Argentina - Selling and buying
Reaching the consumers
90% of Argentinian population is concentrated in cities. Distributors are a good solution to penetrate into the market.
New intermediaries have appeared to negotiate with mass distribution, overshadowing the traditional wholesalers.
At the same time, a new type of distributor-wholesaler has developed: traders who, searching the whole world for products with the lowest price, allow the big distributors to set up promotional operations. Carrefour and Norte together represent 30% of market share with 200 stores, Jumbo and Disco 23% with 233 stores and Coto 16% with 102 stores.
Market access procedures
Latin American Integration Association (ALADI) (in Spanish)Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)
The country have signed a trade agreement with 21 other countries in the São Paulo Round of the Global System of Trade Preferences among Developing Countries (GSTP).
Companies that want to exchange local currency into foreign currency must ask of the “Administracion Federal de Ingreso Público”, AFIP (Federal Public Revenue Administration) for authorization.
In order to be imported, some products need a previous approval from the government. Pharmaceuticals, insecticides, medical devices are some examples. Some of these products require sanitarian certificates issued by a competent authority in the country of origin. This condition applies also to agricultural products, livestock and plant products.
Car parts products are under a quota system.
Customs tariffs are applied to goods from outside Mercosur and are between 5% and 14% in most cases.
When companies import industrial tools for their own use, they can be exempted from import tax.
This Customs policy must be treated with precaution, insofar as the countries apply the recommendations of the central institution more or less, according to their economic situation. It should also be noted that re-exporting within Mercosur does not entitle you to an exemption from duties: so if you export a product to Argentina, to sell it on to Brazil, you will pay Argentine duty and then Brazilian duty.
In addition, to avoid companies under-invoicing, the Argentine Customs are entitled to apply a predefined value for the calculation of Customs duty. These reference values are not published, nor are the criteria which enabled them to be defined.
For a certain number of products there is an automatic license procedure "formulario informativo" which officially allows the Argentine Authorities to identify possible problems when they are imported. This license concerns about 600 products of different kinds.
The Argentine Customs (which depend on the Ministry of Finance and the Economy) also have a goods classification system which defines whether they are to be inspected or not when they enter Argentina:
- green procedure: Customs clearance takes place without physical inspection.
- orange procedure: only the documentation is inspected.
- red procedure: goods and documents are inspected (e.g. textiles).
A form declaring quantities and composition must also be provided for the Ministry of Industry 10 days before clearing Customs.
All documents presented to Argentinean authorities have to be in Spanish or be accompanied with a translation from a certified translator.
As a member of Mercosur, Argentina applies the common external tariff (CET) which between around 0 and 20% for most products. Some items in the automobile industry reach up to 35%. Information technology and Capital Goods are temporarily exempt from the CET.
In addition to import tariffs, there some other fees as follows:
-21 or 10.5% VAT on CIF. If the goods are for resale the rate is 10 or 5.5% VAT on CIF.
-0.5% statistics fee on CIF. There are some exceptions.
-3% of anticipated profit tax for retail goods.
-1.5% gross income tax
Some products such as tobacco, soft drinks, alcoholic beverages among others, fall under the domestic tax regime.
In general, the procedures to import goods to Argentina have changed several times in recent years. That is why it is advisable to contact in a local customs broker to start any import process. For more information check the US commercial Service - Argentina.
Organizing goods transport
International goods transport outside Mercosur is dominated by sea transport. The port of Buenos Aires concentrates 60% of port traffic. The port of La Plata is also very important.
A total of 313 million tons of goods are transported per year. 25 million tons transit by rail and 0.15 million tons by air.
The Uruguay and Parana rivers are important ways to connect Buenos Aires with economic areas inside the country, in Brazil and in Paraguay.