BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Justin Trudeau today makes his first foray into South America as prime minister, landing in Argentina for a two-day stopover in a country that is rapidly opening up its foreign investment rules.
After years of populist, nationalistic governments, Argentina is moving towards the political centre as president Mauricio Macri makes changes to currency rules and the central statistics office to rebuild credibility and investor interest.
Trudeau says Argentina is a country with challenges, but also opportunities for growth.
A former Canadian diplomat to South America says the political shift that is underway in Argentina is being mirrored in neighbouring countries, making Trudeau’s visit a shrewd geopolitical move.
Allan Culham says the prime minister’s visit could not be better timed to build personal relationships, which the South Americans like.
The Argentine ambassador to Canada says the meeting is an opportunity to revamp the relationship between the two countries since it hit a low point four years ago.
That was at the Summit of the Americas in 2012, when the previous Conservative government opted against a pro-Argentina resolution in the long-running dispute over the Falkland Islands.
Ambassador Marcelo Suarez Salvia says his country wants international financial help to deliver major infrastructure projects, and Canadian expertise in bringing 3,000 Syrian refugees to the South American country.
Canadian companies already have a foothold in Argentina, mainly in the mining sector, which receives the bulk of the attention in Canada over concerns about the social and environmental impact of projects.