Extracts from the press conference by Karel De Gucht on EU challenges Argentina's import restrictions
Type: Summary of press conference
End production: 25/05/2012 First transmission: 25/05/2012
On 25 May 2012, Karel De Gucht, Member of the EC in charge of Trade, gave in Brussels a press conference during which, he announced that the European Union launched a challenge to Argentina's import restrictions at the World Trade Organisation, in Geneva, on that day.
Under WTO dispute settlement procedures, the EU is first requesting consultations with Argentina in a bid to have these measures - which negatively affect the EU's trade and investment - lifted. The restrictive measures include Argentina's import licensing regime and notably the procedures to obtain an import licence as well as the obligation on companies to balance imports with exports.
This is a first step in the WTO dispute settlement system. If no solution is found within 60 days, then the EU can request a WTO Panel to be established to rule on the legality of Argentina's actions.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Arrival of Karel De Gucht, Member of the EC in charge of Trade, at the press conference on EU challenges Argentina's import restrictions
||Soundbite by Karel De Gucht (in ENGLISH): Just a short time ago, I instructed the European Union's delegation in Geneva to begin proceedings at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against Argentina's import restrictions. Argentina has had restrictive trade measures in place since 2005. Over the past 7 years, the system has impacted on European exports to Argentina across a wide range of products, from cars to household appliances, to laptops and mobile phones. In February this year, Argentina tightened the screws yet again, obliging all foreign companies to go through a complex and bureaucratic registration process on not just some but all products. These restrictive measures by Argentina are illegal under WTO rules. They harm European exports, they hurt our companies and they cost us jobs. Europe and many of its partners see at the WTO that the trade and investment climate in Argentina has steadily become worse over the years. The recent expropriation of Repsol by the Argentinian State is clear proof of that. In my view, this action was simply wrong. It sends a wrong signal to Argentina's global trading partners, to investors and to the business community. It was perhaps the most visible protectionist action by Argentina making headlines across the road but the country's trade policy has become rooted in unfair trade practices.
||Cutaway of the speakers
||Soundbite by Karel De Gucht (in ENGLISH): The first step at the WTO is a consultation process. I strongly urge Argentina to see sense and use this opportunity to sit down with us and find an acceptable solution. Failing that, a WTO panel will rule on the legality of Argentina's trade restrictive measures. Argentina needs to pay fair and that is why today Europe calls on the WTO to act as referee.
||Cutaway of the speakers
||Soundbite by Karel De Gucht (in ENGLISH): The EU as such is not directly involved although it has become exclusively competent for investments since the Lisbon Treaty. The EU has no direct legal relations with Argentina. If we were to act on behalf of Spain for example, Argentineans could tell the EU they have no relationship with them but with Spain. But the European Commission is working very closely with Spain and following what happens in this case.
||Departure of Karel De Gucht