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International convention and customs procedures of Argentina

International Conventions
Member of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
Party to the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls For Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies
Party to the International Coffee Agreement
International Economic Cooperation
Argentina is a member of the following international economic organisations: Latin American and the Caribbean Economic System, WTO, Mercosur, IMF, G-15, G-20, G-24, G-77, ICC, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates Argentina click here. International organisation membership of Argentina is also outlined here.
Non Tariff Barriers
Despite its membership in Mercosur, protectionism still remains in effect. Certain products, such as sugar, textiles, steel, cars and car parts, are protected through Customs restrictions, quotas and/or high Customs duties.

Companies that want to exchange local currency into foreign currency must ask the 'Administration Federal de Ingreso Público', AFIP (Federal Public Revenue Administration) for authorisation.

In order to be imported, some products, including pharmaceuticals, insecticides, medical devices, need prior approval from the Government. Products such as agricultural goods, livestock and plants require sanitation certificates issued by a competent authority in the country of origin.

Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
Transactions carried out within Mercosur are free of duty, though there are considerable exceptions. Re-exporting goods within Mercosur does not entitle one to an exemption from customs duties; for example, if a good is exported to Argentina to sell in Brazil, the exporter will pay duties in both countries. Customs tariffs applied to goods outside of Mercosur typically range between 5-14%. Companies that import industrial tools for their own use can be exempted from an import tax. The stringency with which Customs officials adhere to guidelines is reported to vary based on the current economic situation. To avoid companies under-invoicing, Argentine Customs are entitled to apply a predefined value for the calculation of customs duty. These reference values are not published, nor are the evaluatory criteria.

The average Mercosur tariff rates by chapters are as follows:
Chapter 1: Live Animals; Animal Products: 4% ad-valorem;
Chapter 28: Inorganic chemicals; organic or inorganic compounds of precious metals, rare-earth metals, radioactive elements, or isotopes: 2 to 10% ad- valorem;
Chapter 31: Fertilizers: 6 to 10% ad-valorem;
Chapter 38: Miscellaneous chemical products: 8 to 14% ad-valorem;
Chapter 39: Plastics and articles thereof: 2 to 14% ad-valorem;
Chapter 48: Paper and paperboard; articles of paper pulp, paper, or paperboard: 6 to 16% ad-valorem;
Chapter 49: Printed books, newspapers, pictures and other products of the printing industry; manuscripts, typescripts, and plans: 0 to 16% ad-valorem;
Chapter 61: Articles of apparel and clothing accessories, knitted or crocheted: 35% ad-valorem;
Chapter 62: Articles of apparel and clothing accessories, not knitted or crocheted: 35% ad-valorem;
Chapter 70: Glass and glassware: 2 to 18% ad-valorem;
Chapter 94: Furniture; bedding, mattresses, mattress supports, cushions, and similar stuffed furnishings; lamps and lighting fittings, not elsewhere specified or included; illuminated sign illuminated nameplates and the like; prefabricated buildings: 18 to 35% ad-valorem;
Chapter 95: Toys, games, and sports requisites; parts and accessories thereof: 18 to 35% ad-valorem.

Customs Classification
Argentina uses the Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System, generally referred to as the 'Harmonised System,' developed by the World Customs Organisation. The system comprises nearly 5,000 commodity groups, each identified by a six digit code, and is utilised by more than 200 countries.
Import Procedures
Import procedures have changed several times in recent years, so it is advisable to contact a local customs broker before starting any import process. As it stands currently, an importer or exporter must be registered with Argentine Customs in order to carry out international trade transactions. There are certain products with automatic licence procedures (formulario informativo), which officially allow Argentine Customs authorities to identify possible problems when they are imported. This licencing scheme encompasses about 600 products of different kinds.

Argentine Customs, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Economy and Public Finance, has a three-tiered classification system related to goods inspection (Comprehensive Import Monitoring System - SIMI):

  •  Green: customs clearance takes place without physical inspection
  •  Orange: only documentation is inspected
  •  Red: both goods and documents are inspected.

A form declaring quantities and composition of goods must also be provided to the Ministry of Industry ten days before clearing Customs. All documents presented to Argentinean authorities must be in Spanish or be accompanied with a translation from a certified translator.

As a member of Mercosur, Argentina applies the common external tariff (CET), which is between around 0 and 20% for most products. Some automotive goods face a tariff up to 35%. Information technology and capital goods are temporarily exempt from the CET.

In addition to import tariffs, there are other fees, including:

•    VAT of 10.5% or 21% on CIF. If imported goods are for resale, the rate is 5.5% or 10% VAT on CIF. Increased rate of 27% for utilities services.
•    3% statistics charge
•    Anticipated profit tax for retail goods: the rate depends on the activity and the jurisdiction
•    And a 3% to 5% gross income tax (PwC)

Some products such as tobacco, soft drinks, alcoholic beverages among others, fall under the domestic tax regime.

For more information, please visit the website of the Argentine Federal Administration of Public Income.

Importing Samples
The Temporary Admission Regime (TAR) allows samples and advertising materials without commercial value to enter the country duty and tax free, as long as they are useless for sale. Packaging, containers, pallets and goods for transformation for future export are also eligible for entry under this regime. Finished goods must be exported within 360 days from the date of temporary admission (could be extended up to 360 more days, or for a total of 1080 days for specific long-term projects).
For the import, export and re-export of commercial samples, the ATA (Temporary Admission) carnet cannot be used, as Argentina did not sign the agreement.

To go further, check out our service Import controls and Export controls.

For Further Information
Aduana Argentina
Dirección General de Aduanas (DGA)
Ministry of Trade and International Economic Relations

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Latest Update: July 2024