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Emerging markets Updated: 15 Dec 2017

The presidency of the G20, an opportunity for Argentina and for Latin America

For Argentina, assuming the presidency of the G20 is a great challenge and commitment, but also a great opportunity. Indeed, after years during which the doors to international finance have remained closed to Argentina, the country is making significant strides to reclaim its spot as Latin America’s third-largest economy.

The G20 brings together the world’s 19 most important industrialized and emerging economies, plus the European Union. Only three Latin American nations have a seat at this exclusive forum: Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. This is the first time a South American country has assumed the presidency of the organization. Argentine President Mauricio Macri will be responsible for making sure that the group meets its goal of maintaining international financial stability.

The G20's member countries account for 85% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), two thirds of the world population and 80% of international trade. in this scenario, Argentina has a great opportunity to showcase its strengths to the world, so as to attract investment, promote tourism and underpin integration and trade agreements with other nations.

According to BBVA Research, capital inflows to Argentina, have up to now been concentrated in short-term financial investments, while the trade deficit has continued to rise in 2017 - a trend that will become more pronounced in 2018. This could be an opportunity to show the world an Argentina with solid perspectives and sustained growth that stimulates long-term investment and, at the same time, helps open markets for Argentine products.

The benefits are many, as President Macri acknowledged when taking over the presidency of the organization on December 1, 2017. “Today we celebrate the start of a period of very hard work that will allow us to tell the world about Argentina and Argentina about the world.” President Macri’s Chief of Staff Marcos Peña ratified this message saying, “it is going to help us open our minds, boost our levels of integration with the world and abandon our defensive mindset.”

President Macri announced that the work agenda he will propose to the G20 will focus on three key points: The future of work, infrastructure for development and a sustainable food future. Regarding the latter topic, Macri noted that Argentina is capable of feeding 400 million people. This is a pivotal point for a country whose agricultural industry is one of the cornerstones of its economy.

Argentina’s G20 presidency may also prove beneficial for South America as a whole,  if Macri succeeds in his intent to act as spokesperson for the region in this international forum. “We want to be the voice of the region as a whole, not only of our country. That’s why we are going to set forth, at the center of the G20, the aspirations and concerns of this developing region, which is so eager for new opportunities,” said the Argentine president.

The meetings that will be held next year in Argentina will also provide a scenario for BBVA to participate in the working groups of the G20’s business community (the so called B20 or Business 20), as it has during the German, Chinese and Turkish presidencies.