Incredible… While a contract of 360 million euros approximately for the sale of four patrol boats of the Naval Group was accepted by both parties and ready for signature in early September, the Argentine is reluctant in recent weeks to sign it. However, the Naval Group has already won the end of 2016, the competition launched by Argentina in the spring of 2016. The argentine government will keep its word vis-à-vis France or launching a new international call for tenders as it is the question?
Outstanding but France and Argentina would like to find a solution to exit through the top of this folder explosive. Many exchanges at the top level (ministries of Defence/Armed forces and foreign Affairs) have taken place in recent weeks to avoid a crisis between the two countries.
Gondan, a project that comes out of nowhere
But that happened this summer to get to this pataquès ? A small Spanish shipyard Gondan, located in Asturias (North of Spain), would have convinced Federico Ramón Puerta, the ambassador of argentine in Spain very controversial in his country but deemed to be close to the argentine president Mauricio Macri, do it better and cheaper (50 million euros the unit) as the Naval Group. From there on, the folder of the Naval Group, which had hitherto been managed with the hand of a master, is influenza.
Rather known for the manufacture of small patrol boats for the Guardia Civil, Gondan offer Argentina a project of a patrol vessel that the yard Spanish has not yet developed. A proposal that is far from the quality of the Naval Group, which already has a building with a proven design, The Skillful. Especially the argentine navy wishes to embark on patrol of French manufacture. In addition, Gondan is a private building site, Argentina has nevertheless required in tender proposals shipyards public to sign a contract from state to State.
This contract would have been also it seems parasitized by a record agricultural. The French producers and German rapeseed were allies against the reopening of the european market for biodiesel in argentina and have announced their willingness to file a complaint with the world Trade Organization (WTO). What angry Mauricio Macri, Argentina is the third largest producer of biodiesel. But in early September, the european Union has announced its intention to lower import taxes for biodiesel in argentina, according to a WTO decision.
An exemplary process up to this summer
It all begins in may 2016 when Argentina launched a tender to equip its navy with four new patrolmen. In June, Buenos Aires, argentina, who want an agreement of government-to-government, selects the France and the group public Naval Group in the context of this competition. At the end of 2016, the naval group habs wins the competition against two rivals, the Spanish Navantia and the chinese CSIC (China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation). Mauricio Macri also gave its agreement. From February-march 2017, Argentina and France are negotiating the commercial contract, and then, in June, the marine reaches an agreement with the Naval Group. She sends the contract to the ministry of Defence to follow the administrative process ad hoc.
But the first clouds on the horizon with the change of the minister of Defence on the 14th of July and its teams. Therefore, the process of approval of the contract is, in all logic, slowed sharply with the arrival of the new minister. In parallel, France and Argentina are still negotiating the financing of the project until the month of August. An agreement is finally found in the last days of August with an offer of 100% funding over five years. Therefore, the contract is ready for signature in early September.
Argentina will go up to the clash?
But against all odds nothing happens. The French are surprised by the silence from the Argentine. They recognise gladly the victory of the Naval Group but say studying in parallel offer less expensive and best-evaluated bid on the operational plan of Gondan. And very quickly, the Argentines put pressure on the France, explaining that if France and Argentina fail to sign, Buenos Aires, argentina would be obliged to launch a new tender. Which could tend in particular the relations between Argentina and France, which considers the bottom of this turnaround, “not very clear”.
In France, it is estimated that if Argentina launched a new call for tenders, this would be considered as a unilateral rupture, opening the way for possible compensation. All that Gondan was not eligible in the framework of the call for tenders launched in 2016. The ball is now in the camp of the Argentines, who are still reluctant to be angry against France. Buenos Aires will he slap Paris?