Friday, February 24, 2017

When Argentina Elected a Populist President - Some Companies Left the Country

NPR |  A charismatic populist president in Argentina wanted to boost manufacturing and create jobs. So she told companies that if they wanted to sell their products in Argentina, they had to build them there, too.

Ten years ago, Argentina was in a situation that may sound a bit familiar. The country had just elected a populist president, Cristina Kirchner, with big plans for their economy. Kirchner wanted to control imports and exports and bring manufacturing to Argentina, so she placed huge tariffs on items made overseas. For some products, she said, if you want to sell this in Argentina, you'll have to make it in Argentina. One of those items was the cell phone. Stacey Vanek Smith from our Planet Money podcast has the story.

STACEY VANEK SMITH, BYLINE: Cristina Kirchner's made-in-Argentina rule drove some companies away. Apple stopped selling iPhones in Argentina, but other companies played ball, including the company that made Blackberry phones.

HUGO BONOFACCINI: In Argentina, everybody was crazy for BlackBerry.