Today, at the Argentine Government House, the Minister for Social Development, Daniel Arroyo, the Minister of Transport, Mario Meoni, and the Foreign Minister, Felipe Solá, signed an inter-ministerial framework agreement for the coordination of trade-strengthening measures aimed at developing a strategic partnership with Middle East countries.
Regarding this agreement, which is part of the federal development of export markets for the grassroots economy, the social economy and family agriculture, Solá stated that this is “a very significant challenge that we have taken on at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs along with Jorge Neme, the Secretary for International Economic Relations, and with other government departments that focus on bilateral negotiations. We are fully committed to opening new markets for traditional or novel products and introducing novel products in traditional markets, because Argentina’s exports are highly diversified in terms of markets but not so much in terms of products.”
The Foreign Minister stressed that “the Arab world, which includes not only the six countries in the Gulf region or the Arabian Peninsula (Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia), is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 3%, and so it is its middle class; and they require food, and maybe other products, but mainly food, and they need safety and quality.”
He also explained that “quality is not only a matter of product appearance, but also an intrinsic attribute of a product, including the fact of knowing that the product’s quality remains the same; the result of this consistency is that each export is basically like previous ones, resembling industrial mass production. That is why we seek even quality with as little variation as possible, which is what a demanding market expects, besides quantity.”
Solá also underscored that “organization is also necessary: there are millions of people involved in family agriculture, social economy and grassroots economy, and they are different. There can be no organization without funds and financing, and we would be leaving out a lot of people that want to be trained and included. However, if we have means and training, but lack organization, we would be squandering the opportunity: we have land and people that want to progress, cooperatives and experiences.”
In closing, Solá highlighted that all of this accumulated knowledge required a great deal of effort on the part of the state, which had been disregarded and forgotten by the previous administration, when all that mattered was the formal economy; that is the reason for this enormous effort that we have resumed as government, which has even required new laws, in order to bring those who were marginalized due to social and political reasons into the formal economy.”
The grassroots economy, the social economy, and family agriculture include people that work outside of the traditional employment relationship; that is, they are workers that are generally not part of an employer-employee relationship (workers without employers). These are 11 million workers accounting for 27% of total production.
In addition to Ministers Felipe Solá, Daniel Arroyo, and Mario Meoni, today’s meeting at Government House was attended by the Secretary for International Economic Relations, Jorge Neme; the Chief of the Private Office of the Foreign Ministry, Guillermo Justo Chaves; and the Undersecretary for Promotion of International Trade and Worship, Gabriel Osatinsky.
The meeting was also attended by the Chief Executive Officer of the Argentine Agency of Investment and International Trade, Juan Usandivaras; the head of the Advisory Cabinet Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Diana Guillén; the Secretary of Family, Country, and Indigenous Agriculture, Miguel Ángel Gómez; the Secretary for Transport Planning, Gastón Jaques; the President of SENASA, Carlos Paz; and the Secretary for Social Economy, Emilio Pérsico.
Also present at the meeting were the Chargé d'Affaires of the Embassy of UAE, Hussain Ali Bin Hilal Alnaqbi; the President of the Argentine-Emirati Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Services and Technology Transfer, Alfredo Aboud; the Chief Executive Officer of Terminales Rio de la Plata S.A., Gustavo Armando Figuerola; and the President of the Argentine-Arab Chamber of Commerce, Julio Made.