Argentina: Amendments to the Imports License Regime of Argentina

Juan Marcos Rougès / Camila Morchón /

On January 9, 2020 the Secretariat of Industry, Knowledge Economy and Foreign Commercial Management issued Resolution No. 1/2020, by means of which it has introduced significant changes to the Import Monitoring System (IMS) and the products falling under Automatic Importation Licenses (AL) and Non Automatic Importation Licenses (NAL).

The most important amendments are the following:

  • Expansion of the tariff codes subject to NAL. Addition of around 300 tariff positions to the scope of products subject to non-automatic import licenses (e.g. motorcycles, home appliances). Therefore, the amount of tariff positions for which it is necessary to request for the aforementioned licenses has increased from 12% to 15% of the total amount of tariff positions included in the Mercosur’s Common Nomenclator.
  • Reduction of the tolerance margin. Reduction of the margin of tolerance to 5% between the FOB unit values or the quantities informed in the non-automatic import license request and the values actually imported.
  • Reduction of validity. Reduction of the validity term of the non-automatic import licenses from 180 to 90 days from the date of their approval. In case of duly substantiated reasons, importers may request an extension, up to 15 days before the expiration date.
  • Procedure of approval. Modification of the procedure to be fulfilled in order to obtain the approval of non-automatic import licenses. Since the effective date of the new regime, importers shall only submit applications for non-automatic import licenses once they have completed all the required information.
    In the former regime, importers could submit the non-automatic import license applications and afterwards, within 10-business days term, provide the specific information about the products.
  • Exemptions. In case of the products listed in Annex XI, Resolution No. 1/2020 sets forth that such items will be exempted from obtaining non-automatic import licenses if, by the effective date of the provision, (i) the product has an automatic import license already submitted; (ii) the goods are already loaded to the mean of transport carrying them to the country; or (iii) the items have already arrived at the country’s customs area.

After a gradual process of import liberalization during the Macri administration, Resolution No. 1/2020 appears to be one of the starting points of a more protectionist turning under President Alberto Fernández.