Atlanta businesses will be able to benefit as soon as late May or early June from the efforts of a new development council established by the U.S. and Argentina, Marcelo Regunaga, Argentina’s ambassador to the U.S., told a luncheon at the World Trade Club Atlanta Tuesday, April 18.

The council will seek to improve the dissemination of business information between the two countries, develop greater cooperation on commercial standards, regulatory frameworks and commercial laws and identify business opportunities.

As part of the council’s effort to promote business, it will sponsor trade and investment missions, seminars and other events with Atlanta being one of several cities targeted in the U.S.

“You can earn more in Argentina than you can in the U.S.,” Mr. Regunaga told the businessmen and women including representatives from the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Southern Electric International, Lockwood Greene and Wachovia Bank, because of the country’s extensive development needs and less competition.

But without enumerating them, he did refer to certain barriers to trade and investment. “The impediments to the development of business relationships between our countries must be addressed,” he added, saying that discussions among officers from companies participating in the council would be a good way to address these concerns.

While acknowledging that the council could be affected by upcoming elections in Argentina to be held May 14, Mr. Regunaga encouraged local companies to consider investing in his country, distancing its problems from those of Mexico, which has undergone a sharp devaluation of its currency.

Although the Mexican crisis forced Argentina to curtail its growth by increasing taxes to strengthen its budget, he said that the currency could not be devalued because the government was no longer authorized to print money and that the peso’s value was pegged to the dollar with one peso equaling $1.

Argentina experienced inflation of 5000% in 1989 when, he said, “the people became almost crazy.”   Due to the adoption of extensive structural reforms and the convertibility law that year, Argentina’s economy has become more stabilized.  Inflation fell to 7.4% by 1993 and to 3.9% in 1994.

Unlike Mexico, Argentina, according to Mr. Regunaga, would not suffer a sharp devaluation because of the strength of its reserves. He added that public debt amortization scheduled for 1995 amounts to $5.2 billion, less than 2% of gross domestic product when distributed evenly through the year.

For more information about the activities of the development council, call the Consulate General of Argentina at (404) 880-0805.