Reports have shown that despite tight controls and restrictions, Argentine import industry has risen sharply over the last decade, but exports have also risen.
A lack of access to international financing since the late 2001 massive debt default and the loss of monetary reserves, led Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s government to adopt measures designed to maintain a favourable balance of trade.
So far, the government has managed to maintain a positive trade balance by restricting imports and the sale of dollars.
Argentina’s trade surplus reached US$5 billion in the first half of the year, according to Argentina’s Chamber of Commerce. But this was 26 percent below the level reached in the first half of 2012.
For some importers, the alternative accepted by the authorities is to compensate imports with exports. That is how growing agreements between producers were reached to, for example, export wine in exchange for importing motorcycle parts.
However, Argentina’s efforts to maintain the balance between exports and imports have drawn complaints from the European Union.
On September 2, the European Commission (the EU executive) issued a report putting Argentina in first place among emerging economies in terms of protectionist policies.
Protests have also come from the United States and from Argentina’s partners in the Mercosur trade bloc, especially Uruguay and Brazil.
Argentina has responded to such complaints with similar protests against barriers to its sales of beef and lemons to the United States and hurdles to its biodiesel exports to the EU.
Argentina’s exports have risen sharply over the last decade, as have imports, despite the regulations. Imports increased from US$13.8 billion in 2003 to US$68.5 billion in 2012.
- Argentina’s Imports Climb Despite State Controls (ipsnews.net)
- Argentine Beef Industry: Beef Production and Exports (steakbuenosaires.net)
- WTO Disputes: It’s All About Argentina (worldtradelaw.typepad.com)
- China invests cash, expertise in Argentine dams, railroad (upi.com)