Tuesday, 12 June 2018
Do cry for Argentina and IMF? Without UK?
Certainly a few tears must have been shed in the Casa Rosada with the IMF having to step in with a $50BN loan to prop up Argentina's banking system and currency.
Shades of UK in the 1970's and the 2008 Crash.
But especially galling for Argentina with it happening in the middle of the G20 Finance Ministers Summit and just a week before the G7 Summit in Canada.
And it reinforces the economist's joke that there are four types of economies: growing, falling, Japan and Argentina. Japan exceptionalism in weathering the storms of the financial markets, and Argentina unfortunately too often not.
Yet there is a glimmer of a silver lining to the peso woes, for surely the IMF and G20 action is a spur to greater trade with Argentina and Latin America in general.
UK's DIT dept this week confirming for the first time 25,000 UK companies exporting to ASEAN a positive amid the ongoing David Cameron former PM target of an increase of UK trade.
The dark days of the Falklands-Malvinas dispute are long behind us, new UK ambassador Mark Kent quietly building relationships with his counterpart in London, Carlos Sersale and galvanising the UK-Argentine public and private sector into action beyond just mining, fossil fuels and armaments that have long suppressed UK growth.
The astonishing coup too of British Foreign Minister, Boris Johnson kept on a firm leash to lay wreaths to the Argentine dead in Buenos Aires.
And that just a few months after sterling work with the Red Cross and CWG, the latter probably the best government department and already activating Kwai UNESCO status work, to search and recover war dead on the Falklands.
That apt for here in East Kent with the South Sandwich Islands named after the actual Sandwich, town and food and a trigger for the dark days of the 1982 conflict. While Margate featuring a Buenos Ayres (sic) street commemorating an earlier UK conflict in the nineteenth century. And Saga cruises, one of the largest cruise ship operators with dozens of cruises through the Caribbean and Americas.
And in my MP and Mayor campaign I've called for a resolution of the Falklands dispute: too long a dispute with Argentina as a modern democracy, much as with tax haven Gibraltar and Spain, a relic of an Imperial past long-gone, and a drain on the MOD.
The Mount Pleasant MOD runway surely as wasteful as St Helena's windswept disaster.
And if the Falklands had been a Scottish or Irish isle the population would long ago have been evacuated to the mainland - just 300 residents on West Falkland and only 1,800 in Port Stanley. Smaller than most East Kent villages.
### UK and Argentina growth ###
But let's leave aside the potential of dual citizenship and UN oversight of the islands with UK and Argentina eventually as a wilderness reserve, and even those Antarctic wildlife cruises. Although with the latest report that plastic has now swept into the Antarctic oceans, just about as far away as it's possible to get from humanity, then a cleanup is first overdue with the Atlantic and Pacific Plastic Patches.
And there is that glimmer of hope for expanded UK and Argentine activity: the hard currency of tourism not just to cover the IMF activity but strengthen the two economies with tourism.
Antarctic cruises aside for whale watching or penguin peregrinations, or shampoo bottle spotting, already Norwegian Air has begun extra flights to Buenos Aires (with a BA buyout too?). Already this year several newspaper features of that neglected gem in the tourism calendar. Even the possibilities of nature and horse riding tours. And Argentina featured in the Chris Tarrant railway show - of previous and future UK investment -but also this week with BBCTV Patagonia Earth's Paradise, with shades of similar primetime programmes in Thailand and Myanmar.
For with the Argentine-Chile rail link already underway with Siemens - no doubt fuelling the carriages of the new East Yorkshire factory and TrumpDavos15Friends (is that trademarked?) and HS3 activity - both Santiago and Buenos Aires will be fully linked via Rosario port.
And there is the opportunity for UK rail experience to link with Montevideo in Uruguay and up the Brazilian coast through the metropolises and tourist destinations of Sao Paulo and Rio - both already some of the largest cities in the world.
### BRICS and clicks ###
While if UK trade in the BRIC nations is faltering with Russian sanctions and China in general awaiting a boost from the Cameron-Xi development funds as part of that export target, then India and Brazil - and their megacities - are too large to fail for UK.
London Tube contracts already in hand for Buenos Aires for example, are a template for UK excellence in subways as in Crossrail, for megacities such as Sao Paulo. That Buenos Aires-London tube link surely low hanging fruit for UK and Argentina and IMF reassurance?
And Argentine brands such as TOMS Shoes represent an innovation in trade: designed in California and made in Argentina with the ethos of buy a pair of shoes and one is donated in say Malawi etc. An astonishingly innovative brand. While UK reach in the fashion world from catwalk to Camden market and the Commonwealth surely a key opportunity.
Prince Wills speaking eloquently as patron of the Liverpool Business Festival opening this week with an emphasis on expanding UK SME exports beyond the current 30% of businesses, and that usual over-reliance of Rolls Royce and BAE.
Prince Wills though best-placed as a former air ambulance pilot to highlight the Commonwealth as the mother of all networks - and speak eloquently on those island states in need of better Resilience in air sea rescue, and city/rural air ambulance, helicopters and national airline fleet upgrades and sustainability.
### Rolls Royce trade ###
And relevant of Rolls Royce engines 4,000 back office job losses to focus on 18,000 engineers and £1BN cash flow by 2020. As a Rolls Royce teaboy I know the value of working on Concorde and airline and motor engines with my dad. The Rolls Royce reshape under the quietly capable CEO Howard East to Defence, Power and Civil Aerospace, a slight misstep in not consolidating the Marine business in ship drone tech etc?
Prince Wills surely cleaning his helmet visor to scope out a better future for HUD and AR. And his wife no stranger to the importance of family online businesses whether fashion or party gizmos. All crucial for a 21st Century Digital Britain whether the High Street or 17% of online sales.
While the purring of the Midlands Engine would be louder with a focus on Jaguar for cities and Landrover out of town. Even the new Landrover Defender project across the pampas. Ambassador Woody of USA in London effortlessly slipping UK-USA trade out of first gear and into cruise control with a visit to the Jaguar Landrover factory, and first glimpse of the new Landrover Defender massive project by UK's richest man Jim Cathcart.
I fondly remember as a child riding in a Landrover Defender to Rolls Royce Derby and Birmingham with engine moulds for Concorde.
Only Britain could stall such an iconic motor brand as Defender - imagine if USA failed to grow Jeep or Ford? While the Fort Worth F35 Texas factory and its 3,200 workers must be thinking of Boeing HQ in Sheffield, and Airbus in Toulouse cargo planes ands helicopters -the good folks of Texas and the Cajun Navy still not superdry after the floods?
### Space for UK and USA growth with Latin America too ###
The space telescope in the Atacama surely an opportunity to interlink the UK Space Agency and European Space Agency launch site in Cayenne and NASA. Surrey Space satellites across the Kent border expanding in both meteorological data (the Atlantic and Pacific Patches again and Resilience storm and volcano warnings) and space junk cleanup.
Immarsat technology for example ideal.
The opportunity too for Argentina and UK scientists and universities to work closely together on the new Seabed Mapping Project - Mars more familiar than the seabed -much as Kent's Charles Darwin began with the Latin American coast.
And the Magellan anniversaries from 2019 onwards an opportunity to further market Argentina, with Spain and Portugal, beyond just Buenos Aires. The Straits of Magellan and Falklands of increasingly less strategic influence with the importance of the Panama Canal for UK trade and links through the Caribbean, California and Pacific.
And brands such as Lincoln & York with its 50k square foot Lincolnshire warehouse sourcing, roasting and packing 8,000 tons of coffee a year. And with the UK's largest coffee roaster with CEO James Sweeting in use with the pre-1994 days before Starbucks entered the UK coffee market. hence featuring as Sunday Times International SME exports leader with 265% profits increase. Poland a focus now in its 40 overseas market revenue increase from 20% to 50%, but a template for UK's wider coffee strategic importance.
UK's coffee and cake and pizza king Luke Johnson - Channel Four, USA's Border books, Silicon Roundabout et al - eloquently detailing the issues around UK and USA incubators and universities and his Centre for Entrepreneurs hub and thinktank. 2% rollout so awful from a standing start for UK? East Kent's CCU University crunchy on its business work ahead of T-levels vocational exams - despite its stalled Broadstairs campus silliness.
Vietnam's quietly capable PresidentTran Dai Quang celebrating UK efforts in Vietnam but calling for specific and pragmatic projects, no doubt wider Vinh seaport activity.
Argentina could have greater prominence in UK trade in the Southern Cone and the issue of cocaine as with Colombia now joining NATO security and this week's EU drug monitoring report citing UK as the cocaine capital of Europe with 4% of under 35's trying cocaine in the last year - double the EU average of 1.9% and with only Spain and Eire and Holland coming close on 2.5%.
UK trade requiring greater impetus beyond 70% pure coca in Peru and Bolivia and Paraguay in its wider Latin America trade growth.
But, with East Kent's James Bond, and Kent's Rolling Stones featuring heavily in Argentine appreciation, broader efforts are possible with the Creative Industries - not just say UK and Argentine film shoots in each other's nations or advertising and fashion.
### Sports Diplomacy ###
Sports Diplomacy for example underway with rugby Pumas and polo (Prince Wills probably more keen on beach polo and crazy golf. Perhaps not.) and football.
Spanish for gringos also hampered with a lack of Argentina TV channels in UK and language learning - surely a freetoair swap with BBCTV the work of moments and a UK trade template?
Deloitte, also a TrumpDavos15Friend (it must be trademarked?), announcing the UK Premier League worth £23BN which seems light to me especially with Amazon announcing one tranche of the £3BN broadcast rights. And BT ousting CEO Gavin Patterson for failing to maximise both the BT Sports rights and 5G (that UK Digital Future again), and the Premier League announcing a 10 day winter break, the ground is ready for increased sports eg Argentine Primera leagues and Ossie Ardiles.
Jeremy Corbyn hardly likely to urge less momentum on his Arsenal team leading UK efforts on Football Diplomacy. Another massive UK export opportunity.
Even extra channels of USA sports as NFL and baseball expand in to London next year. While the Channel Four HQ bid, formerly the champion of niche or neglected sports, viable for Liverpool and proximity to BBC Media City in Salford but also niche bids by Brighton and Kent.
Food a key factor facing Argentina and Uruguay in future - the Fray Bentos corned beef UNESCO heritage site in Uruguay an indicator of the rise of healthy eating, WHO citing red meat as cancer-forming, and an issue for the wheat and meat stock of Argentina as much as Thailand's Senator Tammy Duckworth Illinois caucus and Colorado colleagues whether they like Coors or not.
KFC already developing a non-meat menu and less-fried versions which is no easy task for a Kentucky fried chicken expert from out of heartland USA to main street worldwide. Easy with Sonny Perdue and USDA USA farm exports stocking up the barn ready for a DHL delivery.
A factor no doubt in expanding Argentine red and white wine sales even the grapes in themselves to UK supermarkets. Certainly less appetite in East Kent for New Zealand lamb and wine after the Manston-Infratil crimes. A booming UK retail sector with the Tesco purchase of Booker wholesalers and possible mega-merger of Sainsburys and Asda-Walmart.
Only UK as a nation of shopkeepers could fumble its retail offering (that digital retail trade again too) in Argentina and Latin America's malls?
Amanda Murphy of HSBC (TD15F trademark pending) citing in their Navigator report cycling clothing manufacturer Rapha with its outrageously superb £48M exports 71% of sales - no doubt slipstreaming key UK events such as Tour de Canterbury and Tour de Yorkshire through Tour de France and Spanish la Vuelta - Tour de Patagonia next for UK and Argentine growth?
Time for Change