Argentina — Import Measures: How a Porsche is Worth Peanuts
26 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2016
Date Written: November 2016
The dispute Argentina-Measures Affecting the Importation of Goods concerns a series of measures imposed by Argentine authorities on economic operators as a condition for obtaining import licenses. These measures were introduced with the goal of advancing the Argentine government’s stated policies of re-industrialization, import substitution, and elimination of trade balance deficits. From a legal point of view, the least interesting feature of the dispute was the substantive compatibility of these measures with Article XI:1 GATT as they clearly constituted import restrictions. Identifying and classifying the measures involved, however, proved more challenging: based on vague policy guidelines, devoid of any legal basis, and consisting largely of wholly discretionary ad hoc action by the authorities, clouded in confidential obscurity, the measures escaped familiar categories and distinctions of WTO law. From an economic perspective, although Argentina’s measures appear to have had no impact on its overall imports, they imposed large costs on foreign companies, as well as on Argentine importers and consumers.
Keywords: import restrictions, trade balance.
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