Amid currency crisis, Batakis met with IMF head Kristalina Georgieva

Georgieva received Batakis in the midst of the currency crisis. REUTERS/Hereward Holland/File Photo

The Minister of Economy Silvina Batakis began its agenda of activities in Washington this Monday with with the managing director of the International Monetary Fund Kristalina Georgieva and another with some of the most important Treasury officials.

On her first stopover, in the morning, the official had a first meeting at the US Treasury. They were at that table David Liptonformer deputy managing director of the IMF in the years of negotiation of the Stand By signed in 2018, and others such as Michael Kaplan Y Andy Baukoltwo officials who closely follow the international agenda of the US Treasury and with ties to the board of directors of the Monetary Fund.

The meeting began around noon (Argentine time), at 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, a few meters from the White House, with the presence of Batakis, the deputy minister karina angeletti and the Argentine ambassador to the United States Jorge Arguello.

After this first stop, Batakis went to the IMF headquarters for the meeting with Kristalina Georgieva and with the director of the Western Hemisphere Department Ilan Goldfjn. It continues until around 6:00 p.m. Argentine time with a lunch at the headquarters of that institution, on 19th Street in the US capital, where there will be Goldfajn, Luis Cubeddu and Julie Kozackwhich will last until about 18 Argentine time. That first day of official mission has on the roadmap then a meeting with two World Bank officials: Axel van Trotsenburgmanaging director of operations, and with jordan schwartzdirector of the organization for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

At that table are David Lipton, former deputy managing director of the IMF in the years of negotiation of the Stand By signed in 2018, and others such as Michael Kaplan and Andy Baukol, two officials who closely follow the Treasury’s international agenda

With both the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Batakis will have on the agenda the issue of disbursements from international organizations. This is a decisive element included in the agreement with the IMF as part of the Central Bank’s ability to accumulate reserves throughout the year. As explained in the Argentine Government, part of these shipments from bilateral entities is delayed.

The agenda of the head of the Palacio de Hacienda was urgently organized by the ambassador Arguelloafter the suspension of the president’s visit Alberto Fernandez. “Two days of intense work await us with the US authorities, multilateral credit organizations, US companies that work in our country, analysts and investors,” said the diplomat this Sunday after Batakis’ arrival in the US capital.

Both Lipton and Kaplan and Baukol are Yellen’s advisers in charge of international issues. A history of international credit organizations, Lipton had a high profile during the years of negotiation and implementation of the Stand By loan signed by the government of Mauricio Macri with the IMF. Considered a “hawk” in terms of fiscal orthodoxywas the second most important official of the Monetary Fund below cristina lagarde.

Batakis has an intense agenda of meetings in Washington with organizations and investors (Nicolás Stulberg)
Batakis has an intense agenda of meetings in Washington with organizations and investors (Nicolás Stulberg)

Lipton has known Argentina well for decades. In the mid-1980s, he was one of the IMF officials who assisted the Government of Raul Alfonsin to launch a fiscal adjustment plan that would end up materializing with the Austral Plan. Years later, Lipton served as undersecretary of the US Treasury during the presidency of bill clintonyears in which he had to negotiate decisive support for Argentina in times of the crisis due to the Tequila effect.

Also member of the teams of Barack Obamaduring the tenure of donald trump he became number two in the IMF and remained close to the Argentine negotiation. The Casa Rosada ended up agreeing the largest loan in the history of that institution and Lipton was part of the voices that They demanded a “heavy hand” from the officials of the macrista economic team. A special counterpoint took place with the then president of the Central Bank louis caputothat he asked for room for action to intervene in the foreign exchange market, an option that Lipton flatly rejected.

“Two days of intense work await us with the US authorities, multilateral credit organizations, US companies that work in our country, analysts and investors” (Argüello)

Lipton had to leave the IMF a few months after the failure of the 2018 Stand By and the announcement of a restructuring made by newcomer Alberto Fernández. At that time, the agency recognized Lipton for his contribution on issues of “strategy, policy development, multilateral and country supervision, and the multilateral entity’s loan program.” In addition, he noted that Lipton was one of the authors of the Fund’s “Early Warning” system and the “External Balance Assessment Framework”.

Lagarde and Lipton were just some of the officials linked to the IMF’s record loan who had to leave the institution. So did the director of the Western Hemisphere Department Alexander Werner and the head of the Argentine mission Robert Cardarelli. In their place were Ilan Goldfjn (another hawk in the discussion with Martin Guzman) Y Luis Cubbedu. julie kozacksecond of Goldfajn, also had a key place throughout the negotiation with Guzmán, but already after the first recalibration that this program had, the IMF announced that it will leave its place as of September.

Lipton began his career as a young economist at the Fund and then, between 1992 and 1999, he worked alongside the famous economist Jeffrey Sachs in consulting assignments for the transitions to capitalism in Russia, Poland and Slovenia. In 1985, during the Austral plan, he visited Buenos Aires as a young IMF economist and in 1995, during the Convertibility plan, he reiterated his visit, already as Undersecretary of the Treasury who was then head of Robert Rubin.

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