Mexico in WTO dispute against "protectionist" Argentina
GENEVA/MEXICO CITY |
GENEVA/MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico has launched its first dispute against Argentina at the World Trade Organization, accusing it of protectionism, a move that follows similar complaints by the European Union, United States and Japan.
The Mexican complaint, announced by the WTO on Monday, centre on Argentina's import licensing rules, which critics say amount to a blanket restriction on imports.
The measures are among several policies adopted by the government of President Cristina Fernandez that have prompted accusations of protectionism against Argentina.
The worsening of trade relations between the two Latin American countries follows Argentina's decision to pull out of a car trade pact two months ago.
"The government of Mexico reiterates its deep worry over the protectionist measures that Argentina is applying, as well as practices that lack transparency and affect trade between our two nations and generate uncertainty," Mexico's Economy Ministry said in a statement.
It said Argentina and Mexico should hold consultations over the next 30 days to try and find a mutually acceptable way out. It could ask the WTO to set up a panel to adjudicate if there is no resolution within 60 days, it said.
Mexico withdrew a zero-tariff agreement with Argentina on autos in July in a tit-for-tat trade dispute after the Argentine government's decision to pull out of an auto trade pact between the two countries.
Mexico also previously criticized the nationalization this year of Argentine energy company YPF (YPFD.BA), saying it would damage chances for future foreign investment in Argentina and hurt Repsol (REP.MC), in which Mexico's state oil monopoly Pemex holds a stake of nearly 10 percent.
Argentina's centre-left government has tightened controls on imports and foreign-exchange purchases in recent months to improve its balance of trade, which is crucial to boosting international reserves used to pay debt.
Mexico's inclusion in the WTO case, which has an unusually large number of complainants, may undermine Argentina's arguments that its critics are all rich nations that are trying to restrain developing countries.
Argentina's WTO ambassador Cecilia Nahón, defending the country's policies against widespread criticism at the WTO, has also asserted that Argentina cannot be accused of restricting imports when its imports grew by 31 percent in 2011.
(Reporting by Tom Miles in Geneva; Editing by Simon Gardner and Bill Trott)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this