BUENOS AIRES – The president of a key Spanish business association, Juan Rosell, told EFE on Wednesday at a Buenos Aires business forum that Argentina has “impressive possibilities” and added that investments by firms from his country should “increase” in the coming years.
“Argentina is at an historic moment where if it ... turns in the right direction ... with the cooperation of everyone ... government, opposition, unions, businessmen ... it has some impressive possibilities,” the president of the Spanish Confederation of Business Organizations, or CEOE, said.
Rosell, a speaker at the first Argentine Investment and Business Forum, said that Madrid and Buenos Aires have always had a very important relationship – with Spain being Argentina’s second-largest investor, exceeded only by the United States – but there are ships that “pass by just once in history” and one must take advantage of those situations.
Rosell said that Argentina finds itself at a key moment, making an “historic turn” spurred by the country’s recent political shift and by a reconciliation with the markets pushed by the government of Mauricio Macri.
“Spain has many companies here ... for many years ... (with) very important investments ... (but) they can go farther, no doubt about it,” he said.
“I think that that is the great challenge,” Rosell added, both for “the big Spanish companies” and for “others that are not so big, the ‘pymes’ (small and medium firms) who previously were not here and now are beginning to arrive.”
The CEOE chief said that it’s “a shame” that Spanish-Argentine trade relations for some months have not received support in the form of state visits, as other countries like France and the United States have done, due to lawmakers’ inability to form a Spanish government since last December’s elections.
Despite inconveniences of that kind, however, Rosell said that Spain’s relations with Latin American countries is “fluid.”
Construction, transportation and telecommunications infrastructure and renewable energy are some of the areas of greatest interest for Spanish investors in Argentina, he said.
Another of the issues discussed by Rosell – who is also vice president of the European business association Businesseurope – on this trip is the free trade agreement between the European Union and Mercosur, the trade bloc comprised of Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina and Venezuela.
“I think that we have to fire on all cylinders and ... see if we’re able to take the steps that we haven’t taken in recent years,” he said, adding that “it would be beneficial for everyone.”
This first investment and business forum, organized by the Argentine government and lasting until Thursday, is designed as a meeting place for local and international businessmen and Argentine officials.