Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner promises that ‘there weren't, nor ever will be, barriers’ blocking Brazilian imports’ was received with disbelief by the Brazilian business community.
Rubens Barboza head of the all powerful Sao Paulo Federation of Industries, FIESP, said that restrictions on Brazilian trade have been proved by Brazilian businessmen and furthermore they believe the emphasis will continue.
“This has been Argentina’s policy for the last 3 to 4 years”, said Barboza who added “the information we have indicates that companies making business with Brazil have seen their orders cancelled from Argentina in spite of the non existence of a written order or rule from the government to that effect”.
“Orders have been cancelled and trucks have been delayed at the border”, insisted Barboza speaking for a Buenos Aires station, based of first hand information from Brazilian businesses. “We have evidence that restrictions existed”, he added.
As to Friday’s presidential summit between Mrs. Kirchner and Lula da Silva described as “more than good”, as long as it helps to boost bilateral trade “we’ll believe that”. However there is growing concern “that obstruction measures are too frequently repeated, ignoring the Mercosur founding charter which is targeted to promote trade not to restrict it”.
Nevertheless Barboza said he was tepidly optimistic about the coming ministerial meeting between both countries in two weeks time to solve problems and differences: “Not much can happen and we will continue with specific differences. This has been Argentine policy for the last four years”.
Barboza estimated that cancellation of orders in the last few weeks could be in the range of 25% of normal Argentine purchases, but he did not believe Brazil was in the mood to apply counter measures on Argentine produce.
He admitted that the latest resource from Argentine Domestic Trade minister Guillermo Moreno, was ‘original’ since there was no written paper and it was only a ‘suggestion’.
“Since it was not official, it can’t be proved”, any way in two weeks times we are hopeful a clear, transparent solution could be reached, not only in Argentine trade with Brazil but also with the European Union and United States”, indicated Barboza.
According to Argentina’s Trade Department sources the ‘non-written’ measures were adopted when the government noticed a 45% surge in imports from Brazil while Argentine sales only increased 23%.
Argentina cut off from voluntary money markets since it defaulted in 2002 has been forced to apply a strict “two surplus policy”, budget surplus and trade surplus so as to ensure sufficient foreign currency to meet its international payments.