January 22, 2022 5:58 pm

Janet Yellen, a key figure in the negotiation with the IMF

Martin Guzman he received the news hopefully. It was November 2020, Joe Biden had just been elected president of the United States and the fact that who would assume the head of the strategic Treasury Secretariat American could be an old acquaintance of the Argentine minister: Janet Yellen. Those were times when negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) They seemed to be going from strength to strength and Guzmán saw in the 75-year-old economist an eventual ally on the way to an agreement as friendly as possible with the organization.

With his election, Biden was not only appointing the first woman to the head of the most important position of the economic cabinet of the White House. It also broke with a tradition followed by almost all recent American presidents: putting a Wall Street executive in charge of the Treasury. With a prolific academic career behind him, Yellen developed a reputation as a “dove” in the years that he had to preside over the US Federal Reserve. During the last period of the Barack Obama presidency and the beginning of the Donald Trump administration, he applied a policy of low interest rates in order to maintain economic activity and achieve improvements in employment. “He has sensitivity,” they pointed out at that time from the Argentine government.

Martín Guzmán met in Venice with the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, Janet Yellenpress ministry of economy

However, almost a year after taking office, Argentine expectations in the actions of the Secretary of the Treasury ended up deflating. The closeness of Yellen’s husband does not seem to have influenced too much, George Akerlof, with the minister’s academic mentor, Joseph StiglitzBoth winners of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics. Neither did the bilateral meetings, such as the first face-to-face meeting that Guzmán achieved with the economist in Venice, last July, had the expected results. Or the informal talk that featured Alberto Fernández himself, in October, in the middle of the G20 summit.

Key player in consensus building in the board of the Fund, the United States is the main shareholder of the multilateral organization. A place where he began to weigh much more after the scandal that hit the Fund’s Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, after being accused of favoring China in a competitiveness report during her tenure at the World Bank. That process left the Bulgarian economist weakened, and under the scrutiny of Yellen and her main adviser, the “hawk” David Lipton. He is the delegate of the economist in the management of the international agenda of the Treasury and who, in his role as number two of Christine Lagarde in the IMF, negotiated the loan of US $ 44 billion taken by the management of Mauricio Macri.

David Lipton
David LiptonArchive

The truth is that, today, the Democratic administration still does not support the agreement that Guzmán and the IMF’s technical staff have advanced for weeks. According to the ruling party, the hardening of the North American position would be closely linked to the report ex-post published by the Fund, where the first formal explanation was offered on the reasons that, according to the multilateral organization, led to the failure of the economic plan implemented by Cambiemos after the exchange run that broke out at the end of April 2018.

In this work, which was presented on December 22 last, the Fund’s board made a piss on the largest loan in the history of the organization. As published THE NATION, the evaluation describes a fragile program, burdened by defects, and a weak government with no room for action in an adverse political context to promote solutions. The question then arises: has the internal situation of Argentina changed in the last four years? In Washington they are not convinced. “The political discussion is missing”, they admit from the Government, with the hands of the clock in countdown.


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