The European Union launched a challenge to Argentina's import restrictions 4 days ago at the World Trade Organisation in Geneva. It is first requesting consultations with Argentina in a bid to have these measures lifted.
The restrictive measures which negatively affect the EU's trade and investment include Argentina's import licensing regime and notably the procedures to obtain an import licence as well as the obligation on companies to balance imports with exports. Consultations give the EU and Argentina the opportunity to discuss the matter and to find a satisfactory solution without resorting to litigation. If no solution is found within 60 days, then the EU can request a WTO Panel to be established to rule on the legality of Argentina's actions.
Three measures which run contrary to WTO rules for a transparent, free and fair trading system will be discussed in particular :
▪ Argentina subjects the import of all goods to a pre-registration and pre-approval regime, called the "Declaración Jurada Anticipada de Importación" applied to all imports.
▪ Hundreds of goods also need an import license and are systematically delayed or refused on non-transparent grounds on the basis of these procedures.
▪ Argentina requires importers to balance imports with exports, or to increase the local content of the products they manufacture in Argentina, or not to transfer revenues abroad. In addition, this practice seems to be a condition for obtaining the license allowing imports of their goods.