The Trade Commissioner of the EU, Karel De Gucht, has stated that the regional bloc will take action against Argentina for expropriating 51 percent of the shares held by Spanish oil company YPF-Repsol.
Gucht added that the EU is “concerned about a growing trend in Latin America,” referring to the Bolivian government’s recent decision to nationalise the electricity company TDE, a subsidiary of Spanish electrical network (REE).
The commissioner has labelled the measures to recover natural and energy resources a “move towards protectionism.”
Argentina has also adopted “other restrictive trade politics on imports,” added the commissioner.
Gucht stated that the EU is preparing a “swift response” on the issue, during a conference in Brussels concerning relations between Europe and Brazil.
According to European representatives, the “protectionist” measures will create problems for “Argentina and Bolivia, who will find it more difficult to secure international investments. But also for the EU, since our companies are directly affected,” said De Gucht.
“Therefore we will move quickly in our response to the Repsol case in Argentina, in particular,” he added.
According to EU sources, the EC will call for a meeting with Argentina before the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in regards to the restrictions that they have imposed on restrictions.
De Gucht argues that the situation “will also present a problem for Brazil,” a country which, he believes, “has a lot to lose from the tendency towards protectionism in the region.”