President Alberto Fernández reportedly told a group of eight top businessmen on Tuesday that a deal with the International Monetary Fund won’t happen until 2022 at the earliest.
The president spoke to a group of executives – including representatives from top companies including MercadoLibre, Corporación América, Pampa Energía and Pan American Energy – and said that a deal would be sealed early next year, reported Bloomberg, citing a government official who asked not to be named discussing a private meeting.
Fernández also denied that leaders in the ruling coalition were split over their approach to the Fund, telling the CEOs: "There are no differences."
Sources cited by the Noticias Argentinas news agency said that the business leaders had asked the government to U-turn on some government policies, including the removal of the temporary ban on laying off workers and a measure forcing firms to double the severance pay of employees if dismissing them without cause."
Nevertheless, the main focus remained on the US$44 billion debt with the IMF, with some executives enquiring about the position the opposition Juntos por el Cambio coalition, which some felt would need to back any deal if it is to be sustainable.
"The president gave us a lot of confidence in relation to the will to reach an agreement" with the IMF, Eurnekian said after the lunch in comments to local outlets.
The lunch with businessmen was first reported by Infobae.
The meeting took place with Economy Minister Martin Guzman is in Washington DC, where he is holding technical and high-level meetings with IMF officials to rework a plan worth over US$40 billion, including a Tuesday meeting with IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva. Talks have so far been slowed, in part due to Argentina’s upcoming midterm elections to be held in November.
Speaking after his meeting with Georgieva, Guzmán said that he hoped the IMF's leadership "will continue to take steps that change the ethos of the IMF, leaving behind one shaped by global financial power that contributed to a more unequal and insecure world for another that favours sustainable development."
Guzmán, who also met with David Lipton, the main advisor to US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, described the meeting as "valuable" in the quest to restructure Argentina's "unsustainable" debt burden.