Massa meets with Biden and Lula representatives

They spoke during the Inter-American Development Bank’s annual meeting in Panamá

Economy Minister Sergio Massa met with Christopher Dodd, US President Joe Biden’s special advisor for Latin America and Brazil Planning Minister Simone Nassar Tebet this weekend. They are currently at the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) 63rd Annual Meeting in Panama.

During their meeting, Dodd and Massa discussed the global financial landscape and the complexities that raising interest rates pushes toward countries’ economies. Both officials highlighted that it is important to consider Latin America’s vulnerabilities in the global financial economy. 

After his encounter with Dodd, Massa tweeted about the relevance of “joint work to address the regional situation”.

The meeting came a few days before a U$S 2.7 million deadline in the Extended Fund Facility agreement between Argentina and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Argentina is expected to pay between March 21 and 22, while it waits for a U$S 5,300 billion disbursement from the IMF, according to its board’s recent recommendations

However, it is likely that Argentina will miss the deadline and wait for the disbursement before paying the IMF back. 

The government and the IMF signed an Extended Fund Facility agreement in 2022 after renegotiating the US$44 billion debt former President Mauricio Macri acquired in 2018. The deal includes an economic program that Argentina must comply with in order to receive disbursements or payments every three months, which are used to pay for the previous debt with the IMF. 

This was the second meeting between Massa and Dodd this year Dodd visited Argentina during the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States’ (CELAC) Summit in January, when he met with President Alberto Fernández and Massa separately. 

Back then, the pair discussed the scope for Argentina’s economic growth in areas such as lithium, electric cars, fossil fuels, innovation, agribusiness, and renewable energy. They also highlighted the potential for Argentina and the US to work together to export key foodstuffs and other supplies in the context of Russia’s war in Ukraine. 

Massa also met with Simone Nassar Tebet, Brazil’s Minister of Planning, to discuss future cooperation plans between the neighbouring countries including gas exports, fertilizers, and the improvement of road infrastructure to improve trade routess. There have been some recent tensions around bilateral trade, with Argentina’s ambassador in Brazil, Daniel Scioli filing a complaint this week with Brazilian authorities for a series of obstacles to Argentine exports that are damaging trade.

Massa and Tebet emphasized the important role played by multilateral organizations like the IBD and the World Bank in Latin American economies. 

On Friday, Massa met with Ilan Goldfajn, IDB’s president, and signed three financing agreements worth U$S 235 million. 

The IDB’s Annual Meeting, which ends today, gathers economic and financial leaders from their 48 member countries and the private sector to discuss development in Latin America and the Caribbean, with topics ranging from tackling climate change to ensuring equitable and sustainable growth.

— with information from Reuters


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