Donald Trump laid out his red carpet to welcome the Argentine president, Mauricio Macri, a long-standing friend of the Trump family. In a press conference, reports US News. The American president said they will keep being “great friends, better than ever before”.

The South American leader and his wife, Juliana Awada, were received by Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump. After a short meeting in the oval room, they went for dinner with the American and Argentine delegations.

On the agenda of the meetings, there are the trade relations between the countries and the deteriorating situation in Venezuela, as the country experiences a long–lasting economic and political turmoil.

Today, Venezuela features one of the most complicated situations within the continent. The controversial socialist president Nicolas Maduro is fighting against the opposition in huge demonstrations all over the country, as well as with Congress, while the people suffer in the attempt to survive amid a shortage of basic supplies.

Business ties

The relations between Mauricio Macri and Donald Trump date from the 1980’s, when Francisco Macri, father of the now president, was a business partner of Trump in the Lincoln West housing and office development. The partnership was terminated in 1985 when the Argentine businessman sold his stake in the company.

Last year, the then president-elect Donald Trump became involved in a controversy regarding the construction of a $150 million tower in Argentina which stalled amid red tape.

Reuters covered the story where he was accused by Argentine media to have asked for the intervention of president Macri in order to resume the works. Both sides deny the allegations.

Diplomacy of lemons

After more than a decade of left-wing governments, led by late Nestor Kirchner and his wife Christina, the election of Mauricio Macri, a conservative and market-friendly politician, opened up the prospect of rapprochement and improvement in the bilateral relations between Argentina and the United States.

As he took office, the new president solved a long legal dispute with hedge-funds over public debts, that has left Argentina out of the global financial markets for 15 years. While Barack Obama was still in office, the United States was about to lift a 16-year ban on Argentine lemon imports. But Trump postponed the release and the subject may be part of the bilateral discussions, as Argentina is one of the world’s top producers of the fruit.