The Economist Carlos Melconian He was one of the most anticipated speakers by some 350 people, including vintners, winemakers, producers and suppliers of the wine industry, who met this Friday in Mendoza to discuss Argentina’s economic and political context for 2023, the year of the elections presidential.
The impact of withholding taxes on viticulture, the damage caused by drought and late frosts in the vineyards, the difficulties of importing inputs and inflation were the central themes, together with the law on zero tolerance for driving.
Patricia Ortiz, president of Bodegas de Argentina, which brings together 250 associates, opened the meeting and admitted: “The situation guides us. It’s been a very busy year, solving problems every day. This forces us to stop and look at what world oenology is doing to keep innovating with new techniques and consumption trends”.
“We are a regional industry that generates a lot of manpower, that brings dollars to the country, that exports the Argentine brand around the world and that we have been here for a long time. withholding tax request which seem unfair to us, above all due to the exchange rate delay, high inflation, because we pay tariffs to enter world markets and inputs in dollars which it costs us to import”.
Melconian, former head of Banco Nación during the macrism and current president of the Ieral, of the Mediterranean Foundation assured in turn that “the Government is survival stage. Everything will be patched. Politically, since August, the government has been reformatted, where the president has a role of protocol and silent leadership is exercised by the vice president and the CEO has become minister of economy. However, the governance crisis has been stopped“He started his diagnosis.
Regarding the current context, Melconian said: “In December it comes to crisis containment scheme, the dollar differentiated for soybeans and different assets, with subsidies and monetary issuance still high and inflation to remain high through 2023”. He jokes: “(Sergio) Massa is not Pep (Guardiola), it’s Caruso (Lombardi) who saves you from B”.
Regarding the government’s political strategy, he ventured: “Electorally they will be concentrated in the province of Buenos Aires, because the Conurbano represents 40% of the census. But, 100% inflation will affect politics and the economyinflation is 80% of the tax output”.
Melconian insisted: “There is no chance that inflation will come down because monetary expansion will continue at the same level. The minister agrees to freeze prices. Nominal government spending is increasing more than under Guzmán, but real government spending is increasing less than Guzmán because inflation is now 100%.
As for the containment of reserves, the economist said that “the challenge is that the level of exports is the same. There are between 8 and 10 billion of imports underfoot, which will allow the exchange rate situation to be closed as last year”.
“I hope they don’t offer large carrots. Attention starting with bonds that expire in 2024that you produce it in pesos or in the official dollar and it can be settled in dollars, because then you have to be able to pay for it,” he warned.
In the first nine months of this year, wine exports decreased by 5.6% compared to the same period in 2021. The amount exported was $637.8 million.
The Wine Forum was attended by the production ministers of the main wine producing provinces: Mendoza, San Juan, Salta, Neuquén and Río Negro. Everyone talked about the extreme drought and the late frosts that affected vines this year, with damage to the crops of more than 54,000 hectares of vineyards in Mendoza and another 10,000 in nearby San Juan.
The minister of Río Negro, Carlos Banacloy, expressed his concern about the decrease in the supply of grapes to produce wines, after all the work that the provinces of Patagonia have done to position their brands.
Facundo Lopez Raggi, minister of Neuquén, also questioned whether the primary producer is responsible for investing in hail nets or agricultural insurance, which are expensive. He asked to establish mechanisms for the different ties to contribute to this investment in the vineyard so that everyone can continue to work when these climatic contingencies occur.
Against alcohol reform 0
On the political panel were the president of the National Institute of Viticulture, Martín Hinojosa, UCR Senator Alfredo Cornejo, PRO Deputy Omar de Marchi, the former governor of Salta, Juan Manuel Urtubey, the former secretary of the Family Farming of the Nation, Santiago Hardie, and former Congressman Luis Petri. The only woman who would have participated in the political table was missing, the Kirchnerist senator Anabel Fernández Sagasti, who You just confirmed your vote in favor of the 0 alcohol law to whom the wine sectors are against it and argue that 0.5% blood alcohol should be maintained as a driving tolerance.
Cornejo has criticized the National Transit Law reform which aims to reduce the tolerance of milligrams of alcohol in the blood for vehicle drivers from 0.5 to 0. “CABA Traffic Accident Observatory shows that in the majority of fatal accidents the origin is alcohol above 1%. And it shows that most of them hadn’t consumed wine, but other spirits. Mendoza with 0.5% dropped even more in traffic accidents than in non-alcohol ones. Maintaining 0.5% is legislation that works,” said the Senator of Together for Change.
MP Petri criticized the position of ruling party lawmakers who now vote in favor of tolerance 0 and objected to the fact that drunk driving was given a four-year, non-releasable prison sentence during the reform of the penal code, in 2017.
De Marchi highlighted the legal decision that Mendoza took, to continue with the current provincial law on the traffic of 0.5% alcohol allowed in blood, beyond the fact that the Senate converts the 0 alcohol reform into law.