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Argentina Membership in Free Trade Agreements

Discussions of certification and testing standards for vertical industrial products, import regulations, temporary Entry, tariffs, prohibited and restricted imports to Argentina.

Argentina Membership in Free Trade Agreements

Postby qszheng_forum » Mon Nov 17, 2008 1:39 pm

In July 2006, Argentina granted tariff preferences to imports from Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay within the MERCOSUR framework; and from Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela under various Economic Complementation Agreement countries. For goods not covered by these agreements, the general LAIA regional tariff preference (RTP) mechanism applies.

Under the latter (RTP No. 4), LAIA members (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela) grant a preferential tariff reduction of 20 per cent on imports from other members at the same level of development (the reduction is less for imports from relatively more developed members and larger in the case of relatively less developed countries).

In the LAIA framework, countries are classified into three economic development groups: countries of relatively lower level of economic development (Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay); those of intermediate development (Colombia, Chile, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela); and other member countries (Argentina, Brazil and Mexico). As a more developed member, Argentina grants reductions of 48, 28 and 20 per cent to the other members depending on their level of economic development, and can maintain a list of exceptions containing up to 480 items. Argentina's list actually includes 360 tariff lines in the LAIA Nomenclature (NALADI) of 1984.

The Agreement between MERCOSUR and Bolivia (ECA No. 36) envisaged most products being duty-free as from 2006; in 2005, the margin of preference for these products ranged from 80 to 96 per cent. For goods such as agricultural products, textiles and clothing, machinery and equipment, and automobiles, tariff reductions began in 2005 and are due to reach 100 per cent in 2011 or 2014 (the latter date applies to agricultural products only).

Under the Agreement between MERCOSUR and Chile (ECA No. 35), Argentina grants duty-free entry for all Chilean products except for the "sensitive" and "special sensitive" items listed in Annexes 2 and 3. These include flowers, certain vegetables, chocolate, beer, wood, plastics, chemicals, glass, electrical appliances and toys), which enjoyed preferential margins of 90 and 86 per cent over MFN rates in 2005 and came under 519 headings. Other products, such as meat and other food products, motor vehicles, cement, some chemical substances, books and certain paper articles (Annex 6, 139 headings) will be subject to tariff reductions starting in 2006 and ending in 2011. In the case of sugar, reductions will start in 2007 and conclude in 2012; the reduction in tariffs on wheat, meslin, wheat flour and meslin flour commenced in 1997 and will end in 2014.

The Agreement between MERCOSUR and Peru (ECA No. 58), which entered into force in late 2005, provides for trade liberalization under timetables that vary according to the product. The Agreement covers most of the tariff universe (6,524 tariff items).

The MERCOSUR Agreement with Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela (ECA No. 59) provides for staged and automatic reduction of current tariffs, except on products listed in Annex 1 (for which the reduction will only apply to the tariffs listed in that Annex) and those that are excluded until a new agreement is concluded. Some products will be liberalized immediately, while others will only be fully liberalized in 2018. According to information provided by the authorities, 10 tariff headings, encompassing products such as sugar, ethyl alcohol and propane, are not granted preferences by Argentina under this agreement.

The Agreement between MERCOSUR and Mexico (ECA No. 55), which entered into force in January 2003, is intended to pave the way for the gradual introduction of free trade in the automotive sector by 30 June 2011.

Argentina has been granting preferences to Mexico under the Bilateral Agreement with Mexico (ECA No. 6) covering 2,026 tariff lines. This Agreement has now been incorporated in the MERCOSUR Agreement with Mexico (ECA No. 54), which entered into force in January 2006. The latter foresees negotiations to extend the scope of all bilateral agreements concluded between individual MERCOSUR members and Mexico. The agreement also incorporates ECA No. 55.

Argentina grants preferences on imports from Cuba under bilateral arrangements (ECA No. 45) for 82 tariff headings covering products from HS chapters 03, 04, 05, 09, 12, 16, 17, 18, 20, 22, 24, 25, 26, 30, 33, 47, 48, 49, 56, 63, 72, 74, 75, 76, 79, 85, 90, and 95, with margins of preference varying between 30 and 100 per cent.

Under the Agreement on Cooperation and Trade in Goods in the Cultural, Educational and Scientific Areas (AR No. 7), Argentina grants preferences on imports of cultural, educational and scientific goods from the other signatory countries. The member countries are Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.
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