A street in Buenos Aires.

Coke, Renault-Nissan Invest Big in Argentina

Jan. 22, 2016
Latin America's third-biggest economy, emerged last month from 12 years of protectionist trade policies.

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina—Coca-Cola and Renault-Nissan have each announced big new investments in Argentina in a sign of renewed foreign interest after a pro-business government took power there.

The Renault-Nissan conglomerate will invest $600 million to launch construction of three new kinds of pickup truck at its plant in Cordoba, central Argentina, the government said on Friday.

On Thursday, it announced that US company Coca-Cola, the world's biggest drinks maker, would invest $1.0 billion in expanding its bottling and distribution operations in Argentina over the next four years.

Argentina, Latin America's third-biggest economy, emerged last month from 12 years of protectionist trade policies under former president Cristina Kirchner and her late husband and predecessor Nestor Kirchner.

The new conservative President Mauricio Macri struck the deals with executives at the World Economic Forum currently under way in Davos, Switzerland, it said.

Macri said the car industry is "fundamental for creating jobs in the quest to achieve zero poverty in Argentina."

The Coca-Cola deal, meanwhile, is a "vital" part of his strategy to boost industry in Argentina.

It is the first time Argentina has attended the Davos summit in 13 years, since the leftist Kirchners shunned it.

In Davos, Macri also met with energy, oil, computing and telecom executives.

Since taking office on December 10, he has pushed through economically liberal reforms to reverse Kirchner's policies.

These included freeing up foreign trade and currency controls, moves that critics say will hurt poorer Argentines.

He has vowed to open up Argentina to trade and investment from overseas and to improve its foreign relations.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2016

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