IMF in positive engagement with Argentina, welcomes govt efforts - spokesman

NEW YORK, July 14 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund had a "very positive" first engagement with Argentina's recently named economy minister Silvina Batakis, an IMF spokesman said on Thursday.

"I hope that our staff team on Argentina, including our resident representative in Buenos Aires, are already engaging with the minister and her technical team," said Fund spokesman Gerry Rice in a scheduled press briefing.

"We welcome efforts to strengthen expenditure controls, tax compliance, and public debt management coordination," he said.

Argentina is the IMF's largest debtor, with a $44 billion program that was approved by the board in late March.

Rice said the objectives of the program remain in place, even amid a very challenging global environment.

"We have had a very positive initial engagement with the minister, and we look forward to continuing to work constructively to achieve the agreed objectives," he said.

Reporting by Rodrigo Campos in New York and David Lawder in Washington

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