Pablo Lavigne was tasked with coordinating the future Secretariat of Commerce. This 40-year-old economist specializing in foreign trade knows this dependency well and the same task (dismantling traps on imports) was carried out in 2015, at the beginning of the government of Mauricio Macri. Since last Friday, Lavigne has been in charge of the transition of the area and would be the strongest candidate to occupy the position as of December 10.
Javier Milei's entourage clarifies that his appointment has not yet been confirmed. However, they assure that his name has already passed the filter of the future Minister of Economy, Luis Caputo, who was asked for his opinion. Lavigne, for the time being, is in charge of dismantling the vine of Fair Prices, the favorite tool used by Kirchnerism to fight inflation. Unsuccessfully, as the statistics reflect.
Milei anticipated that the Ministry of Commerce would cease to exist, at least as it is known. That is, to control prices and negotiate with companies and manufacturers to limit increases, for example, and to authorize the entry of goods from abroad. "In my government it doesn't make sense, because prices have to be governed by the free market, and I believe that no official can decide who can or cannot import: that has to be defined by the companies with their own resources and by their needs," he said a few days ago in radio statements.
Lavigne, according to those who know him, believes that the Ministry of Commerce should fulfill the role of defending and promoting competition, "as happens in other parts of the world" and not to approve or reject imports through the SIRA mechanism, or to monitor prices and normal supply on the shelves. On the social network X (formerly Twitter), he wrote that "it is essential to change the system: the ideal is an informative one but without restrictions or import licenses."
Strictly speaking, Lavigne held that position between 2015 and 2019, when foreign trade regulations were under the Ministry of Industry and not Domestic Trade. It was the Minister of Economy, Sergio Massa, who unified both agencies to give Matías Tombolini, his bishop, greater bargaining power vis-à-vis companies, supermarkets and wholesalers.
In fact, upon his arrival, Tombolini sponsored the Fair Prices program (formerly Careful Prices) and expanded it in such a way that it covered more than 53,000 products in areas as diverse as mass consumption, electronics, furniture, tourism, clothing, footwear, bicycles, motorcycles, computers, cell phones, sportswear, industrial supplies and construction materials, among others.
However, the Ministry of Commerce, for Milei, is not very relevant. "It's not among their priorities," said a source close to the libertarian space. Beyond this, Lavigne is in charge of coordinating with Tombolini "an orderly transition." But from the libertarian's small table, he was also tasked with reviewing the SIRAS approved "but not canceled" by that office, which allowed the accumulation of a commercial debt of US$ 56,000 million. All with the aim of detecting alleged "trout imports".
Lavigne studied Economics at the Universidad Católica Argentina (UCA), and was a professor at the University of Business and Social Sciences (UCES) and UCEMA. He still owes his doctoral thesis, which he promised to do later. Between March 2011 and November 2015, he was part of the Pensar Foundation, one of the economic ideas plants linked to Pro.
From there, in December 2015, he jumped to the public sector to "lead the normalization of foreign trade management in the Executive Branch, taking it in 4 years from the DJAI system (the name that the current SIRA had before) to the standards of the World Trade Organization," he says on his LinkedIn profile. A similar work to the current one: dismantling the import trap in order to move to a regime of greater commercial flexibility.
Between 2018 and 2019, Lavigne was the creator and director of VUCEA, (Single Window for Foreign Trade), "an instrument of simplification and transparency aimed at the comprehensive management of foreign trade". In those years, he met the former Minister of Production Dante Sica, who recommended him to serve as director for Latin America at the consulting firm Abeceb.
Those who worked with him define him as a "great professional, hardworking and very solid", as well as very knowledgeable about the legal framework and the twists and turns of international trade and free zone regimes, among many other things.