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Argentina Eliminates Non-Automatic Import License Requirement, Raises Import Tariffs

Monday, January 28, 2013

Effective Jan. 25 Argentina has eliminated the non-automatic import license requirement imposed on all foreign-made goods except bicycles. However, Argentina has also increased to the maximum 35% its import tariffs on 100 products. The conflicting moves suggest that Argentina’s trade policy will continue to be complex and occasionally contradictory.

Under Resolution 11/2013, which reverses more than a decade of increasingly strict policy, the following import certificates are no longer required to import the goods indicated into Argentina as of Jan. 25.

This unexpected step might offer a glimmer of hope in what has been an increasingly tense trade relationship between Argentina and major economies such as the United States, the European Union, Mexico and Japan, which are pursuing World Trade Organization disputes against a number of trade restrictive measures that Buenos Aires has imposed in recent years. Though no official comment has been made, those trading partners will likely welcome the elimination of the non-automatic import licenses while continuing to urge Argentina to take similar steps with respect to other barriers.

In that vein they will likely criticize Resolution 25/2013, which effective Jan. 24 raises to 35% Argentina’s import tariffs on 100 products, including foods such as kiwi fruit, coffee, tuna, tomatoes, mushrooms and pineapple; cosmetics; herbicides and disinfectants; vehicle tires; footwear uppers; jewelry; household articles such us sponges, gloves, light bulbs, lamps and electric hair clippers; household appliances such as coffee makers, washing machines and ovens; cell phones, computers and multifunction printers; tools such as stainless steel adjustable wrenches; industrial equipment such as centrifugal pumps and fans, electric hoists and drilling machines; lawn mowers; motorcycles; sunglasses; electric musical instruments; metal furniture; sporting goods such as balls, roller skates and ice skates; and personal items such as toothbrushes, pens, markers and lighters.

Mercosur member countries voted in 2011 to allow higher duties on goods imported from outside the bloc as a way to protect domestic manufacturers from low-cost foreign goods. The tariff increases will be effective through Dec. 31, 2014.

For further information on these actions or their implications, please contact Leandro Gonzalez in Sandler & Travis Trade Advisory Services’ Buenos Aires office.  

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