The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced today on a press release that Argentina will file a report against the United States before the World Trade Organisation (WTO), for “blocking, breaking WTO’s rules, the import of Argentine meats and citruses.”
After the report is filed, a consultation period of 60 days will begin, to give the US the chance to reply to the Argentine claim. If the response is not satisfactory, Argentina will then demand a panel of experts be formed to analyse the US’s protectionist policies.
According to the press release, the US uses foot-and-mouth disease as an excuse to block imports of Argentine beef, despite Patagonia, the region where the beef is produced, being officially free of foot-and-mouth disease.
As well as beef, Argentine lemons have been subject to an import ban by a US judge since 2001. The situation affecting beef and lemons has, according to the Ministry, caused losses of “a few hundred million [US] dollars.”
Argentina has previously complained to the US and the WTO regarding the former’s protectionist policies, but did not receive a satisfactory answer. The government will now “double its efforts in defence of our producers and as a way to denounce the double standard of the most powerful countries within the WTO, which demand from developing countries rules that they themselves do not comply with.”
The governments of the US and Japan have, in turn, filed their own claims before the WTO regarding Argentina’s protectionist measures affecting their products. The European Union had filed a similar claim against Argentina in May.
The measures come shortly after Argentina was named “the most protectionist country in the world” by Global Trade Alert, an initiative co-ordinated by the Centre for Economic Policy Research which monitors policies affecting world trade.