15-02-2012 16:41 Brazil
Brazil exercises patience over Argentine latest trade restrictions
SAO PAULO, Feb 15 (NNN-MERCOPRESS) - Brazil’s private sector said it would grant Argentina a “confidence vote” and would wait until the end of this month before assessing the consequence of the new import restrictions imposed byPresident Cristina Fernandez's government.
“I’d rather wait until the end of month and see where the Argentine Government goes after this” said Paulo Skaf, president of the powerful Sao Paulo Federation of Industries (FIESP) during a press conference following a meeting with the Argentine ambassador in Brazil, Luis María Kreckler.
Since Feb 1, Argentina demands that all importers sign a sworn statement detailing their intended purchases abroad before they are authorised to do so. The authorisation process, which can also be negative, is believed to take from three to ten days, creating severe delays on imports.
“We will not be talking about delays when this programme has just been implemented. I believe this is a measure put in place for a better coordination of Argentina’s organisations dealing with federal public administration,” Kreckler said.
During the meeting, Skaf and Kreckler discussed the need to restore the balance of trade, which last year left over US$5 billion deficit for Argentina.
“Argentina buying from Brazil is good. However, it is also important that Brazil buys more from Argentina as well,” Skaf said.
Bilateral trade last year was over US$34 billion dollars, making Brazil Argentina’s main partner, sources said.
Latin Mercosur trade bloc partners, Uruguay and Paraguay have also complained about the latest Argentine measures but the administration of President Cristina has promised to address differences.
When Argentina first announced the new imports’ scheme Brazilian Industry and Foreign Trade minister Fernando Pimentel (and a very close ally of President Dilma Rousseff), expressed disappointment saying that Argentina in trade issues “is a permanent problem”.
“Argentina has been a permanent problem. Politically we’re in good terms, but when it comes to the economy, it’s hard to deal with them” said Pimentel.
However from those first reactions things have began to move more smoothly and Pimentel has left discussions with Argentina to one of his female advisors.
However a similar reaction from the Brazilian sector was rapidly toned down when Skaf and other Brazilian industry chiefs met on several occasions with Argentine officials.
Skaf admitted to be surprised at the meticulous organisation of the Argentines and said he would like Brazil to implement a similar system to ensure the domestic market from cheap Asian imports.