Exporting to Argentina

Argentina is the second largest economy in South America. It's a member of the G20 and the Mercosur trading block. Argentina has vast natural resources in agriculture, mining and energy including renewables. It has the highest English Proficiency Index score in Latin America (2019) and its people have a European style business culture.

Growing market potential

Despite high inflation and a devalued peso increasing the cost of imports, there are large scale investment plans in place for production and export of natural resources (Argentine Investment Agency, 2019). In the year to March 2020, UK goods exports to Argentina increased by 8.5% (ONS, 2019).

UK government support

Argentina and the UK have a long-standing double taxation agreement. Both countries also have an Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement. A dialogue has been held between the two governments annually since 2017, to promote bilateral trade.

British quality is highly respected

Over 100 UK companies have a permanent presence in Argentina. This includes 20 FTSE 100 companies like BT, GSK, HSBC and Unilever, and a range of small and medium sized UK businesses. They and other companies representing British principals report customers are keen to learn of new products and solutions coming from the UK.

Ease of doing business

126th

out of 190 countries (World Bank, 2019)

Currency

Peso

Business languages

Spanish

GDP per capita

$11,658

UK is $41,030 (IMF, 2019)

Economic growth

-2.2%

(IMF, 2019)

Time zone

GMT -3

Opportunities for exporters

There are opportunities for UK companies across a broad range of industries and a “British family” of some 130 UK companies with a permanent presence in Argentina, from which you can find support when entering the market. The Department for International Trade team in Buenos Aires has identified opportunities in the following sectors.

Doing business in Argentina

Preparing to Export

You should be attentive to requests from your representatives in the market, regarding labelling, export documents and packaging. Small deviations from the instructions could result in increased costs and delays.

Establishing good personal relations is important, to ensure continuity in managing the relationship.

VAT

VAT will be 21% on most goods to be paid by the argentine importer at the time of importing.

Import duties

All goods imported from non-MERCOSUR countries attract a common external import tariff that ranges between 0 to 35 percent, with the average rate being 14%. Some goods do not attract a single common rate although MERCOSUR member countries aim to converge towards a common external tariff for these goods.

Further information is available from the The Foreign Trade Information Center (CICE) (website in Spanish)

Regulations

Export documentations are like those for any other country. Deviations could bring additional costs and delays and could even complicate payment as they could be considered discrepancies by the participating financial institutions. As with documentation, labelling and packaging details should be agreed with the importer to avoid delays.

Further information is available from The Foreign Trade Information Center (CICE) (website in Spanish)

Double taxation agreement

If you are exporting a service, you can use the Double Taxation Agreement. If the Argentine company is required to withhold part of a payment to pay local taxes. You can deduct the difference from your tax liabilities in the UK, as you as you originally exported the service.

Local representation

We cannot stress enough the importance of a good agent, distributor, or representative and following their advice to enter the market in a cost-effective way. Local assembly as well as the use of duty-free areas could be a good way into the market.

Trade barriers

Check for any reported barriers to trading with Argentina.

Report any trade barriers that are affecting your business so we can help fix them.

Operating in Argentina

Argentine and International companies are treated equally by law. Despite this, bureaucracy and the variety of taxes and regulations can make it complex. Obtaining professional help is strongly advised especially as this will reduce the risk of long and possibly expensive wrangling later.

Intellectual property

Problems with patents and trademarks can sometimes occur and lead to a lengthy judicial process. For this reason, you are advised to seek local advice and patent inventions and register trademarks in Argentina. Applications can be made through a patent or trademarks agent.

Payment terms

Letters of Credit are expensive in Argentina and local customers may prefer other payment forms such as advance payments. We recommend using them to start any new commercial relationship as well as exploring the possibility of advanced payments on at least part of the goods.

Challenges

Argentina presents challenges for businesses that can include high inflation, high labour costs, currency exchange rate restrictions and instability. There are complex standards, certification, registration, and public procurement issues. You should contact the Department for International Trade (DIT) Argentina for more information and advice.

Next steps

DIT can advise you on doing business abroad, and help put you in touch with other people who can help such as lawyers and distributors.