by | Sep 6, 2012 | Trade Policy

WTO complaints against (and from) Argentina are rising. Here’s a scorecard.

Its trade policies have secured for Argentina the dubious title of the most protectionist country in the world.

As reported by the Latin Business Chronicle, and based on Global Trade Alert data from the UK-based Center for Economic Policy Research, Argentina has implemented 191 protectionist measures – more than the rest of the Latin American region combined (170 measures in total). Its nearest country rival is Russia with 172 measures.

We’ve written about the criticism Argentina’s protectionist policies have drawn, starting with the “1:1 trade policy” requiring the country’s importers to match the value of any goods they bring with exports. This policy had car importers doing deals to export wine and biodiesel.

In May, the criticism hardened into formal complaint before the World Trade Organization. The European Union requested consultations with Argentina on its import restrictions – the first step in bringing a dispute to the WTO for resolution.

Starting last month, the formal WTO disputes joined with Argentina multiplied. There are now four consultations initiated by Argentina’s trade partners and three begun by Argentina. Here’s a scorecard:

25 May: WTO DS438 The EU challenges declarations required as a condition for approval of imports, various types of licenses required for imports, and systematic delay in approving or disapproving imports.

Subsequently, Australia, Canada, Guatemala, Japan, Mexico, Turkey, Ukraine and the US asked and were accepted to join the consultations.

17 August: WTO DS443 Argentina requests consultations on EU and Spanish measures affecting the import of biodiesels.

21 August: WTO DS444 The US challenges non-automatic license requirements, the imposition on importers of requirements to make trade-restrictive commitments, and systematic delay in granting or refusing import approvals.

21 August: WTO DS445 Japan challenges the same measures as the US in DS444.

24 August: WTO DS446 Mexico challenges the same measures as the US (DS444) and Japan (DS445) plus a conformity assessment procedure for examining certain imports for their content of lead and other heavy metals: only entities recognized by Argentina may issue conformity certificates.

30 August: WTO DS447 Argentina challenges US prohibitions of imports of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Argentina under US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) rules; the failure to recognized areas of Argentina’s territory as free of foot-and-mouth disease under APHIS policy; and undue delays in recognizing animal health status and granting approval to animal exports.

3 September: WTO DS448 Argentina challenges US measures that have prohibited imports of lemons from the northwestern region of Argentina for the last 11 years.

You can take a “Quick Look” at Argentina’s import-export trade in 2011 (along with its Mercosur partners Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) in our free report  here.

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