– Dear President Kirchner,
We write to welcome you to Rome during a day of great importance to Italy’s people. You will arrive when our country will celebrate the Italian Republic’s anniversary. More than seventy years ago, Italy emerged into a democratic country that now holds paramount Western ideals such as the rule of law, free and open markets and freedom of the press. Yet today we are seeing countries recede on these very ideals with high costs to their citizens. Argentina today fails to live up to its potential in these areas; its international reputation has worsened.
President Kirchner, Argentina under your leadership has found itself at odds with other G-20 countries, including Italy. Tens of thousands of Italian pensioners hold over $2 billion in Argentine bonds; Italy is among the largest stakeholders in Argentine bonds, and this is money that belongs to pensioners and small investors.
As a result of Argentina’s unpaid debt, your country finds itself in violation with international laws. Argentina is one of the only members of the G-20 to be involved in cases pending before the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). One case includes Italy’s small bondholders. Argentina’s violation of ICSID claims is clearly unusual as it accounts for 84 percent of all pending cases against G-20 countries.
Argentina has violated laws and shown disregard for foreign investors not just in Italy. Your country owes more than $3.5 billion to U.S. investors accounting for more than 100 court judgments. These investors have been waiting for repayment for more than ten years.
To skirt these consequences, your country shelters approximately $40 billion in Switzerland’s Bank of International Settlements (BIS) where private creditors and banks are unable to access it. Most countries who utilize the BIS only deposit two to three percent of their reserves contrasted with Argentina’s 80 percent.
The U.S. Government has rightly escalated its action in recent months to hold Argentina accountable. Legislation has been introduced in both houses of the U.S. Congress called the Judgments Evading Foreign States Accountability Act, which would prevent Argentina from accessing U.S. markets until it settles all of its debts. The U.S. is currently debating removal of Argentina’s Generalized System of Preferences status administered by the U.S. Trade Representative as a result of Argentina’s failure to recognize over 100 court judgments.
Italy’s Ambassador to Argentina Guido La Tella recently discussed the debt to Italian bondholders with the Argentine press and said, “there is a large number of (Italian) investors that didn’t reach an agreement and there has to be a total solution.” We would agree. We urge you to turn the chapter in Argentina’s tortured history of slighting foreign investors and violating the law. Repayment of Argentina’s debts would help attract foreign investment and regain respect among the international community. Italian investors to your country would welcome such a change during your visit to Rome.
Benedetto Della Vedova – MP, Chair of Futuro e Libertà per l’Italia Group
Sandro Gozi – MP
Lucio Malan – MP