In 2016, the industry (including mining, the power sector and the construction industry) accounted for just over a quarter of GDP. Argentina early developed an industry primarily based on the processing of agricultural products. After World War II, the industry began to expand seriously in the protection of high tariffs. The automotive industry eventually became one of the most important industries, as was the production of refrigerators, washing machines, TVs, steel, textiles, pharmaceuticals, electronics, cement, car tires and paper. There is also a large chemical and petrochemical industry and the food industry still has a strong position. Argentina is also one of the world’s largest producers of biofuels (made from soybeans).
During the crisis years 1998–2002, production fell in most sectors due to lower demand from Brazil and the domestic market. Productivity rose again from 2003 and investments were high. The sector continued to grow at an average of 8 percent per year during the period 2003–2011.
The high exchange rate of peso after the devaluation in 2002 led to increased domestic production of, for example, textiles that had been previously imported. Investments were also made on the production of steel and soybean oil for export. The automotive industry also experienced a boom in the 2010s when it produced around 800,000 cars a year in Argentina, of which eight out of ten go on export. However, a lack of imported spare parts posed some problems. The international recession in 2009 also affected steel and textile producers, while food and chemical production increased despite the crisis. Since then, a recovery has taken place, and in 2016 industrial goods accounted for just over one-fifth of export earnings.
- COUNTRYAAH: List of top trading partners of Argentina. Includes countries that imported most shipments from and exported most goods to the country.
Argentina has many tourist attractions. Visitors are attracted by seaside resorts such as Mar del Plata on the Atlantic coast, ski resorts and lake districts, not least the national parks Bariloche in the Andes or Iguazú, with its magnificent waterfalls, or visit vineyards in Mendoza.
Los Glaciers National Park in the southwest is on the UN list of World Heritage Sites. The fiery nature of Fireland also attracts many tourists. From here cruises to Antarctica are also included. Many tourists are also drawn to Buenos Aires tango cafes. So-called ecotourism or the opportunity to practice extreme sports attract new tourist groups to the country.
The number of tourists has increased from 3.8 million in 2005 to just under 5.6 million in 2016. A large proportion of visitors come from neighboring countries, especially Brazil, but many tourists also come from Europe and North America.
FACTS – TOURISM
Number of foreign visitors per year
5 559 000 (2016)
5186 000 000 US dollars (2016)
The share of tourist income from exports
7.3 percent (2016)
Corruption charges against Fernandez de Kirchner
Ex-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who sat in power from 2007 to 2015, is accused of favoring a friend by awarding public construction contracts in Patagonia. The judge orders that the equivalent of $ 630 million of Fernández de Kirchner’s assets be frozen during the legal process. In addition to the ex-president, the property magnate Lazaro Baez, the then Minister of Planning Julio de Vido and the Deputy Minister of Public Works José López are prosecuted. Fernandez de Kirchner dismisses the charges, saying she is subject to “political persecution”.
Dujovne becomes new finance minister
President Macri is trying to do something about the economic crisis by dismissing his Finance Minister Alfonso Prat-Gay and transferring budget issues from the Ministry of Finance to a new budget ministry. New finance minister becomes Nicolas Dujovne, a well-known economist who supported Macri in the 2015 election but has since criticized the government’s economic policy, including the abandonment of government subsidies for public communications, gas and electricity. Dujovne advocates a slower pace of reform. The government’s economic reforms have resulted in the country’s currency, the peso, having lost a third of its value and inflation having plunged. According to the Argentine Chamber of Commerce, 6,000 companies were forced to close during the year and about 200,000 people lost their jobs
Agreements enable identification of fallen soldiers
Argentina and the United Kingdom conclude an agreement to identify 123 Argentine soldiers buried in the Falkland Islands. The men fell during the Falklands War 1982.
Nearly one in three city dwellings is considered poor
Data from the National Statistics Office Indec shows that just over 32 percent of urban populations live below the poverty line, and 6 percent of them live in “extreme poverty. Macri, who has pledged to eradicate poverty completely, says it will take a long time before It is the first time in three years that Indec publishes poverty figures, but Fernandez de Kirchner claimed in his last years in power that poverty had fallen to less than 10 percent.
Fernandez de Kirchner is making a political comeback
Former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchners speaks to thousands of supporters in Buenos Aires, where she puts forward plans to reform the constitution, to strengthen citizens’ influence at the expense of big corporations. The speech is held at a meeting celebrating the centenary of Argentina when Argentina got its first democratically elected President Hipólito Yrigoyen. At the same time, she accuses Macri of indebting the country and pursuing a policy that leads to a “social disaster”. Assessors see her speech as the first step in a campaign to get elected to the Senate in October 2017.
Relations with the UK are improving
For the first time since 1999, a thunderstorm is reported in contacts between the UK and Argentina. In a joint statement, the countries say that they will now cooperate on a number of issues, and that the restrictions on the extraction of gas and oil around the Falkland Islands will be removed. Flight connections should now be established between the Falkland Islands and countries in the region, more should be done to speed up the fishing industry.
Thousands in protest march against unemployment
Thousands of Argentine trains from a church to the Plaza de Mayo square in Buenos Aires, since the Archbishop read a letter from Pope Francis expressing concern over the “high unemployment” in the homeland. The trade union movement states that 200,000 people have lost their jobs since Macri took office. The government says that there are 63,000, of which 11,000 are in the public sector. According to a university report, 1.4 million Argentines fell below the poverty line in just the first quarter of the year.
Court forces the government to reintroduce electricity subsidies
A federal court overturns the government’s decision to remove electricity subsidies, which has led to sharply increased electricity prices for consumers. This means a new setback for the government, which has already been reversed in the case of abandoned gas and water subsidies. Earlier court decisions have forced authorities to set a ceiling of a maximum of 400 percent increase in gas prices for households, and 500 percent for companies.
Judges freeze Fernandez de Kirchner’s assets
A judge orders that ex-President Fernandez de Kirchner’s assets be frozen because of allegations of fraudulent currency transactions (see May 2016). Fernandez de Kirchner said at a press conference that the judge’s “harassment” is “ridiculous”.
Police search Fernandez de Kirchner’s properties
After a judge ordered that ex-president Fernandez de Kirchner be investigated for links to a businessman accused of money laundering, police search eleven properties belonging to her. Fernandez de Kirchner tweets about “abuse of power and political persecution”.
Honeymoon for Macri over?
It seems that Macris honeymoon with the voters is about to end. Although he still has support from just over 51 percent of voters, it is still a clear decline. At the same time, the number of people who are dissatisfied has risen from just under 20 percent to over 42 percent. Behind the downturn, there is concern about the economy, where inflation remains high, growth is low and few new jobs have been created.
Former Minister arrested, suspected of money laundering
José López, who sat in Fernández de Kirchner’s government, is arrested for trying to hide large bundles of foreign currency in a monastery (according to media data equivalent to nearly $ 9 million). According to the prosecutor’s office, he is now suspected of money laundering.
The government raises minimum wages
The government decides to raise the minimum wage by one third. The increase will take place in three stages, corresponding to $ 424 a month from January 2017.
Macri stops proposals from the Victory Front
President Macri vetoes a proposal from the Victory Front that would make it more difficult to dismiss staff, firstly, all redundancies would be postponed for 180 days, and the compensation to those who already lost the job would be doubled. The unions discuss a major strike in June but disagree.
Fernandez de Kirchner is prosecuted
Cristina Férnandez de Kirchner is accused of manipulating the central bank’s currency transactions during its last months in power (see April 2016). Former Finance Minister Axel Kicillof, then Governor of the Central Bank Alejandro Vanoli and twelve others are also covered by the prosecution.
Thousands demonstrate against the labor market policy
Large unions such as CGT and CTA are calling on their members to take part in protests in Buenos Aires against President Macri’s cuts in public sector jobs and government spending cuts. Nearly 150,000 public sector employees risk being laid off during the year, according to opposition estimates.
Ex-president suspected of crime
A judge is investigating how the Argentine central bank sold dollars at such low rates the month before Fernández de Kirchner left power. The measure may have cost the state several billion dollars. The former president refuses to testify before the judge who has ten days to decide whether to prosecute or not. Fernández de Kirchner and her two children are also the subject of a legal investigation into, among other things, money laundering through a company, Los Sauces, founded in 2006 in her home province of Santa Cruz. She denies that she did something wrong. A few days later, thousands of her supporters block large parts of Buenos Aires to show their support for the former president.
Macri is mentioned in the “Panama Papers”
President Macri’s name is included in the documents that have leaked from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. There, according to Argentine media reports, it appears that he was director of a mailbox company in the Bahamas from 1998 to 2007. He did not report this when he took office as mayor of Buenos Aires in 2007 or as president in 2015. He himself claims that he did not commit anything errors and that he did not receive any income from the company.
Hedge fund agreements are approved by the Senate
Macri’s agreement with the hedge funds is also approved by the Senate after a twelve-hour debate. 54 senators vote for, 16 against. 26 Senators from the Victory Front also vote for approval. Outside of Congress, opponents are demonstrating against decisions.
Obama visits Buenos Aires
US President Barack Obama is officially visiting Argentina. He then promises to publish secret documents about the US role in the 1976 military coup.
The Chamber of Deputies approves the settlement
Macri’s agreement with the hedge funds (see February 2016) is supported by 165 members of the Chamber of Deputies, while 86 vote against. Before the vote, the president travels around the provinces to win support, which he also receives from Sergio Massas FPR, Bloque Justicialista (which consists mainly of former members of the Victory Front), the Socialist Party and others.
Dispute with hedge funds about to be resolved
The Argentine government signs an agreement to pay $ 4.6 billion to US hedge funds. Thus, a 15-year dispute is likely over. It has made it difficult for Argentina to borrow money in the open market. However, the settlement may strike back against President Macri, as many Argentines have supported his representatives’ hard line against the hedge funds. To enter into force, the agreement must be approved by Congress. In addition, two laws must be repealed.
Foreign trade deficits
New figures from the statistical agency Indec show that Argentina 2015 had a deficit in trade with the world around $ 3 billion. The year before, the country had a trade surplus of about the same. Poorer economy in Brazil and lower world market prices of soy are two reasons why the figures have deteriorated.
Protest against layoffs of public servants
Thousands of public servants gather outside the presidential palace in Buenos Aires to protest that many in the state bureaucracy have lost their jobs. Since the turn of the year, about 21,000 employees have been allowed to leave, and even more are expected to lose their jobs in the coming months. At the same time, tougher rules regarding protests are announced. According to a proposal from the Minister of Security Patricia Bullrich, security forces will be deployed against protesters if they do not disperse within five, ten minutes, following calls. Blocking roads should also be prohibited.
Victory fronts split
18 congressmen leave the Victory Front to form a group that advocates a more moderate political line.
Macri receives criticism for decisions via decrees
After the change of power, 10,000 government employees, many of whom are Peronists, have been laid off. Critics accuse the new president of using authoritarian methods, and bypassing Congress when he makes his decisions. But also his representatives in the post, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Nestor Kirchner and Carlos Menem often used the opportunity to make decisions via decrees. Macri also decides that a review should be made of plans to build new hydroelectric power plant in Patagonia using Chinese money.
Weather in contact with the UK?
In a play, Macri signals a more conciliatory tone in contact with Britain. He says he wants to have a dialogue with the British about the conflict around the Falkland Islands and try to find ways to cooperate.
Macri promises justice in the Nisman case
President Macri announces that all documents concerning the death of Prosecutor Alberto Nisman (see January 2015) should be published. The president says he will do everything he can to ensure justice is shipped in the case.