n an exclusive interview with Yogonet, the head of ASAP analyzed foreign trade trends following the victory of Mauricio Macri in the November 22 2015 presidential run-off.
Mauricio Macri won the presidential elections after 12 years of Kirchner rule. How was foreign train affected with such change in the country’s administration?
The change in policies the government has been applying since December in foreign trade is for sure favorable for the sector. Electronic gaming equipment –mainly slots-, enters the county under Automatic Import Licenses which by definition it means they are always granted.
Regarding live gaming, Non-Automatic Import Licenses are applied, a system that is similar to the DJAI’s –that was in force until December-, only that the system has become now more predictable.
Officials in charge of analyzing imports are professionals who evaluate the requests considering the local production of goods they seek to import, the importer’s record and other aspects that refer to importing operations.
Did the decision to lift the clamp on the dollar market benefit the sector?
The lifting of the import dollar clamp certainly benefitted us. Now that our clients are allowed to carry out operations in the country, we have more work to do.
On the other hand, the fact that processes have been simplified, removed a significant burden we received over the past years, which led to a huge costs that we could not set on clients. In conclusion, we worked much more but we cashed in less, a disastrous combination for any business.
Regarding the lifting of the dollar clamp, it resulted into a clear benefit for importers, but it did not benefit the volume of operations, though.
“Imports and exports have always been considered adjustment variables in Argentina”
Many analysts saw a standstill in the import-export sector during the administration of Cristina Fernándes de Kirchner. Do you believe foreign trade figures are recovering?
Regardless of what the previous administration did or did not do, governments in general have a historic debt with foreign trade.
Imports and exports in Argentina have always been considered adjustment variables and nobody has ever –no matter their political color-, worried about developing long-term policies. On the contrary, isolated measures have been carried out considering only short-term needs -inflation, exchange rate, supply issues etc.
That causes serious problems to exports: exporters set prices which they must drastically modify later and foreign buyers stop buying from Argentina because they are not reliable anymore. I hope responsible policy is developed sometime that different governments can sustain it so that export growth becomes finally possible.