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Cablegate: Argentine Economy Minister: Goa Looking for U.S.

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PP RUEHAO RUEHCD RUEHGA RUEHGD RUEHHA RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHMT RUEHNG
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DE RUEHBU #1198/01 3091636
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P 051636Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4572
INFO RUEHWH/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0393
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1207
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RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0136
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 0079
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1366
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO 1891
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 0840
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0166
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1543
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 0206
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 0077
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 1560
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0202
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0899
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BUENOS AIRES 001198

SIPDIS

DEPT PLEASE PASS TO TREASURY FOR NLEE/LTRAN/WLINDQUIST; SAO
PAULO FOR WBLOCK

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/04/2019
TAGS: ECON EFIN EIND EINV PINR PREL ETRD AR
SUBJECT: ARGENTINE ECONOMY MINISTER: GOA LOOKING FOR U.S.
SUPPORT

REF: (A) BUENOS AIRES 1161 (B) BUENOS AIRES 976

Classified By: Ambassador Vilma Martinez for reasons 1.4 (B) and (D)

1. (SBU) Summary: In the Ambassador's introductory call on
Minister of Economy Boudou, the two discussed the status of
the GoA's latest offer to the bond ""holdouts,"" discussions
with the IMF and Paris Club, and U.S. investment in
Argentina. Boudou was confident of a successful deal with
the holdouts, although he stressed the need to isolate the
""vulture"" funds that opposed the deal. These will be
followed by negotiations in 2010 with the IMF and Paris Club,
eventually leading to Argentina's reaccess to international
credit markets. Boudou also asked that Argentina be included
in the itinerary of any visit by President Obama to South
America. End Summary.

BOND HOLDOUT DEAL COMING
------------------------

2. (SBU) Ambassador, accompanied by DCM and ECouns, met
November 3 with Minister of Economy Amado Boudou in her
ongoing round of inaugural meetings with Cabinet ministers.
As expected, Boudou used the meeting to focus on the new GoA
initiative, announced by him two weeks ago, to launch a new
offering to outstanding holders of the remaining USD 20
billion in Argentine debt from the 2005 debt swap, as the
first step to Argentina's reentry into international credit
markets (ref A). Boudou told the Ambassador that he was
confident that an agreement will be completed ""within 100
days"" with holders of at least 70 percent (USD 13 billion) of
the outstanding debt. The Ambassador responded that the USG
supported Argentina's latest effort to settle with the bond
holdouts and reaccess international credit markets.

3. (SBU) Boudou thanked the Ambassador and noted that he
will begin a roadshow to promote the holdout offering shortly
after his trip at the end of the week for a G-20 meeting in
St. Andrews, Scotland. He said his plans include public and
private sector meetings in the U.K., Germany, Italy, and the
United States, where the bulk of the holdouts are
concentrated. Boudou expressed concern regarding opposition
to the Argentine offering from vulture fund holders of
Argentine debt which he described as ""neither American nor
Argentine."" He argued that they were offshore investors who
keep their money in tax havens like the Cayman Islands and
employ no one. Boudou said that it was important that these
funds, which are represented by influential lobbyists, be
isolated to ensure success. He noted that the required
filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and
similar regulators in other countries had begun and that the
necessary authorizing legislation in the Argentine Congress
would be voted on by the lower house this week and the Senate
soon after. He characterized prospects for passage as
virtually certain.

FOLLOWED BY IMF AND PARIS CLUB
------------------------------

4. (SBU) DCM asked what GoA's plans were with respect to
the IMF and Paris Club. Boudou replied that the GoA wants to
move forward with both, beginning with the IMF in the first
quarter of 2010 following an agreement with the bond
holdouts. He noted that Argentina wanted to restart the
30-year relationship it had with the Fund before severing
those ties in 2006. The question now was finding the
political space to reengage. Boudou asked for U.S. help when
the GoA is ready to move forward, particularly with the Paris
Club negotiations. He said that he might seek to mention

BUENOS AIR 00001198 002 OF 003


that point to Secretary Geithner in St. Andrews next week.

FOREIGN INVESTMENT IS NEEDED
----------------------------

5. (U) Boudou told the Ambassador that Argentina is looking
for not only international credit but, more importantly,
foreign direct investment, and he sees the U.S. as playing a
particularly important role. Citing General Motors, Ford,
Kraft, and Wal Mart as examples of US companies with major
investments in Argentina creating thousands of jobs, Boudou
said that the GoA wanted to work with the USG on policies and
programs that encourage more investment. He added that there
was no contradiction in protecting both employment and
investment. The Ambassador noted that there may be
opportunities to foster greater state-to-state relationships
such as between Buenos Aires Province and her home state of
California with its diversified, technology-driven economy.

REQUEST THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA VISIT ARGENTINA
--------------------------------------------

6. (SBU) Boudou noted rumors of a possible visit to the
region next year by President Obama. In the event the visit
happens, Boudou argued that it was important that Argentina
be included. He argued that Argentina is moving towards a
more cooperative, market-oriented approach to international
economic policy, and a visit could accelerate the momentum of
that swing. He also asserted that a visit here to another
important G-20 country would fit in well with President
Obama's collaborative global vision.

Comment: A Stealth Admirer of the United States
--------------------------------------------- ---

7. (SBU) Throughout the meeting Boudou described himself as
unabashedly pro-American (and where he still prefers to take
vacations), though he added that he had to be careful to
downplay this publicly. So far, holdout deal
notwithstanding, his familiarity with the United States
manifests itself in the ease with which he relates to
American interlocutors, but not in the economic policies that
he has pursued for this populist government.

8. (SBU) With respect to the bond holdout deal, Boudou
appeared confident he would get one, though his concern with
the vulture funds as potential spoilers was manifest in the
Ministry's press statement after the meeting that highlighted
the need to isolate the ""so-called vulture funds."" It is
also clear that he was carrying a message from the Kirchners
in asking that the President include Argentina on any visit
to South America. With four months under his belt thus far
as Economy Minister under the Kirchners, Boudou appears to
have won the confidence of the President and her husband in
moving forward with an agreement with the bond holdouts, IMF,
and Paris Club creditors, in that order, on the road to
accession back to the international financial markets.
Whether Boudou is eventually successful will depend, as he
says, on the political space available to him in 2010.

Bio Notes
---------

9. (C) Boudou said that he likes to ski every season at
Aspen and surf at San Diego-area beaches. He also described
himself as a fan of the National Football League. Boudou
spoke more English in the meeting than we've heard before
(ref b); it seems to be serviceable, though he clearly is
much more comfortable in Spanish. Boudou's political savvy

BUENOS AIR 00001198 003 OF 003


was reflected by the only three photos that he keeps in his
bookcase. One features President Cristina Fernandez de
Kirchner (CFK) alone; another is of CFK and him; and in the
third, Boudou gazes attentively at CFK's husband,
ex-President and government strongman Nestor Kirchner.
MARTINEZ

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