“Dollar clamp” in Argentina extended to all outgoing tourists
The Argentine foreign exchange clamp has reached the outgoing tourism industry which to have access to Central bank US dollars for the trip, must now report each ticket or package sale plus the overseas services contracted according to the latest resolution.
In practical terms this means every Argentine travelling outside the country must make a sworn statement before the tax revenue office, AFIP with all the travel and expenditure details overseas.
Resolution 3395 published in the Official Gazette indicates that all interested parties must access the “Foreign Trade Only Electronic Window”, which will receive all the information referred to the tickets purchased, be it by air or sea, plus the tourism and trips expenses contracted with the local tourism operators or agents.
Although the ‘electronic window’ has yet to establish the personal data needed to fill the forms, tourism and travel agents must report details of the tickets, packages and the US dollars requested from the Central bank for the trip. The resolution becomes effective Saturday.
“AFIP has not yet asked for the name of the hotels and how many nights travellers will spend, but we shouldn’t be surprised if this is the next step”, said with some irony industry sources quoted by the media.
The administration of President Cristina Fernandez has been tightening the control over the sale and purchase of foreign currency since a year ago to try and stem the outflow of dollars which are needed to pay for imports and honour foreign debt.
Thus all foreign exchange operations must now be done through the central bank previous approval from the tax revenue office AFIP which looks into the fiscal situation of those involved in any foreign money transaction.
President Cristina Fernandez has called on Argentines to forget about the US dollar and start thinking, trusting and saving in Argentine Pesos. The president has also claimed that Argentina is the country with most dollar bills per capita after the US, in the range of 1.500 dollars.
Cristina Fernandez also denies the existence of a “dollar clamp” blaming the media for the use of the expression. She assured that over 80 billion dollars were used to pay for imports, debt and tourism between January and October this year.
“What clamp on the dollar are you talking about? There is only a democratic clamp enforcing compliance with the law,” she emphasized.
This however in spite of Cristina Fernandez appeals and the dollar clamp has a very clear reason: the recurrent bouts of hyperinflation to which Argentine residents have been exposed with the Peso.
Nevertheless there is a ‘blue’ or ‘black’ market but anybody caught trading in foreign currency outside the official circuit runs the risk of severe fines and even a jail sentence. The official exchange rate closed on Friday at 4.75 Pesos to the US dollar while in the parallel market the greenback was selling at 6.20 Pesos.