February 5, 2013
The U.S. assistant secretary for International Commerce, Francisco Sanchez, yesterday criticized Argentina’s trade policies: he said that they could become a true boomerang for the country. According to Sanchez, the restrictions on imports discourage investment in Argentina and push companies to leave the country.
“I have a great concern for Argentina,” said Sanchez, and explained that in a year “the economy will begin to show signs of deterioration, in part for these policies that they are promoting.”
The United States, Japan and Europe have already filed complaints against Argentina in the World Trade Organization, arguing that the trade policies of the government are protectionist and discriminatory. However, on the eve of the arrival in Washington of the new Argentina ambassador to the White House, Cecilia Nahon, it’s the first time that a U.S. official is warning in public about the impact that these trade measures could come to have on the Argentine economy itself mentioning concretely the reduction of investment and the departure of companies.
Sanchez’s statements took place after the conference given yesterday by the Foundation for Technological Innovation and they come at a low point for relations between the United States and Argentina. The Treasury supported the motion of censure against Argentina in the IMF last Friday and it continues voting against loans for Argentina from the IADB and the World Bank.
In fact, relations between the World Bank and Argentina are totally paralyzed since the CAS, which is to say the loan program of more than US$3 billion that should have been adopted at the end of December, never made it to the board since it is no secret for anyone that the United States and the European countries will block it.
Trade relations with the United States began to deteriorate when, on the one hand, Argentina adopted a system of non-automatic licenses that the White House called protectionist, and on the other when Washington expelled Argentina from the Generalized System of Preferences accusing it of not paying the sentences handed down by ICSID (International Center for the Settlement of Investor Disputes of the World Bank) in favor of two U.S. companies: Azurix and Blueridge.
In response to the U.S. complaint in the WTO, Argentina filed a complaint against the United States before the same entity for impeding the entry of Argentine products into the U.S. market. It also asked the U.S. to recognize Patagonia as a zone free of foot-and-mouth disease.