Latin America Trade Bulletin: Reference Values, Trade Promotion, FTAs
This new bi-weekly publication offers an overview of the important regulatory and other developments affecting trade and customs throughout the region, including key markets like Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Venezuela and Peru. To receive this free publication in your inbox every other Thursday, visit our subscribe page and check “Latin America Trade Bulletin.”
Argentina and Uruguay negotiate local currency payment system
The central banks of Argentina and Uruguay have completed negotiations to establish a voluntary system that will allow importers to pay for their imports using local currencies instead of converting to U.S. dollars. This alternative would mitigate the complications surrounding currency access, especially in Argentina, and aims to reduce money transfer costs.
New criterion values for certain fibers and yarn
Argentina has modified the current reference/criterion values for textured yarn of polyesters classified under NCM 5402.33.00, elastomeric filament yarn classified under NCM 5402.44.00, and polyester staple fiber classified under NCM 5503.20.10 and 5503.20.90 from 13 countries throughout Asia. If such goods have declared values lower than the modified criterion values, which are purportedly aimed at preventing the under-invoicing of imports, the importer must pay a guarantee equivalent to the difference in duties on the declared value and the criterion value.
Duties on capital goods temporarily modified
As authorized by Mercosur, Argentina recently modified its import duties on a range of capital goods of HS Chapters 84, 85, 86, 87 and 90. As a result, duties on these goods will be set at two percent through June 30.
AD duty order on ceramic insulators
Argentina has issued an antidumping duty order on certain ceramic insulators classified under NCM 8546.20.00 from Brazil, China and Colombia. As a result, imports of these goods will be subject to the following AD duties for the next five years: 70.97 percent (Brazil), 227.74 percent (China) and 21.39 percent (Colombia).
Chilean minister resigns amid corruption allegations
Presidency Minister Jorge Insunza resigned his office after only 28 days after admitting that he owned a consulting company involved in the elaboration of political reports for the mining industry while he presided over the Mining Commission in the Chamber of Deputies. Chilean law does not currently forbid politicians from conducting parallel private activity, though that is expected to change in the short term.
Chile-Thailand FTA expected to enter into force soon
Chilean authorities indicated on June 9 that Chile and Thailand are working to implement their bilateral free trade agreement as soon as possible. The deal, which contains provisions on topics such as market access for goods, rules of origin, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, customs procedures, trade remedies, technical barriers to trade, services and financial services, was approved by the Chilean Chamber of Deputies in early June and is now being considered by the Chilean Senate. This will be Chile’s fifth FTA with a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Modifications to FTAs with Australia and Vietnam approved
Chile recently approved the following modifications to its FTAs with Australia and Vietnam.
- changes to the list of central government entities and the list of other covered entities in the government procurement chapter of the Chile-Australia FTA
- two corrections to the Chile-Vietnam FTA certificate of origin language
Temporary duty reduction on sugar extended
For the month of June Chile will reduce duties on imports of raw sugar and refined sugar in grades 1 through 4 and sub-standard grade classified under HTSCL 1701.12.00, 1701.13.00, 1701.14.00, 1701.91.00, 1701.99.10, 1701.99.20 and 1701.99.90. The deductions are US$29.75 per ton for raw sugar, US$120.65 per ton for refined sugar in grades 1 and 2, and US$66.11 per ton for refined sugar in grades 3 and 4 and sub-standard grade.
Ban on blood products from countries affected by porcine epidemic diarrhea
Chile has banned for a period of six months the importation of pig blood products originating in countries affected by the new variant of the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus. The prohibition will apply to all blood products made after May 23, 2014. Chilean authorities have imposed temporary bans on live swine and pig blood products originating in countries affected by PED at various times over the past year.
New plan to promote economic growth and exports
The Colombian government has unveiled a new plan to promote economic and industrial growth and exports. The plan includes duty-free treatment for capital goods and raw materials not produced in Colombia, a simplification of administrative procedures (including the elimination of certain non-tariff barriers), new financing facilities for businesses, and various institutional adjustments aimed at facilitating trade.
FTA with Costa Rica advances in Colombian congress
Legislation to implement the FTA was approved May 26 by a committee in the House of Representatives. Once it has the backing of the full House the bill will go to the president for approval. Colombia sees the FTA as a way to diversify its exports to Costa Rica, 97 percent of which currently come from the energy sector, while Costa Rica sees it as a key step toward joining the Pacific Alliance.
Preliminary AD determination on ceramic tiles from China
Colombia has decided to proceed to the final phase of its AD investigation of ceramic tiles and paving classified under HTSCO 6907.90.0000 and 6908.90.0000 from China without the imposition of any provisional measures.
IMF assures Peru is on road to economic recovery
Alejandro Santos, the International Monetary Fund’s representative in Lima, said Peru’s economy appears to be on track for recovery and should continue to experience strong growth. Santos praised newly adopted measures that he said will increase investment and make construction more dynamic.
Peru and Honduras sign FTA
Honduras and Peru signed a bilateral FTA May 29 following intense work by the negotiating teams. The negotiations were suspended in 2011 but resumed last year and were recently finalized after the two countries were able to bridge differences in the areas of market access, origin rules and government procurement. A broad range of Peruvian products will benefit from duty-free treatment in Honduras immediately upon entry into force of the agreement.
Peruvian non-traditional agricultural exports on the rise
Exports of non-traditional agricultural products grew by 4.6 percent from January to April, in contrast to a decline in exports of traditional agricultural products. Mangoes are among the leaders of these new sector exports, up more than $30 million over the same period in 2014, followed by fresh asparagus and avocadoes.
AD duty order on Chinese apparel rescinded
Peru has rescinded its AD duty order on certain apparel from China, including certain shirts, socks, trousers, shorts, polo shirts and underwear. Imports of these goods below a certain FOB price had been subject to a specific AD duty ranging from US$0.12 per unit to US$3.73 per unit since December 2013.
Germany to aid Uruguay in developing smart factories
An initiative by the German-Uruguayan Chamber of Commerce aims to bring smart factory technology to Uruguay. The proposal, intended to provide increased efficiency and productivity to the Uruguayan industry, is under review by the executive branch. Manufacturers believe modernizing the production chain will enable them to create more customized products.
Mercosur to present united front at UNECLAC-EU summit
Argentinean and Brazilian ministers said the Latin American bloc would present a united front at a forthcoming summit of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and the European Union, with an eye toward advancing negotiations on a bilateral FTA. These declarations seek to dispel rumors of separate negotiations to be conducted with the EU by Mercosur’s biggest partners, Argentina and Brazil.
Chinese prime minister’s Latin America tour ends
Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang toured Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Chile during the last week of May to strengthen bonds with these countries. Highlights of the visit include a memorandum of understanding on the construction of a railroad connection between Brazil and Peru, which would stretch 4,400 km between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and cost around $10 billion. Other important announcements included the reopening of China’s market for Brazilian meat exporters and the launch of FTA negotiations with Colombia.