval this year. To further increase trade, the United States will cooperate with Argentina as both countries develop single-window customs programs, reducing administrative burdens for businesses.
The United States will provide technical assistance to help support President Macri’s economic reforms. This includes 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 United States and Argentina will also deepen discussions on telecommunications policy, including through consultations with the Federal Communications Commission regarding spectrum management and regulatory reform.
International Economic and Financial Community
The United States welcomes President Macri’s efforts to strengthen Argentina’s ties to the international financial system and engage with multilateral economic fora. In January, the United States ended its policy, in place since 2011, of opposing most lending to Argentina by multilateral development banks. The United States also welcomes Argentina’s interest in deepening its engagement with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and looks forward to working with Argentina in OECD committees.
Climate Change and Energy
Paris Implementation and INDC Review
The United States and Argentina are committed to signing and joining the Paris Agreement as soon as feasible and will work together to support efforts toward early entry-into-force of the Agreement. Argentina has also announced plans to enhance its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), and the two governments will share experiences to support this effort.
Phasing Down Hydrofluorocarbons
The United States and Argentina affirm their commitment to adopt an amendment to the Montreal Protocol on hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) phase down in 2016, building on progress made and within the framework set out in the Dubai Pathway. Both countries also welcome the common understandings reached in Dubai on financial support to the Multilateral Fund for developing countries to implement an HFC phase-down amendment. We will work together to generate solutions on priority challenges to managing HFCs.
Reducing Emissions from International Aviation
The United States and Argentina will cooperate at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to reduce emissions from international aviation. As members of the ICAO Council and the ICAO technical environmental committee, Argentina and the United States will work together to reach a decision to adopt a market-based mechanism this year, consistent with the last ICAO Assembly Resolution.
Cooperation in Power Sector Reform and Renewable Energy
The United States and Argentina are committed to increasing renewable energy usage and energy efficiency. As part of this effort, the two governments will cooperate on scaling up renewables, including through U.S. assistance on market reform, system optimization, and integrating renewable energy in the power grid. In May, the Department of Commerce will host Argentine executives in California to look for renewable energy business partnerships. The countries will carry out further work through the United States-Argentina Binational Energy Working Group (BEWG) and the State Department’s Power Sector Program.
Safe and Responsible Development of Unconventional Oil and Gas
The United States and Argentina have abundant unconventional energy resources. To mitigate the use of higher carbon-intensive fuel sources, such as fuel oil and coal, and improve energy security and economic growth, the two countries will promote safe and responsible development of unconventional oil and gas resources, including improving environmental outcomes, through the Unconventional Gas Technical Engagement Program and the BEWG. The United States will facilitate visits by Argentine officials to U.S. unconventional development sites.
Leadership on Clean Energy
Argentina and the United States reaffirmed the value of expediting the deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. Argentina will attend the next Clean Energy Ministerial as an official Observer. Argentina can also work with the United States and other countries to improve energy efficiency policies and access the Clean Energy Ministerial Clean Energy Solutions Center, which offers no-cost expert policy support to countries interested in increasing use of clean energy technologies.
Civil Nuclear Cooperation
Argentina and the United States reiterated their commitment to utilize nuclear power, a low-carbon energy source, with the highest standards of safety, security, and nonproliferation. Building on their Agreement for Cooperation Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy and the Joint Standing Committee on Nuclear Energy Cooperation, the two countries will pursue enhanced cooperation in nuclear research and development and safety.
The United States and Argentina will enhance coordination on weather, hydrology, and climate data to enhance resilience to climate change. These efforts will include cooperation with the GEO Global Water Sustainability program, including through efforts like those highlighted in the Common Framework for Earth Observation Data.
Protecting and Studying Our Ocean
The United States and Argentina share a deep concern for marine conservation, and Argentina will attend the third Our Ocean conference hosted by Secretary Kerry this year in Washington. The two countries plan continued collaboration on ocean science, marine scientific research, observation, and conservation, including through partnerships between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and its Argentine counterparts to study the South Atlantic Ocean, and between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Argentine space agency.
The United States and Argentina share a commitment to address pressing global challenges, such as keeping the peace in areas where civilians face chronic threats of violence, and finding homes for millions of refugees fleeing the Middle East. To confront these and other economic and transnational issues, as well as important bilateral issues, the United States and Argentina will launch a high-level policy dialogue this year led by Secretary of State Kerry and Foreign Minister Malcorra.
Historically, Argentina has been crucial to global efforts to share peacekeeping burdens. The United States commends Argentina’s commitment to resume that role by significantly increasing the size of its deployable units and participating in UN peacekeeping in Africa by making available important capabilities, such as logistics, engineering, communications, and medical units. In preparation for Argentine deployments in Africa, the United States will strengthen Argentina’s peacekeeping capacity, including through training and the modernization of Argentina’s C-130 fleet.
The United States and Argentina recognize the need to address the global refugee crisis through increased assistance and long-term protection to refugees. The United States commends Argentina’s agreement to resettle a significant number of refugees in Argentina, including individuals displaced by the war in Syria. The United States will support that effort in partnership with international organizations and other donors.
The United States and Argentina are supporting Colombia’s pursuit of a peace accord to end its decades-long conflict. As participants in the Colombia Global Demining Initiative, U.S. and Argentine officials will participate in the Experts Meeting in Bogotá in May to discuss Colombia’s commitment to clear all landmines by 2021. The United States and Argentina also pledge to support multilateral efforts to ensure effective implementation of a peace accord, including a UN special political mission.
Global Health Security Agenda
Based on a commitment to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to infectious disease threats, Argentina is joining the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) to bolster its national systems and to work with international partners to fully implement the International Health Regulations. As part of this commitment, Argentina will undergo and publish a Joint External Evaluation of its national capabilities. The United States and Argentina will expand zoonotic disease surveillance for imported and exotic infectious diseases of regional and global significance using advanced molecular diagnostics, improve national and regional biosafety and biosecurity standards in the hemisphere, and strengthen national laboratory systems in Latin America to support rapid identification of emerging pathogens. To advance these priorities, Argentina will join the following Action Packages within the GHSA: Emergency Operations Centers, and Linking Public Health Law and Multisectoral Rapid Response.
The two presidents also agreed to advance the regional and global response to Zika by sharing information and materials to enhance disease surveillance, advance vector control, treatment, and vaccines for Zika, and to promote a better understanding of the virus and its consequences. Both agreed to support regional outbreak response through the deployment of epidemiologists, health experts, and scientists to countries to respond to Zika and vector-borne disease outbreaks in the region. The presidents also agreed to partner on education and commitment to pregnant women and their partners in the region.
Human Rights and Democracy
Organization of American States and the Inter-American Human Rights System
The United States and Argentina reconfirmed their commitment to democratic governance and the protection of human rights, and released a joint statement between the U.S. State Department and the Argentine Foreign Ministry on the importance of supporting the Organization of American States and a vibrant and independent Inter-American Human Rights System and the principles of the Inter-American Democratic Charter.
In 2002, the United States declassified over 4,000 State Department cables and other documents from the period of the Argentine military dictatorship, 1976-1983. These records have helped Argentina hold human rights abusers accountable. The United States will embark on a comprehensive effort to identify additional records related to human rights abuses by the Argentine dictatorship. This effort – requested by President Macri and human rights groups – will include for the first time intelligence and law enforcement agencies and the Department of Defense, as well as the State Department and the National Archives.
Global Equality Fund
The United States and Argentina are committed to supporting the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) individuals. To build upon achievements at home, Argentina agreed to join the Global Equality Fund, a public-private partnership that supports civil society organizations advancing LGBTI rights worldwide. Argentina also announced support for the recently established LGBTI Rapporteur at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and for the opening of a similar office at the UN Human Rights Council.
Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights
The United States and Argentina recognize the importance of working with extractive companies to ensure they protect human rights, and the United States welcomed Argentina’s decision to pursue this objective through membership in the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights Initiative.
Freedom Online Coalition
The United States welcomed Argentina’s commitment to participate in the Freedom Online Coalition, joining 29 other governments supporting Internet freedom in coordination with civil society and the private sector. Argentina will endorse the coalition’s Founding Declaration and the Tallinn Agenda, and join the United States at the coalition conference in Costa Rica in October.
Open Government Partnership
The United States welcomed the renewal of Argentina’s commitment to the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and its planned participation in the OGP conference in Uruguay in May, as well as Argentine efforts to include provincial and city governments in the partnership’s subnational government pilot program.
Community of Democracies
The United States and Argentina support democratic norms and institutions worldwide, and Argentina has confirmed its intention to join the Governing Council of the Community of Democracies, of which the United States serves as chair.
Security and Defense
The United States and Argentina pledged to work together to combat organized crime and drug trafficking. The United States will help build Argentine law enforcement capacity, including through assistance from the Department of Justice related to terrorism and terrorist financing in the Tri-Border region. The United States will also assist Argentine efforts to reduce drug demand, train Argentine officials at the International Law Enforcement Academy, arrange study tours to the United States for Argentine officials, and provide training by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The FBI will also help Argentina’s Ministry of Security establish a nationwide network of Intelligence Fusion Centers to detect and disrupt terrorism and organized crime. The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network has taken steps to normalize its relationship with its Argentine counterpart and signed a memorandum of understanding that will help increase cooperation to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
In May, the U.S. Department of Defense will host the first Bilateral Working Group with the Argentine armed forces since 2009. The agenda will include peacekeeping, disaster preparedness and response, and hemispheric defense cooperation. In another sign of the renewed defense relationship, the Joint Interagency Task Force South is pursuing an information-sharing relationship with Argentina’s Security Ministry that will involve liaison officials. The Defense Department has also invited Argentina to participate in the State Partnership Program for cooperation with the National Guard.
To enhance law enforcement and counterterrorism cooperation, the Argentine Ministry of Security and the Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Homeland Security (DHS) signed a Preventing and Combating Serious Crime Agreement, intended to facilitate and expedite the exchange of information on known and potential criminals and terrorists. To improve travel security, the Ministry of Security and DHS agreed to collaborate to enhance measures for onboard flight protection by implementing an inflight security officer program. Argentina and the United States also signed a joint statement pledging to continue collaboration to enhance security. Finally, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will help enhance Argentina’s border security. Taken together, these measures not only enhance security, but are also important steps to support Argentina’s eligibility for the Visa Waiver Program. To facilitate travel by U.S. citizens to Argentina, the Argentine government will terminate the $160 reciprocity fee paid by U.S. tourists.
The United States announced that it will waive the requirement for visa interviews for Argentine travelers over 65 years of age, or under 16.
During President Obama’s visit, President Macri proposed to increase significantly the number of Argentine student and teacher exchanges to the United States, committing 1,000 new teacher and educational exchanges, including fellowships for Argentine undergraduate and graduate students to study at U.S. universities. President Obama also announced new resources for the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation fund through support from the CAF Development Bank of Latin America and the Instituto Nacional de Educacion Tecnologica, which will further expand educational exchange opportunities. Finally, the United States announced plans to send 20 new Fulbright English Teaching Assistants to Argentina over the next three years to train English teachers in Argentina’s interior provinces.