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Argentina imports’ hurdles create ‘uncertainty’ to EU/Mercosur trade negotiations

Friday, April 8th 2011 - 20:08 UTC
Full article 18 comments
Alfonso Diez Torres, head of the European Union delegation in Buenos Aires Alfonso Diez Torres, head of the European Union delegation in Buenos Aires

Argentina’s hurdles to imports don’t help European Union /Mercosur trade negotiations and generate “uncertainty” warned the EU head of delegation in Argentina Alfonso Diez Torres. He also criticized the “one to one” Argentine policy that forces the local assembly plants to match every import-dollar with export dollars.

“It is the market that must regulate the trade flows” and not government because even when such measures could represent a short term advantage on the long run “they only create structural problems”, said Diez Torres.

“An EU/Mercosur trade agreement would eliminate uncertainty situations created by those measures which, to say the least are questionable or controversial”, added the EU representative.

Argentina last February increased by 50% from 400 to 600, the number of products subject to the non automatic licences system which severely delays or limits trade with the purpose of ensuring a hefty surplus. Argentina is concerned because the surplus has been falling sustainedly from 16.98 billion US dollars in 2009 to 12 billion in 2010 and is forecasted to further slide to 9.8 billion this year.

The government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner argues that the system has enabled to save a million jobs in manufacturing and create another 100.000 from 2008 to 2010.

However most of Argentina’s trade partners have openly or quietly protested the situation. An understanding to monitor the non automatic licences has been reached with Mercosur member countries although it also has its limitations. Two weeks ago the EU, US, Peru, Mexico, Canada, Japan, Turkey and Switzerland filed a complaint before the World Trade Organization, against Argentina precisely because of the non automatic licensing system.

“These measures from Argentina obviously don’t help, but EU/Mercosur negotiations continue and looking ahead we could even think that a future agreement would eliminate such uncertainty situations”, said Diez Torres who added that “turning necessity into a virtue they are an additional element that makes us think that the agreement is really essential for both sides”.

The EU delegate described the recent round of negotiations in Brussels as “productive” since advances were made in eleven different areas from rules of origin and investments to intellectual property, “which are really as, or more important than discussions on market access and dismantling the tariffs system”.

Diez Torres said this could have given the impression that “we are delayed in the talks, but there was no timetable established for presenting the lower tariffs proposals”.

The next round of negotiations is scheduled for May 2/6 in Asuncion, capital of Paraguay that currently holds the Mercosur rotating chair. “We must understand that more important than tariff barriers are the other technical barriers. There’s much work ahead, it’s a difficult negotiation because of all the opportunities at stake, and there’s a close link between difficulties and potential benefits”.

According to Argentine sources, the EU should increase access to its market from 75% (as proposed in 2004) to 90% plus reducing the basket of sensitive items, most of them agriculture and equivalent to 10% of the EU market.

Categories: Economy, Politics, Mercosur.

Top Comments

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  • Pirat-Hunter

    tariff are good, all country have them, my bag gets checked at the airport in Canada and I pay taxes for each item I buy if I go over the minimum quota, I don't see how this is any different, If I have to pay them tariffs or taxes I think it's only fair the capitalists also pay it, besides how else are they going to afford a border patrol and the kind of infrastructure needed to regulate items like the cocain USA and EU consumes. the market takes good care of people's demand and the prices goes very well when there is enough resources, but we are living in a time where resources become an argument for war, occupation, violence, injustice and outright slavery, theft and dependence, politicians must remember to protect this resources to save themselves from persecution, as Chritina pointed out this resources are the jobs we send to other nation to buy back as finish products, we must not allow this theft to continue, even the farmer in the EU know how bad of an idea the EU/Mercosur trade is, last time we had good realtionship with the EU they moved in Malvinas Argentina and they are still there, what are they going to do sell us back Argentina's oil ?? go home we don't need the EU, we risk lossing even more sitting with them pirats, America should be free of corrupt thieves, pirats and racist murderers, I thought EU was busy murdering Muslims, EU go home Latinamerica does not help or shelter terrorits. trade ?? what a joke! demands ? LOL ! I don't even know where this people get the nerves, Dracula would of had a feast with each one of them clown, too bad there is no politicians like Dracula anymore.

    Apr 08th, 2011 - 09:46 pm 0
  • xbarilox

    “He also criticized the “one to one” Argentine policy that forces the local assembly plants to match every import-dollar with export dollars.” oh, Argentina's so evil! I wonder why these guys are in a hurry hmmmm

    Apr 08th, 2011 - 09:47 pm 0
  • Beef

    Pirate-Hunter wannabe, the last time I checked the Falklands were a British territory long before the EU came to exist. If Argentina wants to purchase Falkland Island oil then that is fine. Your money is as good as the next mans, I do not discriminate.

    Looking forward to doing business with you once it starts to flow in the next 3-5 yrs.

    Apr 08th, 2011 - 10:00 pm 0
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