Barack Obama has hailed reforms made by his Argentinian counterpart while on a visit to Buenos Aires. Mauricio Macri entered office promising to distance his government from his leftist predecessors.
Obama on Wednesday complimented the speedy pace of Macri's reforms, as both men seek to mend relations following a decade of tension between Washington and the Latin American country's leftist leaders.
"President Macri is a man in a hurry," Obama said during a press conference in Buenos Aires. "I'm impressed because he has moved rapidly on so many of the reforms that he promised."
The son of a wealthy businessman, Macri entered office at the end of last year vowing to do away with the protectionist policies put into place by his predecessor, Cristina Fernandez. During the 12 years Fernandez and her late husband Nestor Kirchner governed the country, tensions grew between Argentina and the US.
Now, both Obama and Macri are treating this new chapter in the country's history as an opportunity to reboot US-Argentinian relations.
Changing the status quo
"Argentina is re-assuming its traditional leadership role in the region and around the world," Obama told reporters in the Casa Rosada presidential palace.
As part of his reforms, Macri has done away with capital controls, slashed subsidies and reached a deal with US creditors. In response to the president's efforts, the US Chamber of Commerce predicted that American companies would invest nearly $3 billion in Argentina over the next 18 months.
Macri, who still has a number of obstacles to tackle in his country, such as high inflation, also praised Obama.
"You emerged proposing major changes and you showed they were possible - that by being bold and with conviction, you could challenge the status quo," he said.
blc/jr (Reuters, AP)