EU complains about Argentina restrictions

Sat, May 26, 2012, 01:00

The EU has initiated a legal complaint in the World Trade Organisation against Argentina’s import restrictions, a move which escalates tension with the country in the month after it seized oil assets held by Spanish group Repsol.

While Europe wants consultations with Argentina to have the measures lifted, trade commissioner Karel De Gucht said it was clear that the trade and investment climate in the country was getting worse.

“This leaves me no choice but to challenge Argentina’s protectionist import regime and ensure that the rules for free and fair trade are upheld,” he said.

The European complaint said Argentina subjects the import of all goods to a pre-registration and pre-approval regime and added that an import licence is required for hundreds of goods.

“On the basis of these procedures, imports are systematically delayed or refused on non-transparent grounds,” Mr De Gucht said.

Importers must balance imports with exports or increase the local content of the products they make in Argentina or not transfer revenues abroad. The complaint maintains this practice is systematic and not transparent.