As an important trading partner to Brazil, a neighboring nation, a Mercosur companion, and a football rival, Argentina is undergoing a series of changes under its newly elected president, Javier Milei, that will shape its future.
Recently, the newly elected president of Argentina triggered a Decree of Necessity and Urgency (DNU) promoting the country’s economic deregulation. The decree brings about major changes, such as labor market flexibility and the annulment of several national regulations. Additionally, it proposes transforming various state entities into joint-stock companies, streamlining the privatization process.
Milei’s proposed Customs Code reform aims to “facilitate” international trade and “prohibit the prohibition of exports,” in his words.
But what are the main characteristics of this country, whose tango and dulce de leche have earned a legion of fans worldwide?
A Bit of History
Argentina is located in South America, covering a territory of 2,796,427 square kilometers. Before the arrival of Spanish conquerors led by Juan Díaz de Solís in 1516, the region was inhabited by querandis, quíchuas, charruas, and guaranis peoples. The country emerged as the heir to the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, a Spanish possession established in 1776. After gaining independence between 1810 and 1818, Argentina experienced a period of civil war that extended until 1861, resulting in the nation’s outline as a federation of provinces with Buenos Aires as its capital. Throughout the 20th century, Argentina witnessed various military coups and periods of political turmoil, along with recurring economic crises that limited its socio-economic progress.
Located on the East Coast of South America, Argentina shares borders with Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Chile. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and has a diverse geography due to its latitudinal extension.
In the western part of the country, the terrain is mountainous due to the Andes Mountains. The eastern part consists of coastal plains along the Atlantic Ocean. In central Argentina, there are extensive plains and large plateaus, while the southern part features glaciers. The climate is also diverse, ranging from polar in the extreme south to subtropical in the north, with large zones of temperate climate. The vegetation follows a similar pattern, including pampas, forests, and tundras. This geographical diversity positions Argentina as a major food producer.
Among Argentina’s key agricultural activities are the cultivation of soybeans, corn, wheat, sunflower seeds, lemons, pears, yerba mate, and beef.
Data from DataLiner, Datamar’s business intelligence platform, indicates that, in the first ten months of 2023, beef was the most exported product by Argentina, followed by non-roasted peanuts and citrus. The graph below shows the main products exported by the country between January and September 2023:
Top Containerized Exports to Argentina | Jan – Oct 2023 | TEU
In terms of imports, vehicle parts and accessories are among the most prominent examples, followed by polypropylene polymers. The data is also from DataLiner. See more below:
Top Containerized Imports to Argentina | Jan – Oct 2023 | TEU
According to DataLiner information, China was the primary destination of Argentine exports via containers in the year-to-date period from January to October 2023, followed by the United States and Brazil. The following graph illustrates this trend:
Top Destinations for Argentine Exports | Jan2023-Out 2023 | TEUs
Conversely, in terms of imports, China was the country that sent the most products via containers to Argentina in the first ten months of 2023, followed by Brazil and the United States. The graph below provides more insight:
Top Origins of Argentine Imports | Jan 2023 – Oct 2023 | TEUs
It’s worth noting that Brazil is a crucial trading partner for Argentina. The chart below shows the main maritime exports from Brazil to Argentina between January 2023 and October 2023, based on DataLiner:
Brazilian Maritime Exports to Argentina | Jan-Oct 2023| TEU
In 2023 (January to October), Argentina exported 370,426 TEUs, according to Datamar’s platform. The volume is 7.1% lower than the same period in 2022. Argentine imports also decreased by 10.28% over the same period. These figures reflect a challenging and unstable year in Argentina. The year 2024 promises to be challenging, particularly due to the severe economic crisis facing the country.
- The term “Argentina” derives from “argentum,” which means silver in Latin. This happened because when the Spaniards arrived in the country, they found this precious metal with the indigenous people, who had taken it from sailors of a Portuguese expedition.
- Argentina presents remarkable geographical contrasts. It has the highest peak in the Southern Hemisphere, Mount Aconcagua, located in the province of Mendoza, with an impressive 6,962 meters. In contrast, it also houses the lowest point, Laguna del Carbón, located in the province of Santa Cruz, at -105 meters.
- The Argentinosaurus, the largest dinosaur fossil identified in Latin America, was found in Argentina and is one of the largest ever discovered, reaching about 35 meters in length, and weighing approximately 80 tons.
- The Buenos Aires subway, inaugurated in 1913, is the oldest in Latin America and the fourth oldest in the Americas, preceded only by the metro in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia in the United States.
- Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital, houses an impressive amount of 36 stadiums, with the capacity to accommodate hundreds of thousands of spectators.
- Located in Argentina, Ushuaia is recognized as the southernmost city in the world, situated in the region known as Tierra del Fuego and often referred to as “the city at the end of the world.”
- The Spaniards initially named the Argentine capital in 1536 as “Nuestra Señora María del Buen Aire” in honor of Our Lady of Good Air, the patroness of Sevillian sailors. Later, in 1580, Juan de Garay renamed it as the City of the Trinity. However, for centuries, both foreigners and Argentines referred to it as Buenos Aires. Only in 1996 was the official name changed to the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires.
- The difference between the famous Argentine and Brazilian dulce de leche lies in the shade and creaminess. The Argentine version is darker, creamier, and often contains ingredients like vanilla beans, while the Brazilian one is lighter and generally simpler in its composition.
- The widest avenue in the world is in Argentina. According to the Government of the City of Buenos Aires, 9 de Julio Avenue is known to be the widest in the world. It spans 140 meters in width and 1 kilometer in length.