Argentina pushes bill to give Congress control over external debt and deals with IMF

BUENOS AIRES, Nov. 9 (Reuters) – Argentina’s Economy Ministry on Monday said it would send a bill to Congress that would make the Legislature the final approver of agreements with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the issuance of new foreign debt.

The South American country recently emerged from a sovereign default after restructuring nearly $ 110 billion in foreign currency bonds and faces talks starting this month with the IMF over a deal to to replace a failed $ 57 billion facility.

“We think it would be healthy for decisions to borrow in foreign currencies to be approved by Congress,” Economy Minister Martín Guzmán said in a statement. “It has to do with transforming debt sustainability into state policy.”

The bill would mean that no deal with the IMF could be reached without the support of Congress and that the government could not issue foreign debt without the support of lawmakers.

An IMF mission is expected to arrive in the country on Tuesday to launch formal talks to replace the 2018 agreement, which has already seen around $ 44 billion disbursed.

“The intention is to replace the current program with a new one which is based on completely different principles, knowing that there is no restoration of macroeconomic stability without a resumption of economic growth,” Guzmán said. (Reporting by Eliana Raszewski; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Chris Reese)

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