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Javier Milei in Los Angeles: ‘Argentina has all the necessary conditions to be the new mecca of the West’

The president of Argentina traveled to the US for the fourth time since he took office and met with Elon Musk for the second time in a month as part of his bid to attract foreign investment

Javier Milei Los Angeles
Javier and Karina Milei with Elon Musk in Los Angeles on Monday.elonmusk

Javier Milei has traveled to the United States for the fourth time since he was elected president of Argentina at the end of 2024. None of these trips, including this latest one, included a meeting with President Joe Biden. The goal of this latest visit was economic: to publicize his own government program and attract foreign capital to Argentina. On Monday, at the Global Conference of the Milken Institute, Milei asked the entrepreneurs gathered at the Los Angeles think tank to help transform Argentina into “the new Rome of the 21st century.” Milei assured them that “Argentina has all the necessary conditions to be the new mecca of the West.”

Several of the global speeches made by Milei, since the first one at the Davos Forum, have put the global spotlight on this 53-year-old economist who calls businesspeople “heroes” and urges them to fight socialism in the 21st century. On Monday, Milei’s tone at the Milken Institute once again attracted attention with a very similar speech. According to the Argentine president’s vision, Argentina has become impoverished due to decades of populist and state spending policies that he has stopped in its tracks with an unprecedented cut in public spending. Now, the president emphasized, the country has everything in place to begin a process of economic convergence to put it on par with the great powers of the world.

But words are currently insufficient to convince the business world. Investing in Argentina is risky: the country has the highest inflation rate in the world (288% year-on-year) and has a long history of defaulting on payments and breaching contracts. Investors want facts: laws that provide legal assurances, tax benefits and free movement of capital. They also require guarantees that these measures will be maintained long enough to make the invested capital profitable. That is, that the measures will not be eliminated by the next government in a new pendulum of the country’s economic direction.

These ideas are the backbone of Milei’s extensive state reform program, which is moving towards legislative approval after five months in power. The Chamber of Deputies gave it the green light last week and it is now beginning to be debated in the Senate. If the bill passes in the upper chamber, Milei will have extraordinary powers for one year to privatize public companies, close state agencies, make labor laws more flexible and grant 30 years of tax benefits to large companies.

Praise for Musk

Milei has meetings with U.S. entrepreneurs on the agenda. The most anticipated one was the meeting with Elon Musk —for the second time in a month. The Argentine president has encouraged him to be one of the investment pioneers under his presidency. “I cannot but celebrate the endeavor of my friend Elon Musk to set foot on Mars,” he said during his speech at the Milken Institute about the founder of Space to be confined to this planet,” he added.

As in Davos, in L.A. Milei again warned that the West is at risk and urged international leaders to follow his path. “While the West is turning towards control and imposition, Argentina is turning towards trusting its citizens in the exercise of their freedom. While the West turns towards deficit, bureaucracy, meddlesome government and economic shamanism, Argentina is returning to the path of reason and to the ideas of common sense,” he continued.

The Argentine president aspires to play an important role in the international arena and his numerous trips abroad — to Switzerland, the United States, Israel, Italy and the Vatican — contrasts with the very few trips he has made to the interior provinces of Argentina: he has only visited five out of 23, and in one of them, Tierra del Fuego, he made a lightning trip to meet with the leader of the US Army’s Southern Command, Laura Richardson, and announce the construction of a joint naval base.

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