Argentina complains to Brazil over trade barriers

Ambassador Daniel Scioli asked for non-tariff barriers to be lifted in a bid to reverse the trade deficit

Argentina’s ambassador in Brazil, Daniel Scioli, has filed a complaint with Brazilian authorities for a series of obstacles to Argentine exports that are damaging trade. The main points included non-tariff barriers, the inability to register products, arbitrary fines, and special taxes on services. 

There is progress on the initiatives in the agreement signed by Alberto Fernández and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The Argentine government is aiming to reverse a deficit that is costing the country around US$ 3.5 billion per year.

Despite the political kinship between the presidents, local diplomats have recently raised a series of differences on bilateral trade. Their core argument is the growing Argentine trade deficit, which topped US$ 52 billion in exchange of goods between 2004 and 2022. There was also a US$ 6 billion loss in services between 2015 and 2021.

Faced with this scenario, Scioli has asked authorities at Brazil’s Ministry of Development, Industry and Commerce to remove barriers complicating local shipments. Diplomatic sources confirmed that they have focused on “non-tariff barriers that affect the winemaking production chain and exports of grape must used for non-wine purposes, the difficult customs procedures for wine samples entering the country, the impossibility of registering agrochemicals and the levies on service and digital product exports.”

Other issues they mentioned include the requirement to describe the chemical composition of cosmetic products in Portuguese, difficulties registering medicines – a process which can take more than two years once they enter the system– the non-recognition of locally-conducted tests and Brazilian authorities’ imposition of huge fines for paperwork errors in country of origin certificates on Argentine exports.

Still, Foreign Ministry sources recognize the neighboring country’s willingness for dialogue. They also highlight progress in important initiatives, such as the Brazilian authorities’ approval of the sowing, importing, and marketing of the drought resistant HB4 wheat developed by Bioceres; the provision of energy; and the upcoming inauguration of works to improve the Paso de los Libres Bridge, which will facilitate binational trade infrastructure.

Finally, the Argentine delegation demanded “maximum celerity in order to finish negotiations of two issues that are essential to reversing the bilateral trade imbalance, such as the establishment of financing schemes for Brazilian providers of the Nestor Kirchner Gas Pipeline and financing instruments that help facilitate foreign trade between both countries”.   

Originally published in / Translated by Agustín Mango


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