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Coalition to Congress: Oppose More World Bank Loans to Argentina!

October 30, 2013

Dear Member of Congress:

The undersigned groups write to call your attention to alarming news that the World Bank – which receives backing from U.S. taxpayers – is considering a new loan to Argentina, a country that has been clearly defined as a bad actor in the international community. Press reports indicate that Argentina will receive a new $3 billion loan from the World Bank, even though Argentina has had numerous public stand-offs against U.S. interests.

Argentinian officials have publicly and repeatedly announced their intentions to defy the U.S. judicial system. Their government has actively ignored more than 100 U.S. court judgments and counsel for Argentina told a U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in February 2013 that it “would not voluntarily obey” the district court’s injunctions in the case of NML v. Argentina, even if those injunctions were subsequently upheld by the Second Circuit.

Argentina’s disrespect for the rule of law and unwillingness to abide by its commitments is not just limited to U.S. courts and U.S. investors. Argentina also continues to ignore the World Bank’s arbitrational body, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). As the Financial Times pointed out, “of a total of 439 legal disputes between countries and companies at the World Bank tribunal, no fewer than 50 involve Argentina – far more than anywhere else, with socialist Venezuela lagging some way behind in second place.” Several companies that hold ICSID claims against Argentina are American. While Argentina has recently said it will pay five of the outstanding claims, it is yet to be determined if it will comply. Argentina also promised to repay its long-outstanding debts to governments like the U.S. and France, but for over a decade has not done so.

For these reasons and others, the United States implemented a policy in 2011 to oppose all multilateral development banks’ (MDB) lending to Argentina. Following the leadership of the U.S., several other nations including the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, and Canada also opposed MDB loans to Argentina. However, news reports now indicate the U.S. and others may be contemplating approval of this current request to the World Bank.

It remains in our best interest to ensure that no more World Bank loans are approved for Argentina. A country that continues to flout U.S. court judgments and stiff our lenders cannot also continue to receive money from international institutions, for which the U.S. provides core funding. Every failure to satisfy U.S. court judgments results in lost revenue to the Treasury, to U.S. investors, and to hard-working Americans who invested in Argentina.

We urge you to send a strong message to the Administration to oppose these World Bank loans, and for Treasury to withhold funding from the Bank if it continues to underwrite “financial rogue” states like Argentina.

Thank you for your support on this issue. We look forward to your reply.

Sincerely yours,