Overview

YPF was Argentina’s leading hydrocarbons company, with expertise in exploration, production, refining, and marketing. As the largest company in the country, YPF was also Argentina's main investor, its second largest exporter, and - with more than 30,000 employees - one of its top employers. The US, however, had recently decided not to renew the General System of Preferences (GSP) that allowed Argentine firms increased access to the US market.

Challenges

YPF, as part of a coalition representing the Argentine business community, was facing a US Government - in particular a US Congress - that was doubtful of the benefits of continuing the existing trade preferences with Argentina. Any strategy to maintain those preferences need to center on communicating a persuasive narrative to reluctant policymakers, opinion leaders, and other decision makers in Washington, in order to change the political calculus regarding bilateral relations with Argentina.

Strategic Recommendations

Blue Star's experienced team of trade advisers developed a proactive message to drive a government relations strategy in support of YPF and to represent its interests and the interests of its corporate coalition. This message focused on three primary areas. First, on the economic impact of GSP and its benefits for US consumers. Secondly, on the US-Argentina bilateral relationship and the impact of the GSP deliberations on this relationship. And third, on the importance of continuing to support Argentinean development and poverty alleviation. These messages were tailored to engage the relevant decision makers at the US Trade Representative's office, the Departments of State and Treasury, Congress, and public policy and media institutions.

Program Highlights

Blue Star focused on providing strategic positioning for YPF and its coalition, which brought together several Argentine industry leaders affected by the GSP benefits. By defining a powerful "group of leaders" message, Blue Star positioned YPF in a much more influential role in the process. The strategy also utilized an energetic outreach to the press, including reporters and opinion writers at the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, the International Herald Tribune, the Miami Herald, Bloomberg, and Reuters, among others.

Results

Blue Star Strategies' efforts ultimately resulted in the renewal of GSP benefits for Argentina. By collaborating closely with YPF and the Argentine business coalition, Blue Star worked to successfully illustrate the importance of the United States' bilateral and commercial partnerships with Argentina, and definitively changed political sentiment within the US Government.