The United States demanded on Friday that Argentina immediately end an import licensing regime and other curbs that have frustrated foreign suppliers while also expressing concerns about a sweeping new import restriction that Indonesia has imposed.
The comments came in remarks by a US official at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, copies of which were made available in Washington.
Rachel Bae, a US attaché, took a notably harder line with Argentina, which is already the target of a WTO suit filed by the European Union over steps the administration of President Cristina Fernandez has taken to discourage imports.
Those include an import licensing regime and an obligation on companies to balance imports with exports.
Our hope is that Argentina will acknowledge our concerns and terminate these import-restrictive measures and practices immediately, she said.
In short, our question for Argentina, again today, is: When will the government put an end to the non-transparent and restrictive measures and practices that have been the source of such longstanding irritation and growing frustration to so many of Argentina's fellow WTO Members?
In contrast, Bae began her remarks on Indonesia by stressing the Southeast Asian nation is an important partner of the United States.
But it has introduced a large number of new trade and investment restrictions that threaten to make Indonesia's market impenetrable, Bae said.
In related news WTO General Director Pascal Lamy said the organization will be deciding this year if Argentina must lift some of its import restrictions, which the EU says are not in line with the agency’s rules.
“The WTO will decide if Argentina has complied or not with its obligations established under the WTO rules, as requested by the Europeans,” Lamy said during the UN Rio+20 summit held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.