Argentina Lifts Currency Exchange, Exports, and Imports Restrictions
Mr. Mauricio Macri was sworn-in as President of Argentina on December 10, 2015. Four business days after taking office, Mr. Alfonso Prat-Gay, the new Minister of Finance, announced the fulfilment of the campaign promise to end the severe restrictions regarding currency exchange, exports and imports that stagnated the country’s economy over the last four years and made a daunting, if not impossible, task for foreign companies to remit proceeds outside of Argentina, and for national companies to make transfers abroad.
With these measures, the new government is looking to reduce the double-digit inflation, attract foreign investment, and make its comeback to the international capital markets. Noah Mamet, U.S. ambassador to Argentina, is optimistic that the relationships between the United States and Argentina will improve. Education, technology, and clean energy will be the core of new collaborations and business opportunities between the two countries, according to a recent interview he conducted with the newspaper La Nación.
On a separate matter, during his first meeting as President of Argentina at the MERCOSUR, Mr. Macri urged for the liberation of political prisoners in Venezuela (Human Rights Watch stated here that Mr. López, a leader of the opposition, was unjustly convicted and sentenced to 13 years in prison). The opposition Democratic Unity coalition won more than twice the number of National Assembly seats as the Socialists in Venezuela’s election on December 6, 2015, sending another message of the change in the political landscape in South America.
Things will not be easy for Mr. Macri, though. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives of Argentina are controlled by the Peronist party, and Mr. Macri will need to compromise with different parties, from both the left and right wings, to pass key legislation to make his economic and political reforms a reality. It’s hard to see any cooperation from Ms. Kirchner’s party, as she boycotted the ceremony transferring power, and even refused to turn over the official social media accounts to the new government. One day before the transfer of power, the former community manager changed the official Twitter account of the Argentine government, which held more than 300,000 followers, from “@CasaRosadaAR” to “CasaRosada2003-2015” (i.e. the period of time that Ms. Kirchner and her late husband governed Argentina). While there has been some case law in the U.S. based on the theories of misappropriation of trade secrets and conversion, unfair competition, intentional and negligent interference with economic advantage, and other Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and Lanham Act claims, amongst others, regarding former employees being reluctant to handle their professional social media accounts back to their employers (see PhoneDog v. Kravits, Case No. C 11-03474 (N.D. Cal.); Ardis Health, LLC et al. v. Nankivell, Case No. 11 Civ. 5013 (S.D.N.Y.); Eagle v. Morgan, Case No. 11-4303 (E.D. Pa.)), so far there has not been a case related to social media accounts of any government. Twitter’s decision was to simply uncheck the once official account, and verify the new account created by Mr. Macri’s office: @casarosada.