The European Union has filed a complaint with the World Trade Organisation against import restrictions imposed by Argentina, adding to Buenos Aires tensions with its trading partners.
The EU’s executive Commission said the case followed measures by Argentina that include an import licensing regime and an obligation on companies to balance imports with exports.
That follows the Argentine government’s controversial seizure of control of the country’s biggest oil firm, YPF, a subsidiary of Spain’s Repsol.
The EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht told euronews there was no direct link to the nationalisation of Repsol’s YPF subsidiary.
He said: “We’ve been investigating this restrictive import regime issue for months. This complicated case is now ready which is why we’ve announced what we’re doing. But of course the re-nationalisation of Repsol is further evidence of a restrictive trade policy and nationalism in Argentina; true, it’s another example, but there’s no direct link.”
After the YPF/Repsol nationalisation, 19 WTO members including the US, Japan, South Korea and Australia, expressed concern about Argentina’s restrictive trade measures.
Argentina said it is only moving to support its economy and reindustrialise the country.
EU exports to Argentina include cars, motorcycles, textiles, toys and footwear, and last year were worth 8.3 billion euros.