Local Time: Print

Exporting to Argentina

Argentina now requires non-automatic import licenses for almost 600 product categories.   A February 2011 regulation increased the number of items that require non-automatic import licenses from 400 to 598.

Use the links below to find out more about exporting to Argentina:

What products require non-automatic licenses to enter Argentina since February 2011?

The additional list of products requiring non-automatic import licenses was announced in February 2011 in a complex regulation that may require professional interpretation and guidance for importers of U.S. products in the affected product categories.  The new rule extends the requirement of non-automatic import licenses to the following product categories: auto parts, bicycle tires and tubes, chemicals, plastics, papers and printed materials, household appliances, laptops, luxury automotive vehicles, miscellaneous machinery, mechanical apparatus and parts, miscellaneous manufactured produces, motorcycles, sporting goods, sprayers & harvesters, tractors, textiles, tires, and toys.  Additionally, the following product categories are still subject to non-automatic licenses requirements: apparel, yarns and fabrics, footwear, luggage and handbags, certain household goods, selected machinery and tools, motorcycles, bicycles and bicycle tires, and certain paper items. 


Please refer to the list of affected Harmonized System (HS) numbers to determine if your product faces new non-automatic import license requirements in Argentina. 

What products are exempted from licenses?

Since 1999, the Government of Argentina has been implementing an import license regime, which requires all imports to be covered by either an automatic license or a non-automatic license.  The latter requires the importer to provide additional information to an office within the Argentine Ministry of Economy and Production (MEP) for review and approval prior to the shipment by the exporter. 

The following are exemptions to this regulation (Resolution SICM 150/1999):

  • Import transactions of less than FOB $800
  • Goods imported under the "Postal Regime"
  • Goods imported under the "Sample Regime"
  • Goods imported under the "Automotive Industry Regime" to be included in a production process
  • Goods covered by decree 732/72 "Science, Art, Technical and Human Health" and donations covered by the Article 17 of Law 23.871

What are the differences between the Automatic and Non-Automatic License Requirements?

The Government of Argentina requires the presentation of an import license – automatic or non-automatic – for the purpose of customs clearance.  This requirement was designed to provide Argentine customs officials with a lead-time to identify potential problems (i.e., possible under-invoicing or other unfair trade practices) and to obtain data about sensitive sectors.  

While a subsequent resolution is required for any specific tariff line, most products are subject to automatic licensing (Licencia Automática de Importación - LAPI).  To receive customs clearance, the application form must be registered with the Under Secretariat of Foreign Trade Management at the Secretariat of Industry, Commerce, and Small & Medium-Size Enterprises (SMEs).  As a rule, approval takes 48 hours for both air and maritime shipments. However, for imports of sensitive products subject to monitoring, the procedure may take up to ten days.  If the Under Secretariat does not reply within the specified ten-day timeframe, the importation is considered automatically approved.  This procedure is considered an automatic system of authorization, and it complies with the WTO.  Neither importers nor exporters must pay a fee for this license, which is valid for 60 days from the approval date. 

By contrast, exports from the above-mentioned product categories require a non-automatic license (Licencias de Importación No Automáticas).  Non-automatic licenses require more documentation to be submitted to an office within the Argentine Ministry of Economy and Production (MEP) for review and approval prior to the shipment by the exporter.  Once obtained, this license is valid for 60 days. 

Who could give me more information on this new rule?

For more Information please contact the following:

Ashley Rosen
Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay Desk Officer
Office of South America
International Trade Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce
E-mail: Ashley.Rosen@trade.gov
Tel: (202) 482-6311 

Josette Fiore
Commercial Specialist
U.S. Commercial Service
U.S. Embassy - Buenos Aires
E-mail: Josette.Fiore@trade.gov
Tel: (54-11)5777-4683