The Argentine buy refers to public purchases made by the State or public companies, which represents 13% of GDP. It proposes increasing the margin of preference over national production despite having higher prices: it increases up to 15% in the case of purchases from large companies, and up to 20% in purchases from SMEs. There is also a margin of preference for gender: add an additional 3 points for companies with a majority of women or other identities in management or among workers. The official projection is to generate 30 thousand new private jobs.
In dialogue with Ámbito, Julián Hecker, national director of Buy Argentina and Development of Suppliers, explained why this preference in prices is due, in what they consider a “Buy America” Creole version: “Public purchases are a powerful tool to promote national productive development, in many countries strong buy regimes are used, such as the United States, Israel or Brazil; it was seen in the development of drugs, semiconductors or even the internet. These are developments that would not have existed without a powerful public procurement scheme and today they contribute to the wealth of those economies. “
The previous government had also established a new Argentine buy regime in 2018, although this new bill has some differences, in addition to the increase in the margin of preference in prices of national goods. Now it will also be reaching Pami, so it will have an impact on the pharmaceutical industry. Creates a trust fund administered by the State, to finance national companies with credits, rate discounts or access guarantees. It seeks to reach competitive SMEs that do not present themselves to public tenders due to lack of financing, which results in the presence of intermediaries who raise prices to take risks.
Sectors with opportunities
Another of the changes that the law provides is a chapter intended to encourage public purchases of innovative or strategic goods and services. Investment in research and development is expected to amount to $ 40 billion annually. “This seeks for the State to stimulate innovation, improve the quality of public purchases and assume the risks that exist behind strategic developments,” explained Hecker..
The underlying objective is to make the national industry more competitive, and to establish an integrated development of suppliers in strategic sectors. In this sense, the opportunities they see in the Ministry of Productive Development are to add value to natural resources, which is why they aim to develop suppliers in the agricultural, oil and gas and mining sectors. As an example, Hecker mentions the case of Australia: “70% of the world’s mines use Australian software. With incentive policies, it developed a network of suppliers for mining, with 1,200 companies, which export for US $ 15 billion ”.
The goal is not to fund the development of just any industry, Hecker said. “You have to go first to those that have opportunities to take a productive leap, generate added value and also export. The criterion is to make companies competitive, without the State having to be present afterwards ”, explained the economist. Other opportunities to expand the local industry are observed in electromobility, clean energy and LNG.
So far, the supplier development program has allowed leveraging investments of $ 12 billion in 280 projects, during the last two years. What is coming is adding credits, but on the demand side. “There are very competitive local suppliers, like farm machinery or fracturing equipment, but buyers still end up importing if they can’t find credit,” Hecker explained. The credits to be announced will be given by Banco Nación.