Latin America Trade Bulletin: Import Tariffs, Foreign Investment, Mercosur, Pacific Alliance
This 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.”
“Hilton quota” on beef exports to EU extended
The so-called Hilton quota allows a specific amount of high-quality beef cuts to be imported into the European Union from specified third countries at a special tariff rate. Argentina has agreed to extend the validity of this quota, which applies to high-quality fresh, chilled and frozen beef as well as frozen buffalo, through June 30, 2018.
Tax rates on luxury cars amended
Decree 1243/2015 provides that for the period July 1 through Dec. 31 there will be no tax on sales of luxury cars equal to or less than ARS 225,000. Sales of imported luxury cars valued between ARS 225,000 and 278,000 will be subject to a 30 percent tax rate and sales valued above ARS 278,000 will be taxed at a 50 percent rate. For Argentine-made luxury cars the tax rates will be 10 percent and 30 percent, respectively.
Import duty increases expire
Import duties on several dozen products that had been increased to as much as 45 percent under a 2011 authorization by Mercosur have returned to the rates set forth in the Mercosur Common Tariff after that authorization expired June 30. Affected products include certain milk products, toys and auto parts, among others.
Automotive agreement with Brazil extended one year
Argentina and Brazil have extended their bilateral automotive agreement through June 30, 2016. In force since July 2008, this agreement establishes a 35 percent MFN duty for non-originating light-duty automobiles, trucks, tractor-trucks, omnibuses, trailers, semi-trailers, chassis, bodies and cabins as well as a 14 percent MFN duty for non-originating agricultural tractors, harvesters and certain machinery. In addition, Argentina may import free of duty US$1.50 worth of originating Brazilian motor vehicles and auto parts for every dollar of such products it exports to Brazil. The two sides have committed to negotiate a new automotive agreement by April 30, 2016, and apply that deal from July 1, 2016.
New criterion values for brake accessories, PET in granules, steel valves
Argentina has modified and/or established new reference/criterion values for certain brake accessories from 15 countries, polyethylene terephthalate in granules from 46 countries and stainless steel butterfly valves from 22 countries. If such goods have declared values lower than the 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.
New AD probe on motor vehicle equipment from China
Argentina has initiated an antidumping investigation of Chinese evaporators and condensers of the type used in automobile air conditioning equipment and radiators for automobiles and tractors classified under NCM 8708.91.00 and 8418.99.00. Argentinean Customs will begin requiring certificates of origin for such goods from Sept. 18.
AD duty orders set to expire in coming months
The following AD duty orders are scheduled to expire in the coming months. Parties seeking a sunset review of any of these orders must submit their request at least three months prior to the date of expiration of the order.
- tube and pipe fittings of malleable iron classified under NCM 7307.19.10 and 7307.19.90 from China and Brazil (sunset review must be requested by August)
- traction machinery for elevators and goods lifts classified under NCM 8425.31.10 from China (September)
- solid fumigant pesticides classified under NCM 3808.91.95 (September)
- certain insulation displacement connectors classified under NCM 8536.90.90 from India (October)
- printing inks classified under NCM 3215.11.00, 3215.19.00, 3204.17.00 and 3212.90.90 from Brazil (October)
- certain saw blades classified under NCM 8202.91.00 and 8202.99.90 from Sweden (October)
- air-conditioning equipment classified under NCM 8415.10.11, 8415.10.19 and 8415.90.00 from China (November)
- tape measures classified under NCM 9017.80.10 from China (December)
- certain compressors classified under NCM 8414.80.32 and 8414.30.99 from Brazil (December)
- hypodermic syringes of plastic, disposable, sterile, with or without needles, of a volume ranging from one cubic centimeter to 60 cc, classified under NCM 9018.31.11 and 9018.31.19, from China (December)
New legal framework for foreign investment established
Chile recently approved a new law aimed at facilitating foreign direct investment, attracting foreign investors and channeling investments toward economic sectors with little or no foreign presence. The legislation creates a new agency to promote FDI in Chile as well as a ministerial committee to advise the president on the formulation of investment policies. It ensures access by foreign investors to the formal foreign exchange market as well as the repatriation of capital and profits with the full assurance of the Central Bank of Chile. In addition, the process for foreign investors to take advantage of the sales and services tax exemption on the importation of capital goods has been updated and modernized.
WTO review finds favorable trade environment
The World Trade Organization recently completed a trade policy review analyzing the economic environment, trade and investment regime, and trade policies and practices of Chile. Trade policy reviews contain a wealth of information on a country’s trade regime and import regulations and are a valuable tool for companies wishing to export to or invest in the reviewed country. Among other things, the WTO stated that Chile has continued to intensify its open trade strategy and is currently one of the countries with the most trade agreements and trading partners. Chile also implemented additional trade facilitation measures during the review period.
Temporary duty reductions on wheat and wheat flour extended
Chile’s Ministry of Finance has extended through Aug. 15 and amended the temporary MFN duty rate reductions on certain wheat and wheat flour. Importers of covered wheat may temporarily deduct US$84.40 per ton from the total duty owed on these goods (calculated using the regular six percent duty rate), while the deduction for covered wheat flour is US$131.66 per ton. However, these deductions may in no case be greater than the total amount of duty owed.
Changes to import requirements for barley grains, quarantine provisions for ornamental plants
Chile has modified its phytosanitary requirements for imported barley grains intended for consumption or processing. Specifically, barley grains from Australia, the European Union and Turkey require an additional declaration in the official phytosanitary certificate stating that the grains originate from a region that is free of certain snail species, while grains from the EU and Turkey must also comply with certain fumigation requirements. Barley grains from Argentina, Canada, New Zealand, Peru, Ukraine and Uruguay do not require an additional declaration in their official phytosanitary certificate.
Chile has also modified the post-entry phytosanitary quarantine requirements for certain ornamental plant species.
Agreement seeks to boost agricultural exports to Germany
The Colombian and German trade promotion agencies recently signed an agreement that sets out a series of actions to be carried out through 2017 in an effort to boost Colombian exports of agricultural products to Germany. Products of particular focus will include fresh fruit, processed products, cosmetic ingredients and woods. The agreement provides for training activities on topics such as cost calculations, regulatory requirements, standards, packaging and marketing. [ProColombia]
Trade official discusses export plan with private sector
Colombian Foreign Trade Vice-Minister Mariana Sarasti Montoya and other government officials recently met with about 30 private sector representatives to discuss the strategy of the Colombian government to increase non-mining/energy exports. The government is looking to take advantage of the ten trade agreements that Colombia has signed with 45 countries in an effort to prioritize those sectors and markets that offer the best opportunities for Colombian products, overcome existing bottlenecks and increase trade promotion activities. The government’s goal is to boost non-mining/energy exports to US$30 billion by 2018.
New phytosanitary requirements for certain plants from India
Peru’s Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation has issued new phytosanitary requirements for in vitro Zantedeschia spp. plants from India. Importers must obtain a phytosanitary permit from the National Service for Agricultural Health (SENASA) prior to certification and shipment from the country of origin or provenance. The shipment must also be accompanied by an official phytosanitary certificate issued by the relevant authorities in the country of origin and comply with various other requirements.
New Mercosur origin regime in force
Mercosur has enacted the 77th Additional Protocol to ACE 18, which was signed in December 2010, thus formally modifying its origin regime. The new regime, which has been in force since June 27, 2014, introduces the concept of diagonal origin accumulation by allowing products originating in Bolivia under ACE 36, Peru under ACE 58 and the Andean Community (Colombia and Ecuador) under ACE 59 to be considered as originating from Mercosur. In addition, products in compliance with the Common Tariff Policy can be originating as well. The model certificate of origin and the manufacturer’s affidavit have changed as a result.
Bolivia leads regional growth for third time
Bolivian government projections indicate that the Andean country will be the fastest growing economy in South America for the third straight year, with GDP expected to rise by five percent in 2015 and inflation at a low 1.1 percent for the first half of the year. This growth will apparently allow private and public sector workers to receive a second bonus.
Pacific Alliance members to eliminate 92 percent of tariffs on July 20
The framework agreement for the Pacific Alliance will take effect July 20, when the four current members will eliminate tariffs on 92 percent of trade among themselves. Pacific Alliance members are working to liberalize trade in goods and services , achieve free flow of capital and improve trade facilitation and customs procedures.