U.S. challenges Argentine import restrictions
The U.S. government on Tuesday has requested consultations with the Argentine government under the dispute settlement provisions of the World Trade Organization (WTO) concerning restrictive trade measures applied to all goods imported into Argentina.
These measures include the broad use of “non-transparent” import licensing requirements that have the effect of unfairly restricting U.S. exports. In addition, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said Argentina further disadvantages U.S. exports by requiring importers to agree to export as much as they import or undertake other burdensome commitments in exchange for authorization to import goods.
“Argentina’s protectionist measures adversely affect a broad segment of U.S. industry, which exports billions of dollars in goods each year to Argentina. These exports support jobs and businesses here at home,” said U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, in a statement.
Since 2008, Argentina has expanded the list of products subject to non-automatic import licensing requirements. Import licenses are required for about 600 eight-digit tariff lines in Argentina’s goods schedule. The affected products include, but are not limited to, laptops, home appliances, air conditioners, tractors, machinery and tools, autos and auto parts, plastics, chemicals, tires, toys, footwear, textiles and apparel, luggage, bicycles and paper products.
In February, Argentina adopted an additional licensing requirement that applies to all imports of goods into the country.
In addition, the United States said Argentina has “adopted informal trade balancing requirements and other schemes, whereby companies seeking to obtain authorization to import products must agree to export goods of an equal or greater value, make investments in Argentina, lower prices of imported goods and/or refrain from repatriating profits.”
Consultations are the first step in the WTO dispute settlement process. Under WTO rules, if the matter is not resolved through consultations within 60 days, the United States may request the establishment of a WTO dispute settlement panel.
Japan on Tuesday also requested WTO consultations with Argentina on this matter, while the European Union requested consultations in May.