Countries and regions
The EU and the "Mercosur" region that includes Argentina are negotiating an Association Agreement that would include provisions to improve trade. The next round of negotiations is planned for autumn 2012.
In parallel, the EU is also maintaining dynamic bilateral trade relations and dialogue with Mercosur Countries based on the bilateral Cooperation Agreements.
The Framework Trade and Economic Co-operation Agreement between the EU and Argentina entered into force as soon as 1990.
Recently, bilateral relations with Argentina have been marked by growing number of trade irritants and deteriorating investment climate in Argentina. The EU is currently taking international action to challenge Argentina's import licensing rules.
- The EU is Argentina's second export market, after Brazil, China and US. Argentina exports primarily agricultural products and raw materials to the EU.
- The EU exports manufactured goods, such as machinery, transport equipment and chemicals to Argentina.
- The EU is the biggest foreign investor in Argentina, accounting for about half of the foreign direct investments in Argentina. EU investment stocks were worth € 49.5 billion in 2011 and cover important areas such as telecoms, automotive or energy.
EU-Argentina "trade in goods" statistics
|EU imports||EU exports||Balance|
EU-Argentina "trade in services" statistics
|Year||EU imports||EU exports||Balance|
Foreign direct investment
|Year||Inward stocks||Outward stocks||Balance|
EU and Argentina
Argentina's import restrictions
- Include non-automatic licenses, pre-approval requirements and other restrictions.
- Unduly penalise imports, slow down trade, and are issued under non-transparent conditions.
- Affects all products from all destinations.
- All EU exports to Argentina are affected - worth €8.3m in 2011
- Many WTO Members have expressed concern. US, Japan and Mexico are also challenging these measures formally in the WTO.
The EU regards Argentina as an important trading partner: commercial trade and investment has been growing but there are concerns that the trade and investment climate is deteriorating.
The Framework Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement is managed through periodic meetings of the EU-Argentina Joint Commission, including on part on trade matters. Several Joint Committees have met, with the last meeting with Argentina in October 2010.
Nonetheless, EU companies and investors face certain difficulties in doing business with Argentina:
- The European Commission is challenging Argentina's import licensing regime in the WTO.
- The EU has requested the WTO to look at Argentina's countervailing duties on olive oil, wheat gluten and peaches
The EU provides preferential access conditions to its market for imports from developing countries. However, the proposal to change this legislation so that the trade preferences are concentrated on fewer countries is going through the EU's decision making process.
- If this legislation is adopted in its current form, Argentina would no longer benefit from this scheme in 2014.
Argentina in Mercosur
Mercosur is an economic and political agreement between Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. A full customs union, Mercosur's purpose is to promote free trade and the fluid movement of goods, people, and currency.
An EU-Mercosur Association Agreement would greatly remove tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade between the EU and Argentina and the other Mercosur countries.
Trading with Argentina
- Rules and requirements for trading with Argentina
- The EU is present on the ground in Argentina
- Trade relations are part of the EU's overall political and economic relations with Argentina
- Argentina is a member of the World Trade Organisation
- Sustainable impact assessment of the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement Negotiations