Bloomberg News

Argentina Working to Resolve Trade Tensions, Lorenzino Says

March 17, 2012

Argentina is working to resolve trade tensions with countries including Chile and Uruguay, Economy Minister Hernan Lorenzino told reporters in Uruguay.

South America’s second-biggest economy imposed additional import restrictions last month, prompting Chile’s Finance Minister Felipe Larrain to say on March 14 that his country is “concerned’’ that its exports may be affected.

“Always when there’s a very important growth process, there are also some marginal tensions,” Lorenzino said today from Montevideo, where he was attending the Inter-American Development Bank’s annual meeting. “The governments are working to resolve any kind of tension that may occur and that’s what is happening.”

Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner sought to stem a narrowing trade surplus as imports were growing faster than exports. The surplus, fueled by demand for soybean and automobile exports, narrowed in 2011 for a second year, falling to $10.3 billion from $11.6 billion.

Importers have been required since Feb. 1 to make a sworn statement to the national tax agency and obtain approval from the institution before they purchase merchandise to bring into the country.

Nicolas Eyzaguirre, director of the International Monetary Fund’s Western Hemisphere, yesterday called on governments to avoid protectionism as a way to protect their countries from a lowering global demand.

“Protectionism may be the biggest enemy that we have and that’s why we call authorities to avoid those practices because while it could be a solution in the short term, it may turn against us in the long term,” Eyzaguirre told reporters at the IADB meeting.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eliana Raszewski in Buenos Aires at eraszewski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at jgoodman19@bloomberg.net


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