Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Argentina Chile study tour day two

Monday March 15 2010

The group walked to the American Club in BA and went to the top floor, overlooking the Teatro Colon, BA's jewel of an opera house modeled after La Scala in Milan. The day began with two talks. Fernando Furci, head of international trade for the American Chamber of Commerce (and GQ model?), gave an overview of economic conditions and summarized do's and don'ts for American firms thinking about entering the market. Juan Cruz Diaz, director of Cefeidas a consulting firm, talked about how Argentine politics affect the business climate. We learned that the current president Cristina Kirchner of the Peronist party ran on a unity ticket with the leader of the Radical party as VP, but the two had a falling out on export taxes on agricultural goods (Cristina wanted higher taxes but her veep cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate against her). Kind of like an Obama/McCain ticket. The class asked questions about the debt repudiation in 2001 and the prospects for Argentina receiving international investment in the future. Diaz concluded his talk on an optimistic note, "We are convinced the next government in 2011 will be more conciliatory toward business." To quote the Who, "We won't be fooled again!!!" I hope so.

In the afternoon we visited Craveri Laboratories, a rapidly growing contract manufacturer of various pharmaceutical products and an Argentine pioneer in Tissue Engineering. We selected Craveri because of NC State's emphasis on technology and biosciences. CEO Juan Craveri generously spent an hour telling us about Craveri and answering student questions. Craveri is making great strides in developing new products to help victims of burns, skin ulcers, and other ailments.

Fun time in the evening: a visit to El Viejo Almacen for an hour-long tango lesson, a three course dinner and a great tango show.

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