Argentina appeals against WTO ruling on imports

AFP, Friday 26 Sep 2014

Argentina on Friday appealed against a ruling by the WTO which found that it had broken global trade rules by setting unfair requirements on good exported by partners including United States, the EU and Japan.

Argentina's diplomats at the 160-member World Trade Organization lodged a formal appeal during a session of its disputes settlement body.

Last month, the WTO's trade watchdog arm had found fault with rules set by Buenos Aires and ordered it to fall into line.

Argentina's rivals in the dispute accused it of deploying protectionist trade policies, thereby denting their chances of getting fair access to its market.

In 2013, the WTO had set up a panel of independent trade and legal experts to consider the complaints filed by Washington, Brussels and Tokyo.

In their sights were import licencing rules, which among other things require firms eager to export to the country to import Argentinian goods in exchange.

One of the most well-known examples was German car maker Porsche, which was forced to commit to purchasing Argentinian wine and olive oil in order to get roughly 100 of its cars into the country.

Other contested areas included limiting imports in volume or value, ordering trade partners to make investments in Argentina and to refrain from repatriating profits from Argentina.

The WTO oversees global trade accords in an effort to provide its 160 member economies with a level playing field.

Wrangling over import rules is common at the WTO, whose panels can authorise retaliatory trade measures against a guilty party that fails to fall into line.

In can take years for a WTO disputes settlement process to wrap up, due to appeals, counter-appeals and compliance assessments.

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