Milei decrees sweeping economic deregulation and privatization measures

The measures, implemented via decree, attack the role of the state and mark a radical shift towards free markets

President Javier Milei took to Argentina’s national TV channel to announce a barrage of legal and economic deregulation measures that will fundamentally alter the Argentine state’s role in society and the economy. Among the announcements were the abolishment of laws regulating the rental market, supermarket supplies and state purchases. He also announced moves that pave the way to privatizing Argentina’s state-owned companies.

Milei delivered the announcement flanked by his ministers in a 16-minute recorded video that was broadcast shortly after 9 p.m. In the message, he blamed Argentina’s economic troubles on fiscal deficit and left-wing politics, which he likened to fascism. “The problem isn’t the chef, it’s the recipe,” he said. “Ideas that have failed in Argentina have failed all over the planet.”

The measures will be implemented via a decree, which will take effect as soon as it is published in Argentina’s official bulletin. The chief of staff then has 10 days to send it to Congress, where it will be debated in commissions before it is sent for debate by lawmakers.

The 30 changes Milei announced in the video include overturning Argentina’s current rental law, which the decree document describes as “nefarious”. At present, contracts last for three years with annual rent hikes to account for inflation. Renters’ groups have said it gives tenants security, but critics say its restrictions have prompted landlords to withdraw properties from the market.

Laws on purchasing and supply, which affect supermarket stocks, will also be axed by the decree, alongside the Economy Ministry’s price observatory, which Milei accused of “persecution” of businesses. 

All state-owned companies will be turned into limited companies.

Contracts made in foreign currency will have to be paid in the agreed currency.

Several changes applied to the private medical insurance sector: price caps will be removed and private health insurance companies will be incorporated into the union-based health funds known as cajas de salud.

The 86-page document has 366 articles. 

Argentine lawmakers will be called to special congressional sessions over the summer to debate laws connected with the changes included in the decree.

The announcement of the decree’s contents, initially slated for earlier in the day, was postponed to 9 p.m. This meant that Argentines didn’t learn of its contents until after a tense march to Plaza de Mayo to commemorate the victims of the 2001 financial crisis, watched over by a heavy police presence in reflection of the Milei administration’s new anti-protest protocols

Across Buenos Aires, the sound of neighbors banging pots and pans could be heard as soon as the announcement finished — a common form of impromptu protest, especially among Argentina’s middle classes.


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