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U.S. Department of State 
Argentina Country Commercial Guide 
Office of the Coordinator for Business Affairs 
 
 
 
                       COUNTRY COMMERCIAL GUIDE 
                             ARGENTINA 
                                1996 
 
 
 
 
COUNTRY COMMERCIAL GUIDE - ARGENTINA - 1996 
 
This Country Commercial Guide (CCG) presents a comprehensive look at 
Argentina's commercial environment through economic, political and 
market analyses. 
 
The CCGs were established by recommendation of the Trade Promotion 
Coordinating Committee (TPCC), a multi-agency task force, to consolidate 
various reporting documents prepared for the U.S. business community.  
Country Commercial Guides are prepared annually at U.S. Embassies 
through the combined efforts of several U.S. Government agencies. 
 
 
 
                      Table of Contents 
 
 
I.       Executive Summary  
II.      Economic Trends and Outlook 
III.     Political Environment 
IV.      Marketing U.S. Products and Services 
V.       Leading Sectors for U.S. Exports and Investment 
VI.      Trade Regulations and Standards 
VII.     Investment Climate          
VIII.    Trade and Project Financing 
IX.      Business Travel 
X.       Appendices: 
         A.  Country Data 
         B.  Domestic Economy                             
         C.  Trade 
         D.  Investment Statistics 
         E.  U.S. and Country Contacts 
         F.  Market Research 
         G.  Trade Event Schedule 
 
 
I. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   
 
BACK TO BASICS: THE CONVERTIBILITY PLAN IN A NUTSHELL   
 
Argentina has become a favorite of free-marketers everywhere for the 
ingenious way in which fiscal discipline has been imposed on an economy 
previously thought impervious to such structures.   
 
Minister of Economy, Domingo Cavallo launched the Convertibility Plan in 
April 1991.  The Plan rigidly requires that every Argentine Peso be 
backed by a U.S. Dollar thus forcing fiscal discipline as well as making 
the Peso a hard currency.  The scope of action of the Argentine 
Government in economic matters is thus severely cicumscribed. 
 
Argentines have, therefore, limited their monetary policy options in 
exchange for "stability."  Argentine monetary policy is essentially set 
by the U.S. Federal Reserve Board, and its trade prosperity is, at least 
temporarily, in the hands of the Brazilians, Argentina's principal 
MERCOSUR partner. 
 
 
IS THERE REALLY A POT OF GOLD AT THE END OF THE MERCOSUR RAINBOW? 
 
Argentina entered into a recession in the first quarter of 1995 which 
was made more acute by the mid-year weakness in the Brazilian economy. 
Brazil is Argentina's major export market under the Mercosur agreements 
signed in December of l994, just prior to the Mexican Peso collapse. In 
mid-1995, Brazil announced its intent to impose quotas on the import of 
automotive vehicles and hinted at expanding quotas to other sectors.  
 
Modernization of the Argentine productive and public sectors and the 
consequent flow of investment into Argentina from any number of foreign 
sources, has been extensive.  The Menem Government had also reversed 
generations of statist, isolationist, import substitution-at-any-cost 
policies.  Tariffs had been substantially reduced and price stability 
engendered with the implementation of the Convertability Law in 1991.  
 
The job of modernizing Argentina is still incomplete. Intellectual 
property, labor law, and bankruptcy law reform, among others, are 
overdue. 
 
 
ARGENTINA - WILL CONVERTIBILITY CONTINUE TO YEILD STABILITY? 
 
In May of 1995, Carlos Menem won re-election with a greater plurality 
than anyone but he, himself had predicted.  (In fact he drew a greater 
percentage of the popular vote than his mentor, General Peron ever did.)  
The campaign was run largely on the theme of "Stability."   
 
U.S. exports to Argentina will be flat or slightly down in 1995 and the 
hope for a recovery late in 1995 is now problematic. In a concession to 
Brazil, accession to Mercosur led  to increases in Argentine tariffs on 
a number of principal U.S. exports, especially computer- related 
products and capital goods.  If Mercosur holds, Argentina's exports to 
Brazil will benefit, maintaining short term production levels and hard 
currency inflows.   
 
 
CAN DOMESTIC SAVINGS SUBSTITUTE FOR FOREIGN INVESTMENT? 
 
Privatizations, which had been the hallmark of the early to mid '90s are 
largely complete. The capital flows derived from the purchases and 
initial investment in capital equipment are slowing markedly.   Private 
ownership has its downside for U.S. companies because some enterprises, 
such as the telephone companies, the airlines and the water and sewer 
works, went to European companies which have a natural tendency to buy 
European.  
 
In 1995, foreign capital flows into Argentina declined in the wake of 
the Mexican Peso crisis. Domestic savings will have to take up the slack 
as foreign capital becomes less important.  The privatized pension funds 
are targeted as an important source of domestic savings as they have 
become in Chile. 
   
For the short and intermediate terms, Argentina will continue to rely on 
foreign direct investment. After Mexico, portfolio investment evaporated 
rapidly and substantial Argentine capital also flowed out, "just in 
case."  U.S. Foreign direct investment in Argentina,however, has not 
decelerated even after the Mexican crisis. 
 
 
OPPORTUNITIES ABOUND DESPITE THE WAILING AND GNASHING OF TEETH 
  
Two growth areas that remain to be modernized are healthcare and 
housing.  Neither is particularly a resource problem - the Argentines 
could finance a good health system but waste, fraud and mismanagement 
allow more than half of the payments to leak out of the system.  In the 
housing sector, the problem is cost. Housing is way overpriced by 
international standards, both on the construction side as well as on the 
financing side. A mortgage, (if one can be found) is apt to cost about 
20% p.a. for half the value of the house or apartment and has a term of 
about 7 years.  Another sector which will attract U.S. exports is 
telecommunications, where U.S. companies are making inroads after being 
slow on the draw in early privatizations.   PCS systems should be 
licensed for both Buenos Aires and the Provinces in 1996 and the entry 
of U.S. players in the cable TV industry will bring more competition to 
the telephone sector.  Equipment for these industries should flow into 
Argentina at a high level for years to come. 
 
The large U.S. presence in electric power generating, transportation and 
distribution businesses should also provide U.S. suppliers with a good 
market.   
 
The petroleum industry in Argentina is large and favorably disposed to 
U.S. suppliers.  Argentine natural gas has a very large market in 
southwest Brazil and the transport of gas (and gas-derived electricity) 
to Brazil and Chile will be an enormous undertaking and will open large 
markets to U.S. suppliers of goods and services. 
 
Transportation in Argentina is one of the weak links to be improved 
before this country becomes a first world nation.   
 
As of mid 1995, however, the recession and the consequent decrease in 
tax revenues could catch the Government short.  A hastily put together 
financial package was implemented, principally with the help of the U.S. 
Government and international financial institutions, which was mindful 
of Argentina's support for the U.S. positions in international fora.  
However, when tax revenues fell sharply, bank credit dried-up and talk 
of modifying the Convertbility System in favor of stimulation began to 
be heard for the first time during the Menem Administration. 
 
Another bright side for the Argentine economy at mid-year 1995 was the 
agricultural sector.  After years of Government neglect and low market 
prices, open markets and rising commodity prices joined to begin what 
could become a renewed and flourishing agricultural sector supplying 
value-added food processing plants which churn-out brand name food 
products for Mercosur and other markets.   
 
 
BROTHER CAN YOU SPARE A DIME? 
 
The single most important barrier to a quick improvement in U.S. exports 
to Argentina is the lack of adequate trade financing.  Local banks 
restrict loans. Small business cannot access credit easily. Due to the 
unavailability of financing, a short term Peso loan (30 to 45 days) will 
cost a prime Argentine importer approximately 20 percent or more. Dollar 
denominated loans are available for a longer term (90 to 180 days) and 
the interest rate ranges between 12 and 15 percent. Exim Bank credits 
are availble both locally through principal Argentine banks as well as 
directly from Washington.  
 
  
HE WHO WRITES THE RULES USUALLY WINS 
 
Another area of competetive disadvantage which is being addressed is the 
setting of standards and norms.  In many instances, whether Argentina 
chooses between the U.S. standard or the European marks the difference 
between having a market and being out of the running.  An expert from 
the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology will be detailed 
to the Embassy to work with the Argentine standards institute, INTI, to 
help U.S. companies compete in Argentine markets. 
  
QUOTE: Country Commercial Guides are available on the National Trade 
Data Bank on CD-Rom or through the Internet. Please contact Stat-USA at 
1-800-STAT-USA for more information.  To locate Country Commercial 
Guides via the Internet, please use the following world wide WEB 
address: WWW.STAT-USA.GOV.  CCGs may also be ordered in hard copy or on 
diskette from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) at 1-
800-553-NTIS. UNQUOTE. 
 
 
II. ECONOMIC TRENDS AND OUTLOOK 
 
MAJOR TRENDS AND OUTLOOK 
 
Argentina macroeconomic perspectives in the first half of 1995 were 
mixed.  On one hand, many U.S. and other foreign firms continued 
substantial direct investment and demonstrated continuing interest in 
taking advantage of opportunities in Argentina as part of a Mercosur 
market (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay).  On the other hand, the 
financial crisis in Mexico had unfavorable effects on the Argentine 
economy.  Even before the Mexican crisis, analysts expressed concern 
about Argentina's increased public spending, low tax revenues, weak 
banking system, provincial government finances, and the potential for a 
fiscal deficit in 1995.  The effects of the Mexican financial crisis 
came at a time during which provincial government financial problems 
became more acute.  Unsound economic management in some Argentine 
provinces and resistance to reform are among Argentina's most urgent 
economic problems.  Also, as a result of the strong adjustment required 
by the effect of Mexico and the new IMF extended funds facility 
agreement, Federal Governmemt expenditures must be cut.  Provincial 
governments must therefore rely on less revenue sharing from the Federal 
Government in 1995. 
 
These concerns were compounded by long delays in Congressional approval 
of important reforms:  pension law, labor reform and seriously flawed 
legislation on patent protection.  International portfolio investors 
became cautious about Latin America following volatility in several 
major Latin American financial markets in 1995.  Argentina's access to 
international financial markets became much more uncertain.  Gold and 
foreign exchange reserves in the Central Bank of Argentina declined from 
about $17 billion to about $11 billion between mid-December 1994 and 
May, 1995. 
 
Argentina entered this period with a proven track record in successful 
monetary, fiscal, and trade reforms, as well as in privatizations.  
Based on structural reform and economic stability fostered by the 
Convertibility Plan since 1991, Argentina had become one of the most 
promising and attractive emerging markets.  GDP growth averaged seven 
percent from 1991 to 1994, productivity increased 40 percent during the 
period.  The annual increase in Argentina's consumer price index during 
1994--3.9 percent--was the lowest recorded in 40 years.  
 
 
EFFECTS OF MEXICAN CRISIS ON ARGENTINA'S FINANCIAL SYSTEM 
 
Argentina's heavy reliance on foreign capital and fixed dollar-peso 
exchange rate made the country vulnerable to aftershocks from the crisis 
in Mexico.  However, significant structural reforms in Argentina from 
1989 to 1995 helped Argentina weather the financial storm in early 1995. 
 
Following the devaluation of the Mexican Peso in  December 1994, 
liquidity in Argentina came under pressure.  Some international 
investors lost confidence in Latin America in the beginning of 1995.  
Others postponed investment decisions.  The resulting drop in capital 
inflows affected Argentina's banking sector adversely.  Many investors 
sold securities quickly and withdrew funds from the Argentine banking 
system.  Argentina's financial market indicators, and prices of assets 
in general, declined at near record rates in February and early March, 
1995.  Prices of Argentine bonds plummeted.  On March 8, 1995, the 
Buenos Aires stock exchange leading index dropped to its lowest point 
since 1991, but recovered substantially after anouncements of strong 
adjustment increases supported by the international financial 
institutions.  Total deposits in Argentina's banks dropped from about 
$46 billion in December 1994 to as low as $37.5 billion in early May, 
1995 but have climbed back to about $40 billion as of late June.   
 
 
BANKING SECTOR REORGANIZATION 
 
Reestablishing credit and credibility of the banking system is a top 
economic priority for 1995.  The Argentine Government's reaction to the 
financial aftershocks of Mexico was decisive.  The World Bank and Inter-
American Development Bank moved rapidly to approve loans to support 
Argentina's program to restructure and privatize various insolvent 
provincial banks and to reorganize commercial banking.  Argentina took 
bold steps to restore investor confidence, adopting difficult adjustment 
and austerity measures just a few weeks before national elections. 
 
President Menem and his economic policy team strengthened the 
convertibility exchange regime and tightened fiscal austerity controls 
from January to April.  Value added taxes were raised, import duties 
were raised (some of which have been modified downward since) and 1995 
expenditures were decisively cut.  These measures are aimed at producing 
a budget surplus of $2.0 billion, not counting money from 
privatizations, which the Government projects at an additional $2.4 
billion in 1995.  If consolidation of the financial system proceeds in 
an orderly fashion, as we expect, Argentina's country risk could 
decline, and Argentine bonds will become more attractive in 
international markets. 
 
Over 40 small Argentine financial institutions were liquidated or merged 
with healthier institutions in the first half of 1995.  Various other 
small banks, with only a tiny fraction of total bank deposits, are 
expected to be acquired by larger institutions or liquidated during 
1995.  The Argentine Congress amended the Central Bank charter in April 
to allow for a limited private system of bank deposit guarantees.  It 
took effect April 18, 1995.  Sight deposits, savings accounts and time 
deposits of up to $10,000 are covered by the guarantee.  Coverage is 
increased to $20,000 for time deposits of more than 90 days.  The 
amendments enable the Central Bank to serve as a "lender of last resort" 
to the banking system while respecting the limits established by the 
1991 Convertibility Law.  (In effect, the Central Bank will not lend 
more than 20 percent of reserves.) 
 
The Government established two bank trust funds--one for provincial bank 
privatizations and one for commercial bank liquidity--to provide credit 
needed for reorganization of the financial sector.  The funds will 
support privatization, reorganization and, in some cases, 
regionalization of the provincial banks and will support the creation of 
a more concentrated and efficient banking system. 
 
The World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) made loans to 
the Government to establish the trust funds.  In addition to World Bank 
and IDB assistance, Japan Eximbank provided parallel financing.  The 
funds are capitalized through $2 billion in bonds floated in Argentina 
and in foreign markets.  The loans are backed by shares of YPF, the 
Argentine oil company, in the Federal Government's portfolio. 
 
 
ADDITIONAL REFORM IN THE PROVINCES 
 
In addition to bank reform, the provinces have a long way to go to 
privatize provincially-controlled companies, to eliminate massive red 
tape left over from the corporate state, which hinders new businesses, 
and to consolidate provincial tax systems. 
 
 
DEBT MANAGEMENT 
 
Argentina's public debt maturities are mostly concentrated in the long 
term.  Foreign currency external public debt, about $74 billion in 1995, 
represents about 26 percent of gross domestic product. 
 
Argentine policymakers convinced investors that the Argentine Peso will 
remain at par value with the U.S. dollar and that Argentina would 
service its public debt faithfully.  From its 1995 surplus and proceeds 
from privatization,  the Government intends to finance over $3 billion 
of nearly $9 billion in principal and interest payments due in 1995 on 
public debt.  Net external public debt increased by about $2.5 billion 
in the first half of 1995.  Argentina is scheduled to pay $9.4 billion 
in debt service in 1996, and, subsequently, more than $11 billion 
annually from 1997 to 1999. 
 
As evidence of Argentina's basic political stability, national elections 
were successfully held May 14 in the midst of economic uncertainty.  
Despite the problems in early 1995, the track record of economic 
stabilization since 1991 helped President Menem secure reelection.  
President Menem's party also won a majority in the Argentine Congress.  
The economic team's ability to retain credibility based on the 1991 
Convertibility Plan was of key importance to these political victories. 
 
 
MACROECONOMIC TRENDS 
 
The Argentine Government and the International Monetary Fund agreed to 
continue a three-year Extended Fund Facility (EFF) through March 31, 
1996.  With this facility, Argentina will have borrowed the normal 
maximum of 300 percent of quota.  The facility was established in 1992 
for nearly $3.89 billion, and was increased in 1995 by about $2.4 
billion.  The IMF made $1.64 billion available to Argentina in April 
1995, including about $420 million not disbursed in 1994.  Another $1.2 
billion is being disbursed in three equal, quarterly installments 
through the rest of the year.  The IMF will monitor intensely 
Argentina's finances and economic performance during 1995. 
 
Investment is expected to grow in excess of 3 percent in 1995, but 
consumption will decrease by about three percent, in part due to 
decreased inflow of external capital and higher interest rates.  
Industrial production indices in Argentina also suggest recession.  At 
this writing, a rough sample of estimates indicates a 25 percent chance 
of greater than two percent growth, 50 percent zero to two percent, and 
25 percent chance of negative growth.  Lower consumption, scarce credit, 
and increased competition from new retailers in Argentina have forced 
the retail and services sectors, as well as small and medium sized 
businesses, to adjust.  Unemployment, which has become Argentina's most 
serious immediate economic problem, is increasing considerably above 
12.2 percent announced at the beginning of 1995.  The lack of liquidity 
in international financial markets has limited the Government's ability 
to issue new debt instruments at reasonable cost. 
 
Because domestic consumption dropped considerably in the first part of 
1995, many analysts believe the Government's revenues from taxes and 
duties will fall below projections despite higher tax rates put into 
effect April 1 and measures to broaden the tax base announced February 
27.  This stems from declining consumption and recently increasing tax 
evasion.  If revenues do not peak by July, the Government could be faced 
with a difficult choice of further reducing its expenditures, raising 
taxes again during the second half of 1995, or seeking to modify targets 
in the IMF agreement. 
 
Exports will grow faster than imports, however, and will help moderate 
the slowdown in consumption and investment.  Argentina's trade deficit, 
which reached nearly $6 billion in 1994, fell dramatically in early 1995 
and some analysts believe a surplus will be achieved this year. 
 
 
FOREIGN TRADE 
 
An important development for helping Argentina meet its external 
payments in the first half of 1995 was dramatic improvement in 
Argentina's foreign trade balance.  Argentina's first quarter 1995 
exports were about 40 percent higher than in the first quarter of 1994.  
Exports in 1995 will be about 25 percent higher than in 1994, according 
to many projections.  Sales were bolstered by record harvests of some 
agricultural products, good international prices for livestock, 
oilseeds, cotton, wheat, wool and dairy products, and devaluation of the 
U.S. Dollar to which the Argentine Peso is tied.  Argentina may achieve 
a small trade surplus in 1995 due to growth in exports and little change 
in imports.  This would reverse three consecutive years of deficit, 
which reached a record $5.8 billion in 1994. 
 
Entry into force of the MERCOSUR customs union with Common External 
Tariff (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay) has contributed to dynamic 
growth in exports, along with rapid revaluation of the Brazilian 
currency.  About 85 percent of tariff categories are included in the 
Common External Tariff, and the remaining categories will be phased-in 
by 2006. 
 
Argentina has a complex quota and high tariff system for automobile 
imports.  The Government has announced its intent to eliminate the 
special import regime for automobiles by 1999. 
 
Brazil's announcement in June of its intent to limit auto imports, 
possibly including those from Argentina, reflected MERCOSUR's growing 
pains and its fragile consultation and dispute resolution mechanisms. 
 
In some cases, Argentina raises trade barriers in response to dumping by 
foreign competitors.  Specific duties apply to certain textile products 
and import quotas apply to some paper products. 
 
MERCOSUR partners took around 28 percent of Argentina's exports during 
the first half of 1995.  Strong demand in Brazil, in particular, has 
fostered Argentine export growth since late 1994.  Argentina's exports 
to Brazil are expected to reach at least $4.5 billion in 1995--about 30 
percent above the level in 1994.  According to some estimates, Brazil 
will absorb close to 25 percent of Argentina's exports in 1995 and is 
Argentina's most important single export market.  Stability fostered by 
the Real Plan in Brazil is the most important variable for Argentina's 
foreign trade.  In early 1995, increases in some Brazilian duties on 
imports from non-Mercosur countries gave Argentine goods a strong 
comparative advantage.  Through May, 1995, Argentina's exports grew 45 
percent over the same period in 1994.  This compares with an 18 percent 
growth rate registered for calendar year 1994.  The 45 percent growth 
rate of exports registered in early 1995 is unlikely to be sustained 
through the end of the year, however, because growth includes the 
extraordinarily abundant agricultural harvest.  Uncertainties concerning 
the Brazilian exchange rate could also moderate export growth.   
 
The U.S. trade surplus with Argentina, $2.7 billion in 1994, has been 
driven by capital goods.  This reflects the Argentine government's 
policy of encouraging modernization and improved competitiveness for 
Argentine industry.  As of April 1, 1995, capital goods imports from 
countries outside Mercosur are subject to a ten percent import tariff.  
Government subsidies to exporters were reduced in March.  Collection of 
a three percent statistics tax on most imports from outside MERCOSUR, 
discontinued January 1, was reinstated at the end of March, 1995.  The 
Government also increased tariffs on a range of other products, 
including informatics and telecommunications equipment.  These measures 
were intended to increase Government revenues in the wake of financial 
turbulence.  Imports will decrease, and U.S. merchandise exports to 
Argentina, worth $4.5 billion in 1994, could be hit hard.   
 
On January 25, 1995, the U.S. and Argentina concluded an agreement 
establishing a binational Business Development Council to exchange views 
on key commercial issues.  The first meeting of the business development 
council, co-chaired by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and Argentine 
Minister of Economy, took place in Buenos Aires March 24. A second 
meeting chaired by the same principals, was convened at the Hemispheric 
Trade and Commerce Forum in Denver, CO June 29. 
 
 
FORECAST THROUGH YEAR-END 1995 
 
President Menem's victory in elections May 14, 1995, renewed his mandate 
to continue economic reform through 1999.  Convertibility is expected to 
continue, with the Argentine Peso remaining at par value with the U.S. 
Dollar.  From time to time, rumors occur about a possible devaluation.  
Given the success of convertibility in providing stability for growth, 
the great shifts toward Dollar loans in recent years and growing 
exports, it is hard to make an argument for devaluation.  Banking sector 
reorganization and provincial reforms are key concerns.  Argentina, like 
some other emerging countries, will continue to have only limited access 
to international financial markets.  Scarcity of external financing 
could continue into 1996.   
 
Legislation due to be considered in 1995 to deregulate Argentina's labor 
union-managed health insurance system could have significant impact on 
potential for U.S. investment by removing barriers and red tape to 
freely contracting employees.  Proposals to create new ministries with 
economic and infrastructure portfolios will also be debated in Congress.  
Many observers believe that the current, cohesive organization of a 
single Ministry of Economy has been a key element of successful economic 
reform in Argentina since 1991. 
 
Argentina will rely increasingly on exports, investment, and domestic 
savings, instead of on consumption, as the engines for economic growth.  
Economic activity in 1995 and early 1996 will be lower than in 1994.  
Many businesses will face difficulties, because credit will remain tight 
and local interest rates will remain relatively high.  Bank lending 
capacity will improve as deposits return gradually to the financial 
system. 
 
The Government revised its own estimate for GDP growth in 1995 down to 3 
percent, but most private sector analysts believe 1995 economic growth 
will be close to zero.  The increase in the consumer price index in 1995 
will probably be close to last years four percent, with upward pressures 
from increases in value added tax, import tariffs and food prices, and 
downward pressures from the recessionary environment.  Argentina's 
foreign trade deficit will narrow significantly in 1995 and may wind up 
in surplus.  Argentine businesses which export, including many agri-
businesses, are well positioned with improvements in their productivity 
and world prices.  Many Argentine companies, including small and medium-
sized firms which depend on credit and rely exclusively on the domestic 
market, will suffer the effects of contracting demand and very low 
growth during 1995.  
 
 
 
III.  POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT 
 
THE ARGENTINE POLITICAL SYSTEM 
 
Argentina is a constitutional democracy organized on a federal basis.  
The revised 1994 national constitution provides for a strong executive 
branch, a bicameral legislature and an independent judiciary.  The 
executive traditionally has dominated federal politics.  (Each province 
has its own constitution.)  Many rights are reserved to the provinces 
under the constitution, producing a balance between federal and 
provincial authority which is more akin to that of Canada than to that 
of the United States. 
 
The President is elected to a four-year term and is eligible to run for 
one additional consecutive term of office. Under the new Constitution 
each province, including the Capital, will have three Senators, elected 
by popular vote to six year terms. Deputies are elected for four years, 
in alternate terms, with half standing for reelection every two years.  
The President appoints Cabinet ministers.  The Constitution grants the 
President considerable power, including a line item veto. 
 
The Constitution establishes a separate and independent judiciary.  The 
President appoints the members of the Supreme Court of Justice with the 
Senate's consent.  The Supreme Court has the power, first asserted in 
1854, to declare legislative acts unconstitutional. 
 
On October 30, 1983, after nine years of dictatorship, Argentines voted 
for a president, vice president, and 14,000 other national, provincial 
and local officials in fair, open and honest elections.  Raul Alfonsin, 
the candidate of the Radical Civic Union (UCR), won the presidency with 
52 percent of the vote and began a six-year term of office on December 
10, 1983.  The Alfonsin Government took steps to resolve some of the 
nation's most pressing problems, including accounting for "missing" 
citizens during the era of terrorist groups, establishing civilian 
control over the armed forces and consolidating democratic institutions. 
 
In May 1989, Carlos Saul Menem, the candidate of the Justicialist Party 
(PJ), was elected President with 47 percent of the vote and a clear 
majority in the nation's electoral college.  The PJ and its allies also 
won control of both houses of the new Congress, which took office in 
December, 1990.  A rapidly deteriorating economy and a resultant loss of 
confidence in the national government led Alfonsin to leave office five 
months early, allowing Menem to assume office in July, 1989.  This was 
Argentina's first transfer of power between democratically elected 
leaders in over sixty years.   
 
In 1994, voters elected a constituent assembly to revise the 
Constitution.  The new constitution, approved in August 1994 provides 
for the direct popular election of the President and permits him to run 
for a second term. It also provides for the direct election of the Mayor 
of the Federal Capital and Senators. 
 
In May 1994, President Menem was reelected to a second four year term 
with nearly 50% of the vote. His principal rivals, Jose Bordon of the 
Front for a Country of Solidarity (FREPASO) and Horacio Massaccesi, 
Radical Civic Union (UCR) won 30% and 17% respectively. The PJ won an 
absolute majority in the Chamber of Deputies and retained control of the 
Senate. 
 
 
ARGENTINE POLITICAL PARTIES 
 
General Juan Domingo Peron, President of Argentina from 1946 to 1955, 
founded the Justicialist Party (PJ, known popularly as the Peronist 
Party) in the 1940s.  He built his Peronist movement on a foundation of 
statist and strongly pro-labor polices.  Following its defeat in the 
1983 presidential elections, control of the PJ passed to a reformist 
faction which democratized the party's structure and led it to victory 
in the 1987 congressional elections.  The PJ joined the Christian 
Democratic International in early 1994 and has advocated a political 
opening to the developed world and close ties to the United States and 
Europe. 
 
The Radical Civic Union (UCR), once Argentina's leading opposition 
party, is also the country's oldest party.  Since the turn of the 
century it has traditionally represented middle class interests.  Its 
leader, former President Alfonsin, belongs to a faction of the party 
that leans toward a social democratic philosophy.  The party has moved 
away from the statist and non-aligned policies of Alfonsin's years as 
President and accepts the broad outlines of the Menem Administration's 
social and political reforms.   
 
Since April 1994, a number of left of center politicians joined with 
former Peronists to create FREPASO, whose candidate, Jose Bordon 
defeated the UCR candidate for second place. FREPASO also increased its 
representation in the Chamber of Deputies to 29 members. 
 
In addition to the PJ, the UCR and FREPASO, Argentina has a large number 
of smaller regional parties and parties on the right and left of the 
centrist UCR and PJ.  In aggregate, they can play an influential role in 
the national Congress and often control provincial governments.  Most 
regional parties accept the general policy direction of the Menem 
Administration, but tend to seek both greater financial support and less 
interference in provincial affairs from the central government.   
 
The Menem Administration has pursued wide-ranging economic reforms 
designed to open the Argentine economy and enhance its international 
competitiveness.  Privatization, deregulation, the lowering of import 
barriers and a fixed exchange rate have been cornerstones of this 
effort.  All these changes have dramatically reduced the role of the 
Argentine state in regulating the domestic market.   
 
 
NATURE OF THE BILATERAL RELATIONSHIP WITH THE UNITED STATES 
 
The United States and Argentina enjoy a warm and close bilateral 
relationship.  It is so close and multifaceted that Vice President Gore 
once referred to it as a virtual "alliance."  The efforts of the Menem 
Administration to open Argentina's economy and to realign its foreign 
policy have contributed to the improvement in these relations.  The 
interests of Argentina and the United States have coincided in an 
increasing number of issues.  For example, Argentina voted in agreement 
with the United States on 80 percent of "important votes" in the United 
Nations in 1992, has backed many U.S.-supported candidates for high 
offices within international organizations and took the lead in securing 
approval of the OAS' 1991 Santiago Declaration on the Defense of 
Democracy.  Argentina has also participated in many multilateral force 
deployments mandated by the United Nations Security Council. 
 
Argentina's policies on science and technology have also changed 
dramatically.  In 1992 it signed a Bilateral Nuclear Cooperation Treaty 
and ratified the Treaty of Tlatelolco.  Argentina also dismantled its 
Condor missile system.  Argentina has also cooperated with the United 
States on the preservation of the environment and in combatting 
narcotics trafficking. 
 
Even as the political relationship improved, the economic relationship 
has flourished.  Our bilateral trade has grown to such an extent that 
today the United States is Argentina's leading source of imports and 
rivals Brazil as Argentina's largest overall trading partner.  These 
changes have been very important to the United States: in 1994, we 
enjoyed a bilateral trade surplus of $3 billion.  The United States is 
also the preeminent source of capital, in the form of foreign direct 
investment, portfolio investment and loans.  U.S. firms have won many of 
the tenders in Argentina's far-reaching privatization program. 
 
Given the breadth and diversity of our relationship, relatively few 
unresolved economic disputes exist between the two governments.  Yet, 
the quick resolution of the those that do exist are very important to 
the further flowering of the bilateral relationship.  One is the need to 
ensure adequate protection of intellectual property rights within 
Argentina by law.  Lack of modern patent product protection for 
pharmaceuticals has cost U.S. firms hundreds of millions of dollars in 
lost revenues.  Another is our request for Argentina to authorize more 
frequencies for U.S. air carriers to accommodate record-breaking 
passenger loads between the two countries.  On the Argentine side, local 
producers seek improved access to our markets for their agricultural and 
other products.   
 
 
MAJOR POLITICAL ISSUES AFFECTING THE BUSINESS CLIMATE 
 
The Menem Administration has strongly encouraged private initiative 
through its privatization of state firms, deregulation of the economy 
and encouragement of foreign direct investment, which it sees as a 
necessity to the country's continued growth.  Foreign investors are 
welcome in virtually every economic sector.  The highly favorable 
investment climate notwithstanding, businesses continue to face 
occasional inconsistencies associated with Governmental actions.  A 
variety of cases exist in which U.S. companies which have invested in or 
traded with Argentina have been unfairly affected by what they consider 
to be the Federal Government's arbitrary and capricious enforcement of 
laws.  Some cases endure from the old days of statist intervention by 
military juntas; others have occurred in the present environment, in 
which companies are buffeted by the sheer profusion of change.  Although 
much has been achieved in such areas as deregulation and market opening, 
the Government has been less successful in guaranteeing juridical 
security ("seguridad juridica," or the rule of law).  The Government 
itself recognizes that the administration of justice could be improved 
as well, to speed up court cases; the U.S. Government is providing 
assistance to promote the change. 
 
Social stability is also a potential issue of the future.  Despite the 
outward measures of success -- a rate of economic growth second only to 
China's in the last three years -- problems have cropped up in the 
model, such as a record high serious unemployment rate, regional 
disparities in economic development, and the lack of adequate social 
services.  All of these issues could erode popular support for the 
program and force the Government to slow the pace of change or even roll 
back some reforms.  On the other hand, the public's memory of decades of 
increasing economic chaos -- which culminated in the hyperinflationary 
episodes of 1989-90 -- is still very fresh and was the key factor to 
Menem's reelection. 
 
 
 
IV. MARKETING U.S. PRODUCTS AND SERVICES 
 
DISTRIBUTION AND SALES CHANNELS 
 
The normal sales process used by U.S. companies is the agent/ 
distributor. 
 
Principal-agent relations are basically governed by the Civil and 
Commercial Codes. No special legislation has been enacted to regulate 
the termination of agency agreements. 
 
When the representative is a natural person the agency may be regulated 
by Law 11,544 of 1929, as amended. In particular, Law 14,546 of 1958 
extends Labor Law benefits to business agents. The parties may not elect 
foreign laws to govern the agreement. If a contract is executed abroad 
to avoid Argentine law, it will not be enforced by Argentine courts. 
 
The Civil and Commercial Codes permit a principal to terminate an agency 
agreement at his/her discretion. However, the terminating party may be 
liable for damages resulting from a wrongful termination. All 
agreements, whether for a definite or undefined term should include a 
notice of termination clause. 
 
Labor laws similarly require the service of a termination notice some 
time prior to the actual termination date; otherwise, the principal may 
be liable to the employee for earnings that would be accrued during the 
notification period. In all termination cases, except for those based on 
a just cause, the agent is entitled to one month's compensation for each 
year of service, payable in a lump sum. 
 
 
FRANCHISING 
 
The franchise contracts are protected under the Argentine Commercial 
Code. The service, commercial trade market/name, know-how, and shared 
production elements are covered by contractual obligations on both 
franchisor and franchisee. Elements of the contract include the license, 
methods/systems or know-how transferred to franchisee, the supply of 
needed inputs, methods of sales, and quality standards, and ultimate 
control by franchisor of the contract elements. Franchises have been 
successfully used in Argentina, but obligations of the franchisor must 
be clearly delineated in the contract to avoid legal obligations 
associated with the operator, in case of default, bankruptcy, etc. 
Argentine law is somewhat unclear about franchisor obligations in case 
of bankruptcy or other commercial failings. Legal advice should be 
sought prior to contract signing. 
 
 
LICENSING ARRANGEMENTS 
 
Transfers of know-how from a foreign individual or company to an 
Argentine individual or company and transfers of patents or trademarks 
are governed by Law 22,426. This law establishes two categories of 
transactions: those between related companies and those with third 
parties.  
 
Transfers of know-how between related companies are subject to prior 
Government approval. Lack of approval does not invalidate these 
contracts, but any payments made on the contracts will not be allowable 
for tax purposes and will be subject to the 27% withholding tax. 
 
Transfers of know-how between non-related companies are required to be 
registered only for information purposes. 
 
"Joint Ventures" 
Argentine legislation permits the establishment of joint ventures. A 
contract must be signed and registered with the Commercial Registry. The 
contract must contain a number of specific clauses and must also provide 
for the appointment of a legal representative in charge of management. 
 
 
STEPS TO ESTABLISHING AN OFFICE 
 
Foreign companies may carry out any single transaction. To carry on a 
habitual activity, a foreign company must establish a branch (sucursal) 
in Argentina. An individual must be appointed as the company's legal 
representative. It is not necessary to assign capital to the branch. 
 
Structures Commonly Used by Foreign Investors 
 
Regardless of whether they are associated with local investors, foreign 
investors may do business in Argentina as individuals or through 
corporations, branches of foreign corporations, limited liability 
companies, limited partnerships, general partnerships and joint 
ventures. 
 
Foreign corporations often operate in Argentina through a separately 
incorporated subsidiary rather than through a branch, primarily to 
minimize their potential liability. If a branch is used, all of the 
foreign corporation's assets, not only its Argentine assets, may be 
subject to potential liability. In contrast, if an Argentine or foreign 
subsidiary is used, the foreign corporation's liability would generally 
be limited to the assets owned by that subsidiary. 
 
 
STEPS TO ESTABLISHING AN OFFICE 
 
Registration Procedures: 
 
Corporations are regulated by a law effective throughout Argentina. 
Corporations are set-up with the approval of at least two legal or 
natural persons, whether Argentine or foreign.  A corporation may not be 
a partner in a partnership. A corporation can usually be established 
within three to four weeks if capital is supplied only in cash. If 
supplied in kind, the corporation can be established within 
approximately two months. 
 
The estimated total incorporation cost ranges from US$ 1,000 to US$ 
2,000, including statutory books and excluding both professional fees 
and stamp tax (1% of capital). 
 
A minimum of two founders, whether legal or natural persons, is 
required. There is no maximum limit on the number of founders. The 
founders of a company must report a domicile in Argentina for the 
purpose of related proceedings. 
 
A minimum of two shareholders is required. No maximum is prescribed. 
 
The minimum initial capital is US$ 12,000, except for those corporations 
engaged in banking, insurance or related activities. If the capital is 
supplied in cash, at least 25% must be paid in at incorporation, with 
the remainder payable in two years; if in kind, it must be fully paid in 
at incorporation. 
 
U.S. firms considering establishing in Argentina are encouraged to 
investigate the tax and legal aspects of establishment with legal 
counsel prior to making any final decisions. There are a number of good 
law firms in Argentina to assist a U.S. company; most have English-
speaking lawyers and tax consultants. The following are a representative 
list, but by no means is this list complete nor is it a recommendation 
as to their quality and reputation. 
 
 
BRONS & SALAS 
Marcelo T. de Alvear 624, Piso 1 
1058 Buenos Aires, Argentina 
Tel: (54-1) 311-9271/79 
Fax: (54-1) 311-7025 
Dr. Thomas Boywitt, Partner 
 
ESTUDIO ABELEDO GOTTHEIL 
Maipu 757 
1006 Buenos Aires, Argentina 
Tel: (54-1) 322-4848, 322-4869 
Fax: (54-1) 322-4848 
Dr. Julio Gottheil, Partner 
 
ESTUDIO ALLENDE BREA 
Maipu 1300, Piso 10 
1006 Buenos Aires, Argentina 
Tel: (54-1) 313-9191, 313-9292 
Fax: (54-1) 312-5288, 313-9010 
Dr. Teodosio Brea, Partner 
 
ESTUDIO MARVAL & O'FARRELL 
Carlos Pellegrini 885/887 
1338 Buenos Aires, Argentina 
Tel: (54-1) 322-8336/8266 
Fax: (54-1) 322-4122 
Dr. Alfredo O'Farrell, Partner 
 
BAKER & MCKENZIE 
Av. Leandro N. Alem 1110 
1001 Buenos Aires 
Tel: 311-5412/5427/6845 
Dr. Horacio Soares 
 
 
FOOD/HEALTH/SAFETY REGULATIONS 
 
Sanitary certificates, issued by a competent authority in the exporting 
country, must accompany all shipments of livestock; plants, bulbs, 
cuttings, rhizomes, roots, and tubers for propagation; and (unless 
accompanied by Certificates for Industrial Use Only signed by a State or 
Federal Inspector and issued a visa by an Argentine Consul) for grains 
and plant products, such as barley and peanuts; and for all seed, except 
coffee and cocoa for immediate roasting without hulls.  The U.S. Food 
and Drug Administration (FDA) and other recognized U.S. Government 
certification standards are usually acceptable to the Argentine 
authorities. 
 
More information on inspection procedures may be obtained from the 
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), U.S. Department of 
Agriculture, Hyattsville, MD 20782.  Tel: (301) 436-8590 (Veterinary 
Services) and (301) 436-8537 (Plant Protection and Quarantine). APHIS 
inspects and certifies that live plants, plant products, and live 
animals conform with health and sanitation requirements for export as 
prescribed by the country destination. Also, contact the Food and Drug 
Administration, International Affairs Office, at (301)443-4480, Fax: 
(301) 443-0235. 
 
MARKING AND LABELING OF RETAIL PACKAGES 
 
The Argentine regulations governing the marking of the country of origin 
on domestic and imported products are based on law 11.275 of November 
10, 1923, known as the Merchandise Marking Act, as amended and regulated 
by numerous subsequent decrees and special rulings, and as changed 
radically in 1937, when it was determined that imported goods should be 
inspected for country-of-origin marking while being cleared through 
customs. 
 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will review processed food product 
labels and ingredients to determine if they meet local requirements of 
the foreign country. Exporters should call or write: Export Products 
Review Program, Dept. of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service, 
14th. and Independence Ave., Room 4951-S, Washington, D.C. 20250-1000, 
Tel: (202)720-1301. 
 
SAMPLES AND ADVERTISING MATTER 
 
Samples brought into the Argentine Republic by the traveling 
representative are admitted free of duty, if they have no commercial 
value. If the samples have value, bond may be given for the amount of 
the duty which would be payable on such merchandise. Such bonds are for 
a period of ninety days. Upon re-exportation of dutiable samples covered 
by bond, the amount paid is refunded. The handling of samples under bond 
should be entrusted to a customshouse broker. 
 
Samples sent by parcel post or in other ways are treated the same as any 
other commercial shipment and have the same documentary requirements. 
Advertising matter is subject to duty when imported to Argentina. 
 
The services of customs brokers are generally not necessary to clear 
shipments of samples, with or without value. This also applies to 
advertising matter received by parcel post from abroad and not requiring 
foreign exchange. However, Argentine Customs may charge storage fees. 
 
ADVERTISING AND TRADE PROMOTION 
 
Argentina has a number of advertising agencies and many management 
consultants, but only the largest firms offer complete services. The 
leading agencies are members of the Asociacion Argentina de Agencias de 
Publicidad (Argentine Association of Publicity Agencies). Many of the 
major U.S. advertising agencies have branches or affiliates among the 
leading agencies. 
 
Advertising in the print media is the most widely used method, although 
television and radio advertising are highly effective and most generally 
aimed at the Buenos Aires market. Many daily newspapers are published in 
greater Buenos Aires, including Clarin, La Nacion and Ambito Financiero. 
The public and private sectors operate radio and television stations. 
There are over 469 T.V. stations (with various levels of power output) 
now broadcasting in the provinces; 163 AM stations and 10 shortwave 
stations. In addition, 200 cable companies are operating throughout the 
country. 
 
Major Daily Newspapers: 
 
CLARIN 
Tacuari 1842 
1139 Capital Federal 
Tel: (54-1)307-0330/0340/0350 
Fax: (54-1)307-0311 
 
LA NACION       
Bouchard 557 
1106 Capital Federal 
Argentina 
Tel: (54-1)313-1003/1453 
Fax: (54-1)313-1277 
 
AMBITO FINANCIERO 
Pje. Carabelas 241 
1009 Capital Federal 
Argentina 
Tel: (54-1)331-5528/9/5561/63 
Fax: (54-1)331-1404 
 
EL CRONISTA 
Honduras 5665 
1414 Capital Federal 
Argentina 
Tel. & Fax: (54-1) 777-1717 
Fax: 775-0531/774-1016 
 
PROTECTING YOUR PRODUCTS FROM IPR INFRINGEMENT 
 
Argentina officially adheres to most treaties and international  
agreements on intellectual property protection and belongs to the World 
Intellectual Property Organization. However, The U.S. Trade 
Representative (USTR) placed Argentina on its "priority watch list" in 
1993 because of the lack of patent protection for pharmaceuticals. 
 
*Patents: Argentina's patent law, enacted in 1864, is the weakest 
component of the country's IPR regime. It specifically excludes 
pharmaceutical "compositions" from patent protection, costing U.S. drug 
firms hundreds of millions of dollars a year in sales lost to "pirates." 
Furthermore, the law contains stringent working requirements and allows 
a maximum patent term of only 15 years. The Menem Administration 
submitted a new draft patent law to Congress in 1991. Patent legislation 
which passed the Argentine Congress over a Presidential veto in May, 
1995 is seriously flawed and conflicts with some GATT provisions.  The 
Executive Branch vetoed 16 provisions of this law but the Congress 
overrode 10.  The Executive is negotiating possible corrective 
legislation with the Congress.  The controversial law which Congress 
approved had not been promulgated as of early June, 1995.  
 
Under Argentine law, patents of invention may be granted for a term of 
5, 10 or 15 years by the Patent Office, according to merit of the 
invention and the wish of the applicant. Foreign patents may be ratified 
for a maximum of 10 years, but not to exceed the term of the original 
foreign patent registered by the Patent Office.  
 
*Copyrights: Argentina's present copyright law is adequate by 
international standards. Recent amendments provided protection to 
computer software and extended the term of protection for motion 
pictures from 30 to 50 years. As in many countries, however, copyright 
piracy has become a serious problem for U.S. industries. Losses to 
American companies are estimated to be $200 million per year. Important 
efforts are underway to combat piracy, including arrests, seizure of 
pirated material, and introduction of security stickers for cassettes. 
 
*Trademarks: Trademark laws and regulations in Argentina are generally 
good. The key problem is a slow registration process. The Government has 
moved to rectify this, and the situation has improved recently. An 
action for cancellation may be brought on the grounds of 5 year non-use. 
Only an act of force majeure will excuse non-use. 
 
 
MARKET RESEARCH 
 
The number of market research firms in Argentina is growing. Many 
international accounting and management firms, including U.S. companies, 
have branches and affiliates in Argentina. These firms provide complete 
business services including tax work, and many will undertake market 
research projects as well. 
 
 
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: METRIC SYSTEM 
 
Regulations based on Law 11,275 of November 10, 1923, require metric 
labeling for packaged products. 
 
 
ELECTRIC CURRENT 
A.C. 50 cycle, 220 volts, one phase; 380 volts, 50 cycles, three phase. 
 
 
GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT 
 
There is no requirement for Government sourcing with Argentine 
companies. The "Buy Argentina" program was suspended through decree law 
1224/89 of November 9, 1989. This was replaced by a 10 percent 
preference for domestic goods and services. The "Buy Argentina" program 
preference system was permanently eliminated in October, 1991. 
 
 
 
V. LEADING SECTORS FOR U.S. EXPORTS AND INVESTMENT 
 
BEST PROSPECTS 
 
1.  TRAVEL AND TOURISM SERVICES (TRA)  
2.  ELECTRIC POWER GENERATION AND TRANSMISSION EQUIPMENT (ELP) 
3.  TELECOMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT (TEL) 
4.  OIL AND GAS FIELD MACHINERY (OGM) 
5.  COMPUTERS AND PERIPHERALS (CPT) 
6.  MEDICAL EQUIPMENT (MED) 
7.  COMPUTER SOFTWARE (CSF) 
8.  AIRPORT AND GROUND SUPPORT EQUIPMENT (APG) 
9.  FRANCHISING SERVICES (FRA) 
10. POLLUTION CONTROL EQUIPMENT (POL) 
11. PLASTICS PROCESSING MACHINERY (PME) 
12. WATER TREATMENT EQUIPMENT (WRE) 
13. AUTO PARTS AND SERVICE EQUIPMENT (APS) 
14. FOOD PROCESSING & PACKAGING EQUIPMENT (FPP) 
15. AIRCRAFT PARTS AND ACCESSORIES (AIR) 
16. CONSTRUCTION AND BUILDING MATERIALS (BLD) 
17. AGRICULTURAL MACHINERY AND EQUIPMENT (AGM) 
18. SPORTING GOODS (SPT) 
19. LABORATORY AND SCIENTIFIC EQUIPMENT (LAB) 
20. APPAREL (APP) 
 
 
B. DATA ON BEST PROSPECTS FOR AGRICULTURAL AND INDUSTRY SECTOR EXPORTS 
 
AGRICULTURAL SECTOR EXPORTS 
 
BEST PROSPECTS FOR U.S. EXPORTERS TO ARGENTINA 
(US$ millions, unless otherwise noted) 
 
 
AGRICULTURAL SECTOR EXPORTS: 
 
A. Rank: 1 
B. Name of Sector: Planting seeds 
C. ITA or PS&D Code: 24SR 
 
                                 1994      1995      1996 
 
D. Total market size:             439       445       450 
E. Total local production:        407       410       413 
F. Total exports:                20.0      21.0      22.0 
G. Total imports:                49.6      53.0      55.0 
H. Total imports from U.S.       20.0      21.0      21.6 
I. Exchange rate: 1 $US= 1$  
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
Comments: 
 
Areas unsown for some years due to the instability of economic 
policy, coupled with inflation, etc. are now in the process of 
entering into production.  One half of this area is believed to 
be sown as pastures, hence the prospects for the forage seed 
business now and in the future can be duplicated. However, no 
more than a one(1) percent increase in vegetable seeds is 
expected. Areas sown with all other seeds are increasing. For 
forage seeds, Australia will be the principal near-term 
competitor. All of this is predicated on the assumption that 
the present economic policy continues and no devaluation occurs. 
 
 
 
BEST PROSPECTS FOR U.S. EXPORTERS TO ARGENTINA 
     (US$ millions, unless otherwise noted) 
 
AGRICULTURAL SECTOR EXPORTS: 
 
A. Rank: 2 
B. Name of Sector: Cotton 
C. ITA or PS&D Code: NA 
 
                                 1994        1995        1996  
 
D. Total market size              210         200         180 
E. Total local production         600         680         660 
F. Total Exports                  176         400         500 
G. Total imports                    8          32          30 
H. Total imports from U.S.        0.2          18          15 
I. Exchange rate   1 $US= 1$    
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
Comments: 
 
U.S. cotton exporters should have a good opportunity to export a 
large portion of the expected Argentine cotton import 
requirements this year.  The main reason for such import needs is 
financing which local mills are expected to obtain from 
exporters.  While spinners have to pay cash for local cotton, 
imported fiber usually is financed at 180-360 days at 
international rates, which are significantly lower than domestic 
rates.  Therefore, mills are expected to purchase imported cotton 
in the last quarter of 1995, when practically all domestic 
production has been shipped.  Paraguay is also expected to supply 
cotton to Argentina, but there are doubts about cotton 
availability from that country from October, 1995 to March, 1996.  
 
 
 
       BEST PROSPECTS FOR U.S. EXPORTERS TO ARGENTINA 
           (US$ millions, unless otherwise noted) 
 
AGRICULTURAL SECTOR EXPORTS: 
 
A. Rank: 3 
B. Name of Sector: Snack Foods 
C. ITA or PS&D Code: NA 
 
                                 1994      1995      1996 
 
D. Total market size               87        81        84 
E. Total local production          73        70        73 
F. Total exports                    0         0         0 
G. Total imports                   14        11        11 
H. Total imports from U.S.         10         8         8 
I. Exchange rate   1 $US= 1$        
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
Comments: 
 
The snack food sector, including potato chips, popcorn, cookies, 
etc. (but excluding nuts), was the second largest category for 
U.S. agricultural exports to Argentina in 1994 (after planting 
seeds).  The rate of growth in snack food exports has been 
nothing short of phenomenal, from just $60,000 in 1989 to $10.5 
million in 1994.  Although snack food imports are expected to 
drop in 1995 because of an economic slowdown, this category still 
remains attractive because of its relatively large volume.  
Pepsico covers 55 percent of the domestic market.  Of all 
imported snacks, Pringles Potato Chips are still the most 
popular. 
 
 
 
       BEST PROSPECTS FOR U.S. EXPORTERS TO ARGENTINA 
           (US$ millions, unless otherwise noted) 
 
AGRICULTURAL SECTOR EXPORTS: 
 
A. Rank: 4 
B. Name of Sector: Edible nuts 
C. ITA or PS&D Code: NA 
 
                                 1994      1995      1996 
 
D. Total market size               75        79        83 
E. Total local production          50        52        53 
F. Total exports                  0.2       0.2       0.2 
G. Total imports                   25        27        30 
H. Total imports from U.S.        7.5       9.0      10.5 
I. Exchange rate: 1 $US= 1$ 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
Comments: 
 
There is a strong competition from Chile for many types of edible 
tree nuts. U.S. exporters will need to stress the quality aspects 
and future success in this market will require a great deal of 
personal assurance between suppliers and customers. In addition, 
shipping problems will have to be resolved if the U.S. is going 
to have an opportunity to develop this market.  
 
 
 
      BEST PROSPECTS FOR U.S. EXPORTERS TO ARGENTINA 
           (US$ millions, unless otherwise noted) 
 
AGRICULTURAL SECTOR EXPORTS: 
 
A. Rank: 5 
B. Name of Sector: Processed fruits/vegetables 
C. ITA or PS&D Code: 10, 16, 36 
 
                                 1994      1995      1996 
 
D. Total market size:            2180      2240      2300 
E. Total local production:       2010      2070      2100 
F. Total exports:                 130       131       135 
G. Total imports:                 165       167       165 
H. Total imports from U.S.        3.2       3.4       3.3 
I. Exchange rate: 1 $US= 1$  
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
Comments: 
 
U.S. processed fruit and vegetable exports to Argentina have 
shown extraordinary growth in the last five years, from just 
under $200,000 in 1989, to $3.2 million in 1994.  Growth should 
remain quite solid, especially with strong consumer interest in 
year-round quality food products, but probably not at the same 
levels seen here recently.   
 
 
INDUSTRY SECTOR EXPORTS 
 
 
BEST PROSPECT SECTORS FOR U.S. EXPORTERS TO ARGENTINA 
        (US$ millions, unless otherwise noted) 
 
A.  Rank: 1 
B.  Name of Sector: TRAVEL AND TOURISM SERVICES 
C.  ITA or PS&D Code: TRA 
 
                                     1994       1995       1996 
 
D.  Total Sales                     2,240      2,425      2,700 
E.  Sales by local firms            1,165      1,300      1,225 
F.  Export sales by local firms        45         75         95 
G.  Sales by foreign-owned firms    1,120      1,200      1,320 
H.  Sales by U.S.-owned firms         868      1,000      1,180 
I.  Exchange Rate: One Peso equals one dollar. 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
Comments: 
 
Argentina had the highest percentage increase of the top fifteen 
countries generating tourism to the U.S. in recent years. The number of 
Argentines visiting the United States continued its previous steady 
growth, with more than 430,000 travellers during 1994, a 20 percent 
increase compared to 1993. Some 550,000 Argentines are expected to visit 
the U.S. in 1995. It is also estimated that by 1997, 700,000 visitors 
from Argentina will enter the U.S.   
 
Travellers from Argentina to the U.S. fall into three categories based 
on the purposes of their trips:  Business, vacation, and visit to 
relatives/friends. They spend an average of 12 nights and U$S 1,500 per 
capita. 
 
The Argentines as a whole are a well-travelled people, who split their 
travel equally between package and independent trips. Argentina's Travel 
and Tourism increase is attributed to successful Visit U.S.A. promotion 
campaigns, increased number of flights and discounted air service, 
shopping opportunities, and expanding business-related travel. The most 
promising subsectors in 1995 are: The U.S. as a shopping center; Non 
traditional destinations - i.e. South Western USA, Alaska; Ski Resorts; 
National Parks; Bed and breakfast vacations; Motor-home vacations; and 
Business travel to major U.S. Convention Centers. 
 
 
 
          BEST PROSPECT SECTORS FOR U.S. EXPORTERS TO ARGENTINA 
                 (US$ millions, unless otherwise noted) 
 
A.  Rank: 2 
B.  Name of Sector: ELECTRIC POWER GENERATION AND TRANSMISSION EQUIPMENT 
C.  ITA or PS&D Code: ELP 
 
                                     1994       1995       1996 
 
D.  Total Market Size                 500        570        650 
E.  Total Local Production            183        221        268 
F.  Total Exports                      13         16         18 
G.  Total Imports                     330        365        400 
H.  Total Imports from U.S.           110        123        138 
I.  Exchange Rate: One peso equals one dollar. 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
Comments: 
 
Although Argentina enjoys a position of one of the fastest growing total 
markets (50% growth from 1993-1995), most of its electricity 
transmission and distribution equipment is old, and poorly maintained. 
This causes frequent malfunctions and over-loading of remaining 
equipment in use. To improve the outdated and inefficient situation in 
the Electric power sector, the Government of Argentina has privatized 
the electric energy sector and has transferred several thermal power 
plants to private firms.  In addition to the nuclear reactors, several 
provincial generators remain to be privatized, including those still 
under construction at the Yacyreta Hydro-electric plant. In view of 
Argentina's solid economic growth, demand for electirc energy will 
continue to grow at over 15 percent annually in 1996 and beyond. The 
distribution system will have to be revamped or replaced in order to 
keep up with demand. 
 
The subsectors which are most promising for 1996 for improving the 
transmission and distribution of electricity are: One-fase 5 Amp. 
meters; Circuit breakers (15.5 kV and larger); Fuses for low and medium 
voltage dist. (380/220 volts); electrical wires for low voltage 
distribution; switches; switchboards (switchboxes, for electrical 
consumption data control); Conductors & hardware; distribution 
transformers; and power transformers. U.S. firms should provide clear 
and detailed literature, preferably in Spanish, on the products and/or 
services they offer. 
 
The local supply of electrical power transmission and distribution 
equipment is utilized by 50-60 companies, of which five are large, ten 
are medium, and the rest are small. Although the market may seem to be 
flooded with local suppliers, a large amount of equipment has been 
imported in recent years in order to satisfy the growing demand for 
electrical power.  As a result of this importation of equipment, local 
businesses have been forced to lower their prices. 
 
 
 
BEST PROSPECT SECTORS FOR U.S. EXPORTERS TO ARGENTINA 
       (US$ millions, unless otherwise noted) 
 
A.  Rank: 3 
B.  Name of Sector: TELECOMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT 
C.  ITA or PS&D Code: TEL 
                                     1994      1995       1996 
 
D.  Total Market Size               1,450     1,600      1,765 
E.  Total Local Production          1,043     1,160      1,287 
F.  Total Exports                       8        10         12 
G.  Total Imports                     415       450        490 
H.  Total Imports from U.S.           290       180        205 
I.  Exchange Rate: One peso equals one dollar. 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
 
Comments: 
 
The Argentine telecommunications market was one of the first in Latin 
America to privatize, with commercially-driven regional operators owned 
by France Telecom and STET (Italy) in the North and Telefonica de Espana 
(Spain) in the South. Strong Government of Argentina (GOA) support for 
an open and competitive market has attracted U.S. suppliers to the 
Argentine market. U.S. companies have strengthened their supplier 
position in the past two years and have also taken advantage of 
regulatory openings for private competition in paging, enhanced services 
and private networks.  
 
The February, 1994 award of both private regional cellular concessions 
to a GTE/AT&T consortium, CTI,  provides a significant toehold for U.S. 
companies in what is seen as the first real competition for the two 
European network operators. CTI won the contracts to provide cellular 
service throughout Argentina except Metropolitan Buenos Aires. MOVICOM, 
a consortium headed by Bell South and Motorola, provides cellular 
service to metro Buenos Aires, in addition to several competing firms.  
 
The Argentine telecommunications equipment market was worth an estimated 
US$1.25 billion in 1993, and has steadily increased over the past 2 
years by 15%. Imports supply an increasing percent of the market, 
accounting for around 45 percent of the overall 1995 market. This is an 
increase of over 40 percent since 1993. The U.S. retains the largest 
import market share at just under a third, followed closely by Japan(19 
percent) and Germany (17.3). Swedish and French firms have a marginal 
market presence for imports. Although the U.S. leads the import market, 
telecommunications imports in general have not traditionally played a 
major supplier role in the Argentine market, due in part to significant 
manufacturing by local subsidiaries. This trend is abating in the wake 
of liberalization. Argentina has concluded bilateral commercial treaties 
with Italy and Spain for special soft loans. Firms from those countries 
using these loans may export products to Argentina free of duty. The 
U.S. Government has negotiated case-by-case duty exemption for U.S. 
telecommunications companies competing against Italian or Spanish firms 
exempted under these bilateral agreements. 
 
The Argentine telecommunications industry is composed of some 40 
companies. Six companies, all subsidiaries of foreign firms, account for 
85 percent of domestic production and dominate the market for branch 
exchanges, portable telephones and multiplexers. Because Argentina 
continues to have a strong currency and a stable economy, local firms 
will continue to source in foreign markets for "state-of-the-art" 
equipment. As basic telephony becomes more available throughout the 
country, demand for sophisticated value-added services will increase and 
generate demand for specific equipment. Although direct sales are 
frequently made to end-users, U.S. companies are advised to establish a 
direct presence to strengthen contacts in this rapidly changing market. 
This presence may be a licensing agreement with local manufacturers or a 
designated sales representative to promote sales and provide follow-up 
service. U.S. suppliers will find a growing market for the following 
products in 1996: spectrum management, personal communications services 
(PCS), trunking systems, provision of fiber optic cables and 
accessories, telesupervision of fiber optic connections, software for 
management of telecommunications networks, and fixed cellular systems 
for rural telephony.   
 
 
 
BEST PROSPECT SECTORS FOR U.S. EXPORTERS TO ARGENTINA 
        (US$ millions, unless otherwise noted) 
 
A.  Rank: 4 
B.  Name of Sector: OIL AND GAS FIELD MACHINERY 
C.  ITA or PS&D code: OGM 
 
                                     1994       1995       1996 
 
D.  Total Market Size:              1,110      1,220      1,355 
E.  Total Local Production:         1,000      1,050      1,177 
F.  Total Exports:                     70         80         95 
G.  Total Imports:                    230        250        273 
H.  Total Imports from U.S.:          120        135        150 
I.  Exchange Rate:                      1          1          1 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
Comments:   
 
Following the privatization of YPF, the GOA granted ten concessions for 
oil-fields in central areas and the Under-Secretariat for fuels has 
awarded 85 concessions for marginal areas.  Local manufacturers, many of 
them subsidiaries or licensees of foreign-owned firms, continue to 
dominate the market.  However, given the relatively higher prices of 
locally  made products, foreign suppliers should capture a larger share.  
Among the subsectors offering the best sales opportunities are: 
finishing tools (US$5 million); injection equipment (US$6 million); 
pipeline equipment (US$10 million); cementing equipment (US$6 million) 
 
 
 
BEST PROSPECT SECTORS FOR U.S. EXPORTERS TO ARGENTINA 
        (US$ millions, unless otherwise noted) 
 
A.  Rank: 5       
B.  Name of Sector: COMPUTERS AND PERIPHERALS (CPT) 
C.  ITA or PS&D Code: CPT 
 
                                     1994       1995       1996 
 
D.  Total Market Size                 550        580        630 
E.  Total Local Production             39         55         50 
F.  Total Exports                       4          5          5 
G.  Total Imports                     500        530        575 
H.  Total Imports from U.S.           380        450        504 
I.  Exchange Rate: One peso equals one dollar 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
Comments: 
 
Argentina enjoys the position as one of the top ten fastest growing 
import markets in the world in the Computers and Peripherals sector. 
From 1993-1995 Argentina's total market in this sector grew by 15 
percent, but imports from the U.S. grew by 20 percent, and are expected 
to expand to 25 percent in 1996. The strong local currency and economic 
stability continue to encourage Argentine firms to re-equip themselves 
with advanced solutions.  
 
Financial institutions, public utilities and heavy industry continue to 
be the prime clients. Brand-name PCs will represent a major portion of 
total sales. U.S. firms offering quality products will find good demand 
for their hardware. Newly privatized corporations, in the 
telecommunications, electric power distribution, and others, continue to 
equip themselves to streamline their operations. Local Area Networks 
(LANs) will generate additional demand for hardware. The U.S. is the 
leading supplier with a market share of over 60 percent. Other major 
suppliers are: The Federal Republic of Germany (8 percent); Brazil (7 
percent); and Japan (7 percent). The most promising subsectors in 1996 
will be:  PCs, printers, minicomputers, disk drives and accessories, and 
laptop and notebooks.   
 
 
 
BEST PROSPECT SECTORS FOR U.S. EXPORTERS TO ARGENTINA 
         (US$ millions, unless otherwise noted) 
 
A.  Rank: 6 
B.  Name of Sector: MEDICAL EQUIPMENT 
C.  ITA or PS&D Code: MED 
 
                                     1994       1995       1996 
 
D.  Total Market Size                 380        331        360 
E.  Total Local Production            174        185        201 
F.  Total Exports                       3          3          5 
G.  Total Imports                     209        149        164 
H.  Total Imports from U.S.            90        100        121 
I.  Exchange Rate: One peso equals one dollar. 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
Comments: 
 
The Argentine medical equipment market should become one of the most 
rapidly growing segments in the economy. Several hospitals formerly run 
by the Federal Goverment have been transferred to the provinces. Many 
are in the process of being managed by foreign consulting firms 
(especially the U.S.).  The Government of Argentina (GOA) pledged to 
increase its healthcare budget from US$ 174.3 million (1993) to US$ 
643.9 million (1995), and increased by an additional 10% in 1996.  This 
market is highly receptive to new medical equipment, and after 
legislation passed in 1994, some used medical equipment can be imported 
as well. Financing is typically a crucial consideration for end-users of 
new medical equipment. 
 
The used and refurbished concept is well known in the local medical 
industry. However, in order to protect local manufacturers, the GOA has 
introduced specific regulations for used medical equipment imports. Used 
medical equipment is divided into three categories: A) Used products 
that cannot be imported: this list contains 112 products (HS numbers); 
B) Used products that can be imported if the conditions described below 
are met: 13 porducts (HS numbers) are in this group; C) Used and 
refurbished products that may be freely imported. Per category B) above, 
refurbished equipment must be certified and approved by the original 
manufacturer, and purchased directly by the Argentine end user. The 
foreign vendor must ensure the buyer of the availability of after-sales 
service and spare parts, and have an exclusive sales agent based in 
Argentina who will be able to implement the servicing required during 
the period of guarantee.  Local buyers must also prove they are 
financially unable to purchase new equipment. 
 
Best sales prospects will be found among public facilities, as a result 
of the optimization of management, and among Trade Union-owned 
facilities, as subscribers gravitate to the best managed medical 
insurance schemes over the next 18 to 24 months. Although German and 
Japanese suppliers are well established in the new medical equipment 
market, the U.S. dominates the market in the used medical equipment 
sector. The following used and refurbished equipment is expected to 
enjoy handsome demand in Argentina over the next two years: tomography 
equipment, magnetic resonance imaging equipment, gamma radiation 
equipment, color bidimensional, ococardiographs, electrocardiographs, 
motorized beds. Purchases of small and medium-sized new equipment are 
typically conducted through local representatives and importers. Seventy 
(70) percent of equipment costing over US$ 500,000 is purchased directly 
from foreign manufacturers. Best sales prospects for new medical 
equipment in 1996 are: radiology equipment, ultrasound equipment, 
nuclear magnetic resonance imaging systems, mamography equipment, gamma 
camera, phonocardiographs, hemodynamic parameter measuring devices, 
cardiac output measuring devices. 
 
 
 
BEST PROSPECT SECTORS FOR U.S. EXPORTERS TO ARGENTINA 
         (US$ millions, unless otherwise noted) 
 
A.  Rank: 7  
B.  Name of Sector: COMPUTER SOFTWARE  
C.  ITA or PS&D Code: CSF 
 
                                     1994       1995       1996 
 
D.  Total Sales                       125        186        210 
E.  Sales by local firms               95         79         95 
F.  Export sales by local firms        40         25         30 
G.  Sales by foreign-owned firms      120        132        145 
H.  Sales by U.S.-owned firms          45         55         68 
I.  Exchange Rate: One peso equals one dollar. 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
Comments: 
 
The entire Argentine market for informatics products has been expanding 
at a solid rate of 23% during the period 1994-1995. The total computer 
software market was estimated at US$ 175 million in 1995, and expected 
to increase by 10% in 1996. Argentina's strong currency continues to 
encourage purchases of imported goods and services. Given the high 
expansion in the computer base, significant software purchases will have 
to take place to fully utilize the hardware. 
 
In the market for computer software for business applications, U.S. 
suppliers enjoy two important added advantages: - The Argentine market 
for this subsector has always grown at a consistent rate, despite the 
recession the country experienced until 1990. Now that significant 
economic stability has been achieved the demand for software and 
services is growing at a fast pace; and, American-made software and 
services have an excellent reputation among local end-users. U.S. 
products dominate the import market. Competition from third countries is 
negligible.  
 
The standard distribution channel for software services in Argentina is 
through representatives/distributors. Local firms, however, will insist 
on being exclusive representatives of U.S. suppliers. Private companies 
will be demanding software on a large scale, regardless of the size of 
the company, and regardless of their economic sector. These companies 
are fully aware of the advantages offered by modern informatics 
facilities, and that they must update their equipment in order to remain 
competitive. They are willing to invest. This is the primary factor 
creating the excellent opportunites for U.S. suppliers of software and 
services.  
 
The trend among local private businesses is one of replacing mainframes 
for standard 386 and 486 PCs and developing local area networks. 
Application software of universal applications should find a growing 
market. Growing markets will be the newly privatized public utilities, 
banks, insurance companies, accountants, business analysts, investment 
portfolio managers, financial planners, sales and marketing 
organizations, and information retrieval from on-line data base 
software. The best sales prospects for 1996 are: Advanced 
telecommunications software for Local Area Networks; Modem and Fax 
Equipment; Graphics software, specially for PCs; Scanning equipment, 
with Optical Character Recognition; Window applications; Virus 
protection software; Word processing in Spanish; Accounting sofware; 
Investment portfolio, financial planning and Sales and Marketing 
software; Information retrieval from on-line data bases software.  
 
 
 
BEST PROSPECT SECTORS FOR U.S. EXPORTERS TO ARGENTINA 
        (US$ millions, unless otherwise noted) 
 
A.  Rank: 8  
B.  Name of Sector: AIRPORT & GROUND SUPPORT EQUIPMENT  
C.  ITA or PS&D Code: APG  
 
                                     1994       1995       1996 
 
D.  Total Market Size                 122        147        175 
E.  Total Local Production              3.8        7         19 
F.  Total Exports                       0          0          0 
G.  Total Imports                     125        140        156 
H.  Total Imports from U.S.            34         40         47 
I.  Exchange Rate: One peso equals one dollar. 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
Comments: 
 
The Argentine airport development market offers growing opportunities 
for the sale of U.S.-manufactured equipment and supplies. After years of 
very little investment in this subsector, due to cutbacks in the 
Argentine Air Force (AAF) budget, investment is expected to grow in 
response to a plan for the privatization of the two major airports 
located in Buenos Aires: Ezeiza (international) and Aeroparque 
(domestic).  Another 15 smaller airports throughout the country are 
expected to be offered for concession to private firms shortly 
thereafter.There are 22 international airports and close to 200 smaller 
domestic airports/airfields in Argentina.  They are virtually all State-
owned. The largest and only self-supporting local airports are Ezeiza 
(international) and Aeroparque (domestic). They each cater to around 4 
million passengers annually.  Plans call for increasing their capacity 
to handle 12 million passengers each over the next ten years. Of the 
remaining 21 international airports, most of them cater to around 
250,000 passengers per year, with the exception of Cordoba, which 
handles an average of 750,000.  The domestic airports other than 
Aeroparque are actually airfields and handle a negligible number of 
passengers. 
 
Privatization of most of the ground facilities in these airports is 
anticipated to generate a massive inflow of capital. The privatization 
of some services in the large airports, such as luggage handling, has 
already been implemented. American suppliers enjoy an excellent 
reputation for quality, reliability and price-competitiveness among the 
AAF and local equipment representatives.  Competition from European 
suppliers is fierce, but a competitive edge may be secured by American 
suppliers who are able to present a joint bid and offer attractive 
turnkey solutions. The funds allotted to the overall aviation subsector 
have grown at a consistent 12.5 percent annually over the last four 
years, and is expected to jump to 25 percent growth over the next three 
years. Once privatization occurs, demand for equipment should grow at an 
even higher rate. U.S. suppliers have the largest share of this market 
(28 percent) followed by France (18 percent); Israel (13 percent); 
Germany (12 percent); Canada (7 percent); other South American countries 
(4 percent). Other best prospects for 1996 are in the following areas: 
Air traffic control automation systems including radars, luggage 
conveyor belts and carrousels, transportation vehicles for luggage, 
vehicles equipped with forklifts for raising luggage to airplanes, ramps 
for transporting cargo and luggage on and off planes, runway lighting 
systems,  fire-fighting equipment and training systems;  HF, VHF and UHF 
communications equipment; VOR, ILS, ramp and first-line testers for VOR 
and ILS; markers. 
 
 
 
BEST PROSPECT SECTORS FOR U.S. EXPORTERS TO ARGENTINA 
         (US$ millions, unless otherwise noted) 
 
A.  Rank: 9   
B.  Name of Sector: FRANCHISING SERVICES 
C.  ITA or PS&D Code: FRA 
 
                                     1994       1995       1996 
 
D.  Total Sales                        38         50         60 
E.  Sales by local firms               10          7.5        9 
F.  Export Sales by local firms         2          2.5        3 
G.  Sales by foreign-owned firms       30         45         54 
H.  Sales by U.S.-owned firms          12         15         19 
I.  Exchange Rate: One peso equals one dollar. 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
Comments: 
 
The Argentine market for franchising is growing rapidly, as a result of 
economic stability and growth. During 1994, the number of firms active 
in this field has doubled. Total franchising revenues reached US$ 50 
million in 1995, and is expected to increase to US$ 60 million in 1996.  
Franchising is such a new sector in Argentina, that about sixty percent 
of currently established franchisers established themselves only within 
the last three years. In spite of previous serious economic problems in 
Argentina, the franchise sector was able to grow at rates well above the 
national average, and is still one of the fastest growing sectors in 
Argentina. The market-opening policy implemented in 1991 played a major 
role in putting Argentina under the new economic order. Most of the 
import restrictive policies were eliminated.  
 
U.S. franchisors are encouraged to take a close look at the Argentine 
market.  U.S. franchises have an extremely high receptivity in this 
market in view of the awareness of the Argentine consumer about the 
reputation of U.S. franchising.  Argentines who travel to the U.S., 
often become familiar with U.S. brands and trade names.  The Greater 
Buenos Aires area has the greatest concentration of franchise outlets, 
with 76% of the total investments. The cities of Rosario, Cordoba, and 
Mendoza are attracting an increasing number of new investments that are, 
in general, concentrated in the food segment. Several hotel and resort 
projects are under consideration or already under development in other 
parts of the country. These projects are located in San Carlos de 
Bariloche, Mar del Plata, Parana, and Iguazu.  Automotive repair, 
cleaning and maintenance, sports and fitness centers, quick printing, 
and dry cleaning, have an immediate potential in the Greater Buenos 
Aires Area. The best prospects for franchising in 1996 are in the 
following areas: wearing apparel, fast food, shoes, bakeries, ice cream, 
tire repair centers, sporting goods, entertainment and tourism services, 
construction and interior decorators, sports, health and fitness 
centers, quick printing and photo services, cleaning, maintenance, pest 
control services and sewer/drain cleaning, car repair and service shops. 
 
 
 
BEST PROSPECT SECTORS FOR U.S. EXPORTERS TO ARGENTINA 
        (US$ millions, unless otherwise noted) 
 
A.  Rank: 10 
B.  Name of Sector: POLLUTION CONTROL EQUIPMENT 
C.  ITA or PS&D Code: POL 
 
                                     1994       1995       1996 
 
D.  Total Market Size                  14         16         18.5 
E.  Total Local Production             10.2       11.5       14 
F.  Total Exports                       0          0          1 
G.  Total Imports                       3.8        4.5        5.5 
H.  Total Imports from U.S.             2.3        2.8        3.3 
I.  Exchange Rate: One peso equals one dollar. 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
Comments: 
 
Demand for Environmental Control Services started to grow in Argentina 
in 1992, due to the creation of the Natural Resources and Human 
Environment Secretariat in the office of the President of Argentina and 
the enactment of the Hazardous Waste Law, Number 24.051. There is a 
growing awareness of environmental issues that is forcing the Argentine 
Congress to pass adequate legislation. Industrial process companies are 
already anticipating stronger enforcement and installing water and solid 
wast pollution control equipment. There are clear signs of a much needed 
increase in awareness at the Government level of the need to preserve 
and improve the endangered quality of life in the country.  
 
The Hazardous Waste Law, which clearly defines responsibilities in the 
clean-up of toxic waste, will definitely generate an active market for 
environmental services, as well as for specialized equipment.  
Enforcement of this legislation, however, is still weak. The role of 
justice in environmental protection is decisive rather than preventive; 
in fact, Argentine courts of Law have neither the obligation nor the 
faculties to prevent environmental deterioration. They can only act in 
specific cases in order to punish those who break environmental laws.  
 
Demand for specialized services has been heavily concentrated in the 
area of water and sewerage, and river and lake basin cleanup. There has 
been some demand for remediation services in the oil industry, which is 
expected to require substantially larger support from service companies 
to clean drilling mud pits, heavily contaminated industrial sites, and 
ports and harbors. Typically, industrialists will hire a local 
environmental consultant to do a preliminary site assessment, which they 
may present to a judge as evidence of their committment to correct their 
environmental faults, and it is a generally accepted practice for them 
to seek some form of association with leading environmental consultants 
in the U.S., Canada, and Western Europe. There is a significant 
concentration of demand in the area of water and sewerage treatment and 
river basin cleanup. This concentration is likely to continue for some 
time, at least for as long as provincial privatizations of waterworks 
companies remain.  
 
There is also significant potential in the area of remediation services, 
particularly for the oil industry, where there is a need to clean-up 
industrial sites (refineries and petrochemical plants), ports and 
harbors, and drilling mud pits.  If legislation and enforcement develop 
as expected, there will be immediate growth in the areas of impact 
assessment, remediation, measuring and control, and other services for 
the medium and small industrial company market. This market should grow 
to approximately $35 million in 1996, and remain steady at that level 
for the next three years.   
 
BEST PROSPECT SECTORS FOR U.S. EXPORTERS TO ARGENTINA 
         (US$ millions, unless otherwise noted) 
 
A.  Rank: 11 
B.  Name of Sector: PLASTICS PROCESSING MACHINERY 
C.  ITA or PS&D Code: PME  
 
                                     1994       1995       1996 
 
D.  Total Market Size                  83         75         80 
E.  Total Local Production             25         22         22   
F.  Total Exports                       4          4          6 
G.  Total Imports                      62         57         64 
H.  Total Imports from U.S.            18         20         23 
I.  Exchange Rate: One peso equals one dollar. 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
Comments: 
 
Argentina has abundant hydrocarbon reserves and a good petrochemicals 
processing installed base. This translates into ample local supply of 
plastic raw materials. Investments in the Argentine plastics processing 
industry are rising at a consistently solid rate. Local plastic 
processors are now using 90 percent of their total installed capacity. 
Local transformers are also having to face foreign competition from  
finished products of higher quality.  Twenty years of little or no 
investment in machinery and very high labor costs have created a solid 
demand for imported state-of-the-art machinery.  
 
U.S. suppliers are reputed for their excellent quality. However, the 
main suppliers of plastics processing machinery are Brazilian, Italian 
and German companies. This is due to the fact that they actively 
advertise and promote their products. Brazilian vendors of this type of 
equipment should offer American counterparts significant competition 
over the coming five years, as a result of the MERCOSUR. 
 
Local businesspeople appreciate the convenience of plastics over other 
raw materials such as paper, glass and tin foil. Investment in modern, 
automated lines is therefore growing in packaging and all areas of the 
plastic processing industry. The total plastics sector in Argentina will 
reach US$ 22 million in 1995, up 15 percent from 1994. The market is 
expected to grow steadily for the next three years at a rate of 15 
percent. Virtually every area of the plastic processing subsector is 
improving and modernizing its equipment. A partial list of the more 
dynamic and attractive industries follows: thermoplastics injectors, 
extruders, blow molding machines, thermoformed packaging, special 
flexible packages (made of more than one material), polychromatic 
printing for plastic packages, plastic industrial tools, cosmetic 
containers equipment, bottle-making equipment, plastics equipment for 
the refrigeration industry, plastics for the automotive industry, 
equipment to produce containers for industrial oils, plastic box 
equipment of all sizes.  
 
 
 
BEST PROSPECT SECTORS FOR U.S. EXPORTERS TO ARGENTINA 
         (US$ millions, unless otherwise noted) 
 
A.  Rank: 12 
B.  Name of Sector: WATER TREATMENT EQUIPMENT 
C.  ITA or PS&D Code:  
 
                                     1994       1995       1996 
 
D.  Total Market Size                  58         76         88 
E.  Total Local Production             29         32         35 
F.  Total Exports                       1          1          1 
G.  Total Imports                      30         45         54 
H.  Total Imports from U.S.            12         15         17  
I.  Exchange Rate: One peso equals one dollar. 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
Comments: 
 
Argentina is experiencing a growing awareness of environmental issues 
that is forcing the Argentine Congress to pass adequate legislation. 
Industrial process companies are already anticipating stronger 
enforcement and are installing water and solid waste pollution control 
equipment. Water quality is of particular concern especially in highly 
populated areas where growth has necessitated planning and 
infrastructure investments. New Government attempts to enforce water 
quality controls should make the Argentine market for this type of 
equipment blossom.  
 
The private sector still has a luke-warm attitude toward investment in 
this area. The Interamerican Development Bank (IADB)/Multilateral 
Investment Fund (MIF) Donors  Committee approved on Dec. 7, 1994, a US$ 
1.2 Million in funding to the Ministry of Environment, Urban Development 
and Housing of the province of Mendoza to restructure the water and 
sanitation sector in the province. The program reorganizes the 
institutional framework for water and sanitation services and includes 
transferring operations to the private sector and strenghtening the 
regulatory capacity of the public sector. Although Mendoza is the first 
region to privatize its water and sanitation system, it could be a 
precident for other provinces in Argentina. The project establishes The 
Water and Sanitation Regulatory Agency, Ente Provincial de Agua Y 
Saneamiento (EPAS), which includes design and implementation of the rate 
system, standards for quality control and administration of water 
resources.  
 
Argentina lacks sufficient environmental research facilities and 
research personnel. It will, therefore, rely on foreign technology. U.S. 
suppliers should keep in mind that almost all manufacturing companies 
and privatized public sector water services will need pollution control 
equipment. U.S. suppliers are well reputed and will be accepted widely.  
 
 
BEST PROSPECT SECTORS FOR U.S. EXPORTERS TO ARGENTINA           
     (US$ millions, unless otherwise noted) 
 
A.  Rank: 13 
B.  Name of Sector: AUTO PARTS AND SERVICE EQUIPMENT 
C.  ITA or PS&D Code: APS 
 
                                     1994       1995       1996 
 
D.  Total Market Size               1,140      1,200      1,260 
E.  Total Local Production            902        924        942 
F.  Total Exports                      12         14         17 
G.  Total Imports                     250        290        335 
H.  Total Imports from U.S.            60         65         72 
I.  Exchange Rate: One peso equals one dollar. 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
Comments: 
 
The Argentine autoparts and service equipment sector is expanding at a 
rate of over 8 percent annually. The import market is expanding even 
faster: 15 percent. In recent years, both tariff and non-tariff barriers 
were either lifted or significantly reduced. U.S. suppliers of auto 
parts and accessories will compete best in the sale of parts of U.S. 
model cars, both locally made and imported, particularly in the segment 
of replacement parts for off-road and recreational vehicles. 
 
The U.S. has traditionally been a supplier of auto parts and service 
equipment to the Argentine market. The bulk of exports have been parts 
for U.S.- made vehicles, although certain quasi-commodities such as 
spark plugs and gaskets from the U.S. have long been in the market. 
Because of the tariff reductions and opening of auto parts and service 
equipment sector, there will be a moderate growth in the demand for U.S. 
parts and service equipment, particularly for U.S., European, and 
Japanese vehicles.  Diagnostic equipment for computer-controlled fuel 
injection engines also is a promising area.  
 
According to trade association sources, the U.S. share of the parts and 
accessories market is at least 15 percent. Sales of spare parts boomed 
together with the expansion of new car sales during the last four years. 
The growth was so rapid that local spare parts manufacturers tolerated 
the systematic violation of the Government requirement that all cars 
manufactured locally should have at least 60 percent Argentine content. 
The MERCOSUR free-trade agreement which was implemented January 1, 1995 
with Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay, brings together a 
potential market of over 2 million cars manufactured in 1995. Given the 
strength of the local auto parts industry,  U.S. parts manufacturers 
would benefit by concentrating their efforts on parts for imported 
vehicles, where local firms do not have an edge. Accessories for off-
road and recreational vehicles offer an open market. In terms of sales 
to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), it is difficult, if not 
nearly impossible to compete with local and Brazilian vendors. The most 
promising subsectors for 1996 are:  diagnosis equipment for computer-
operated engines,  spark plugs, exhaust fume monitoring equipment, 
front-end and suspension parts for U.S. and Japanese cars. 
 
 
 
BEST PROSPECT SECTORS FOR U.S. EXPORTERS TO ARGENTINA 
        (US$ millions, unless otherwise noted) 
 
A.  Rank: 14 
B.  Name of Sector: FOOD PROCESSING & PACKAGING EQUIPMENT 
C.  ITA or PS&D Code: FPP 
 
                                     1994       1995       1996 
 
D.  Total Market Size                 250        272        310 
E.  Total Local Production            150        170        197 
F.  Total Exports                       5          8         12 
G.  Total Imports                     105        110        125 
H.  Total Imports from U.S.            20         25         32 
I.  Exchange Rate: One peso equals one dollar. 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
Comments: 
 
The recent market opening has flooded Argentina with foreign products 
which are presented in attractive,  practical packaging. Fierce 
competition from imported food products is forcing local suppliers to 
update their production facilities and to incorporate cost-cutting, 
state-of-the-art equipment. Additionally, as the economy continues to 
improve, world leaders in the food industry are acquiring Argentine 
companies in fields like confectionery, biscuit, meat processing and 
fruit and vegetable processing. Many of these acquisitions are being 
made by American firms, and this should dictate the purchase of new 
equipment in the U.S.   
 
Trade agreements with neighboring countries such as Brazil and a 
negative trade balance are encouraging exports, and  this will result in 
demand for competitive packaging. Local manufacturers have been working 
at full capacity, but must still import raw materials in order to meet 
the growing demand. Excellent opportunities exist in Argentina for U.S. 
suppliers of food processing and packaging equipment primarily due to 
economic reforms undertaken by the present Government. The major reason 
for this growth is economic stability that encourages local producers of 
packaged products to invest in state-of-the-art materials and packaging 
equipment. Argentina is exporting more to world markets and must, 
therefore, supply products in competitive packaging.  
 
The packaging subsector is expected to experience above average growth 
over the next 2 years, at about 20%. Best prospects for food processing 
and packaging equipment can be found in the following areas:  stretch-
wrap, thermoshrinkable wrap, composite packaging; bag-in-box packs and 
shopping bags; plastic boxes and wraping film; large containers for bulk 
commodities, bottles and blister wraps, pots and trays, large heavy 
containers; microwave resistant packages; blister wraps; canning for 
foodstuffs, paints chemicals, aerosols and soft drinks; flexible 
packaging for pastas, and packaging for transportation. 
 
Environment friendly packaging is slowly becoming a popular alternative 
in Argentina, and security bands to provide proof that products reach 
customers untouched is also becoming standard. Other areas in which U.S. 
firms will find increasing demand in the food processing sector are:  
bag-in-box, bag-in-drum and liqui-tainer packaging;  composites for 
foodstuffs packaging, providing gas and aroma barriers;  microwave 
packaging materials with multiple oxygen retaining coats; any sort of 
packaging materials which improve both the attractiveness and 
practicality of packages; bar coding improvements.  
 
 
 
BEST PROSPECT SECTORS FOR U.S. EXPORTERS TO ARGENTINA 
         (US$ millions, unless otherwise noted) 
 
A.  Rank: 15 
B.  Name of Sector: AIRCRAFT PARTS AND ACCESSORIES (SEP) 
C.  ITA or PS&D Code: AIR 
 
                                     1994       1995       1996 
 
D.  Total Market Size                  80         90        106 
E.  Total Local Production              6         11         22 
F.  Total Exports                       1          1          1 
G.  Total Imports                      75         80         85 
H.  Total Imports from U.S.            50         58         68 
I.  Exchange Rate: One peso equals one dollar. 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
Comments: 
 
After a decade of stagnation, the market for commercial and general 
aviation aircraft revived in Argentina as of 1992.  Aerolineas 
Argentinas and Austral renewed, in part, their domestic fleets. Soon to 
follow are long distance planes. Also, as the economy recovers, so does 
the market for general aviation aircraft, mainly executive jets, 
turboprops and helicopters, which will all require aircraft parts and 
accessories.  
 
Traditionally, the U.S. has been the leading supplier of aircraft parts 
and accessories, with a market share of over 50 percent. Aircraft repair 
stations are working at full capacity, overhauling, modifying and 
retrofitting the once-idle fleet. Argentina has the second largest air 
transport network in South America, as well as a considerably well 
developed aviation sector. Local business and the Argentine Air Force 
(AAF) authorities are aware that much of the equipment now in use is 
obsolete and badly needing to be updated. They are looking for suppliers 
abroad, mainly in the U.S.  A clear sign of the opportunities arising in 
this subsector of the Argentine economy is the fact that the total 
market for aviation equipment has been consistently growing at a healthy 
rate of 12.5 percent annually. 
 
Growing imports of new aircraft are also generating demand for parts and 
accessories.  U.S. suppliers hold a significant share of the import 
market at present, due to the strong reputation for quality, price, and 
after sales service. A vital concern for local investors is that of 
maintaining standardization of equipment. They will, therefore, rely on 
suppliers they already know.  European suppliers, however, have been 
actively promoting their products in Argentina, thereby bringing about 
greater competition than in the 1980s. This calls for U.S. firms to 
become more aggressive in their marketing efforts in Argentina.  Airport 
equipment is on average 10 years old and all AAF planes are between 13 
and 30 years old. The main concern of AAF authorities at this point is 
that of making significant investments in upgrading equipment.  The  AAF 
is the organization that decides on contract services and purchases 
equipment. The following equipment  needs to be replaced or purchased by 
the AAF and private concessionaires: HF, VHF and UHF radio equipment; 
AM/FM radio equipment; airborne antennas for satellite, HF, VHF and UHF 
communications; VOR; ILS; markers; embedded VOR, ILS and Marker; 
embedded VOR and DME; radars (tactical and meteorological); GPS; ring 
laser gyroscopes (embedded with a GPS); automatic pilots and flight 
directors; ADI (Altitude Direction Indicators); HSI (Horizontal 
Situation Indicators); EFIS (Electronic Flight Instrument Systems); 
Automatic and manual circuit breakers; static inverters; head up and 
head down displays; radomes; TDR and IFF instruments; ramp/first line 
testers for VOR and ILS; lighting equipment for landing strips.  
 
 
 
BEST PROSPECT SECTORS FOR U.S. EXPORTERS TO ARGENTINA 
         (US$ millions, unless otherwise noted) 
 
A.  Rank: 16 
B.  Name of Sector: CONSTRUCTION AND BUILDING MATERIALS 
C.  ITA or PS&D Code: BLD 
 
                                     1994       1995       1996 
 
D.  Total Market Size                 805        900      1,008 
E.  Total Local Production            689        815        923 
F.  Total Exports                      18         25         40 
G.  Total Imports                      98        110        125 
H.  Total Imports from U.S.            45         50         56 
I.  Exchange Rate: One peso equals one dollar. 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
Comments: 
 
Growing opportunities exist for U.S. suppliers of materials and supplies 
for the construction industry.  Rapid population growth in large urban 
areas in Argentina has created a serious housing deficit, estimated at 
2.5 million houses. The Government of Argentina's goal is to construct 
100,000 units per year during the 1996-99 period. Several provincial and 
municipal Governments have announced plans to build inexpensive houses 
in their jurisdictions. A growing inflow of new investment, and a 
reshuffle of the mortgage loan sector, in which the national mortgage 
bank has assumed a wholesale role (and commercial banks are beginning to 
offer some credit), will lead the way to recovery of the housing market. 
 
In the institutional building sector, a five-year U.S. Dollar 750 
million plan by the Ministry of Justice will spur the construction of 
ten new jails. Currently, building materials and hardware are provided 
by local firms and a few agents of international companies.  Local 
prices tend to be higher than international prices for items such as 
concrete, reinforced concrete, pre-stressed concrete, concrete 
structures and mortar where big local suppliers with a high cost 
production system, set the market prices free of competitors. Other 
items such as carpentry, coatings, wood and metallic structures, kitchen 
& sanitary equipment, chemicals, adhesives, and hardware tend to average 
international prices as Argentina's building market opens to overseas 
suppliers.  
 
The local market for building materials and hardware has been in a 
decline for many years.  As a result there has been a significant 
reduction in competitiveness and efficiency. The Argentine market is 
also absorbing imported products from Europe.  Coatings (Spain, Italy); 
bathtubs (France, Germany); faucets (Italy).  These items are destined 
to satisfy construction companies in their demand for better quality and 
performance products for the construction of high-class buildings. The 
Argentine market is open to a much needed competition from foreign 
suppliers, and U.S. suppliers of building materials and hardware will 
find a market eager for new products, as confirmed in interviews with 
several local construction companies, where a clear need for hardware 
and building materials was easily perceived. Products with good demand 
include: safety locks/magnetic cards; different coating systems; 
electrical appliances (offices, hotels, big architectonic grounds); 
electricity components; metallic ceilings; components for special 
installations (saunas, shower - box, water coolers for schools, hotels, 
etc.); kitchen equipment (restaurants, hotels, etc.); sanitary 
equipment; urban equipment (metal & wood tables, stools and handrails); 
equipment for manufacture of heavy components; different items for roofs 
and floors; decoration elements (exhibition center, fountains, and 
dynamic and static special effects); and adhesive materials. 
  
Purchasing habits in Argentina's building materials and hardware market 
will move toward better prices and high quality products. 
 
 
BEST PROSPECT SECTORS FOR U.S. EXPORTERS TO ARGENTINA 
      (US$ millions, unless otherwise noted) 
 
A.  Rank: 17  
B.  Name of Sector: AGRICULTURAL MACHINERY AND EQUIPMENT 
C.  ITA or PS&D Code: AGM 
 
                                     1994       1995       1996 
 
D.  Total Market Size                 208        238        285 
E.  Total Local Production            181        194        225 
F.  Total Exports                      16         17         15 
G.  Total Imports                      43         61         75 
H.  Total Imports from U.S.            10         13         16 
I.  Exchange Rate: One peso equals one dollar. 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
Comments: 
 
The Argentine farm equipment market has been growing at a lower pace 
than other imports. The economic stabilization plan, and a fixed Dollar-
Peso rate of one to one, have resulted in higher local production costs 
for export commodities. Local manufacturers of agricultural equipment 
are virtually assembling imported components, in view of high local 
costs. Industry experts are anticipating a moderate growth in the levels 
of investment during 1995 and beyond. The adoption of state-of-the-art 
imported equipment is seen as a way to lower production costs.  
 
The Government of Argentina is promoting the production reconversion of 
small and medium-sized agricultural firms to diversify production. This 
plan will support 40,000 small and medium-sized agricultural companies 
through forming groups of agricultural producers throughout the country.  
 
 
 
BEST PROSPECT SECTORS FOR U.S. EXPORTERS TO ARGENTINA 
         (US$ millions, unless otherwise noted) 
 
A.  Rank: 18 
B.  Name of Sector: SPORTING GOODS 
C.  ITA or PS&D Code: SPT 
 
                                     1994       1995       1996 
 
D.  Total Market Size                 550        570        600 
E.  Total Local Production            342        349        370 
F.  Total Exports                      12         14         21 
G.  Total Imports                     220        235        251 
H.  Total Imports from U.S.            75         80         85 
I.  Exchange Rate: One peso equals one dollar. 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
Comments: 
 
Argentina's strong currency and liberal import policy continue to 
encourage purchases of imported sporting goods. The Argentine market for 
these items is expected to grow at ten percent annually through 1995, 
and continue at the same rate in 1996. U.S. manufacturers clearly 
dominate the market with a 30% share. Tennis rackets, fishing equipment, 
gymnasium equipment, camping and outdoor items, and outboard engines 
have good marketing possibilities.  There is an increasing demand for 
Brazilian-made products, however, because of their low prices. Among the 
most promising subsectors for 1996 are: camping gear, motor homes, 
tennis rackets, outboard engines, soccer balls, and roller blades.  
 
 
 
BEST PROSPECT SECTORS FOR U.S. EXPORTERS TO ARGENTINA 
       (US$ millions, unless otherwise noted) 
 
A.  Rank: 19 
B.  Name of Sector: LABORATORY AND SCIENTIFIC EQUIPMENT (SEP) 
C.  ITA or PS&D Code: LAB 
 
                                     1994       1995       1996 
 
D.  Total Market Size                   8         10         13 
E.  Total Local Production              1          1.5        3 
F.  Total Exports                       0          0          0 
G.  Total Imports                       7.0        8.5       10  
H.  Total Imports from U.S.             4.5        5.2        6 
I.  Exchange Rate: one peso equals one dollar.   
 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
Comments: 
 
Demand for scientific and laboratory instruments is expected to increase 
in Argentina as a result of the privatization of several basic 
industries formerly controlled by the Government and planned 
environmental projects. The traditional users, the food processing, 
chemical, and pharmaceutical industries will continue to generate 
demand, but at a smaller growth rate. The need for scientific and 
laboratory instruments is also expected to increase because of 
modernization and upgrading in other industry sectors.   
 
The import liberalization program is a challenge for local 
manufacturing. Firms which do not equip themselves with cost-effective, 
state-of-the-art machinery, will be affected by better quality, lower-
priced imported finished products. This results in very little research 
and development, and therefore, fewer scientific instrumentation 
imports. On the other hand, some firms have made the strategic decision 
to equip themselves with new, more automated production equipment in 
order to bring costs down. The next logical step for these firms would 
be to upgrade their quality control instrumentation.  
 
The negative impact of the Mexican crisis in early 1995, forcing the 
Government to make severe budget cuts, has had a negative effect on the 
short-term Argentine market for laboratory and scientific instruments, 
especially in state universities and Government-backed research 
institutions.  Local production only satisfies 12 percent of the total 
demand.  
 
U.S. firms enjoy a healthy 30 percent share of the Argentine market. 
There is strong competition from Japanese and German companies, who can 
ofer good quality products and competitive prices mainly due to supplier 
credits.  
 
 
 
BEST PROSPECT SECTORS FOR U.S. EXPORTERS TO ARGENTINA 
       (US$ millions, unless otherwise noted) 
 
A.  Rank: 20 
B.  Name of Sector: APPAREL 
C.  ITA or PS&D Code: APP 
 
 
                                     1994       1995       1996 
 
D.  Total Market Size                 900      1,100      1,342 
E.  Total Local Production            805        980      1,215 
F.  Total Exports                       5          5          7 
G.  Total Imports                     100        125        134  
H.  Total Imports from U.S.            25         30         36 
I.  Exchange Rate: one peso equals one dollar.   
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
Comments: 
 
In April, 1991 the GOA opened the market for apparel imports. Tariffs 
were reduced to 20% for apparel in 1992 (down from over 100%). In March 
of 1995, however, following the crisis triggered by the devaluation of 
the Mexican currency, import duties were raised by an additional 10 
percent. An attractive feature of marketing in Argentina is that the 
apparel season is exactly opposite that in the United States, which 
means that for this fall (Argentine autumn: March, April, May), a U.S. 
manufacturer could display fall/winter products from last year's lines 
rather than spring/summer '96 lines.  
 
Most Argentine manufacturers are unable to compete with American 
manufacturers because of lack of economies of scale.  While the 
Argentine industry remains production-oriented, it has suffered from 
competition from imports since the liberalzaion in 1991. Acceptable 
quality at very high cost characterizes Argentine apparel output. A new 
group of market-oriented vendors has emerged, initially importing 
products for sale in exclusive stores. The success of targeting the 
middle and upper-middle class markets snowballed. Vendors have achieved 
a cost-effective mix of imports and local production but remain 
receptive to new American suppliers.  Efforts to lower costs have forced 
intermediaries (agent/distributors) out of the system.  
 
Best prospects for American firms to pursue at this time appear to be 
direct sales with the new, progressive local marketers; investment in or 
establishment of  wholly-owned subsidiaries, or investment in an already 
established company. The projected increase in market growth expected 
for the next year is 30%.  The most promising subsectors for 1996 are:  
knit apparel, mens' and womens' casual apparel, childrens' clothing.  
 
 
 
VI. TRADE REGULATIONS AND STANDARDS 
 
The GOA has virtually eliminated all non-tariff barriers and specific 
duties.  It has also reduced the average tariff to about 12 percent and 
the highest tariff to 30 percent (*), except for automobiles, some 
autoparts, and consumer electronics.  It has simplified document 
requirements substantially and opened the trade registry to all 
potential exporters and importers. There are no prohibited imports.  
 
 
TRADE BARRIERS: 
 
The only non-tariff barrier is the tariff/quota system applicable to 
auto and auto parts imports. The Argentine/Brazil auto agreement 
establishes preferential market access treatment for both countries. A 
complicated system of reciprocal obligations exists between Argentina 
and Brazil. Foreign auto manufacturers (including U.S. firms) in these 
countries receive national treatment. 
 
Argentina has agreed to remove export performance requirements on 
foreign auto manufactures by 1998. 
 
The structure of tariffs (which apply to the C.I.F. value in Argentina) 
is the following: 
 
     10 percent tariff on almost all capital goods 
     2-14 percent on agricultural products 
     2-16 percent on most industrial inputs and raw materials 
     20-30 percent on all consumer goods (*) 
 
In addition to the tariffs, the following fees and taxes are applied: 
 
-- 3 percent statistics fee on the CIF value, except for capital goods. 
-- 21 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on the CIF value plus tariff 
   plus statistics fee. 
-- 9-10 percent advanced VAT on CIF plus tariff, plus statistics fee  
   on all imports, depending on the frequency of importation (deductible 
   from gross income tax). Except for goods imported directly by the 
   user. 
-- 3 percent anticipated profits tax on all consumer goods (deductible 
   from gross income tax). Except for goods imported directly by the 
   user. 
 
The Mercosur trade arrangement should be followed closely to ensure that 
third parties are not disadvantaged by any agreements which may be 
reached between Argentina and other members. 
 
(*) Raised from 20 percent in March, 1995 for a period of one year. 
 
 
IMPORT LICENSES 
 
Import licenses are not required for any import, except autos which are 
subject to a special regime. (See below). 
 
 
DRAWBACK 
 
This regime provides a mechanism for refunding various import charges.  
The following charges are rebated: tariffs; the 3 percent statistical 
fee on imports; and the value-added tax of 21 percent. 
 
 
TEMPORARY ADMISSION REGIME (TAR) 
 
The TAR regime can be used for imported primary and intermediate goods.  
The exports must be completed in 180 days from the admission of imported 
inputs. 
 
 
ANTI-DUMPING AND COUNTERVAILING DUTY LAWS 
 
Regulations define "dumping" to exist when the export price of imported 
merchandise is lower than the comparable sales price in normal 
commercial operations of identical, or similar goods destined for 
consumption in the domestic market of the country of origin. 
 
The Argentine fair trade laws are based on Article VI of the GATT under 
Customs Code Law 22,415. 
 
 
IMPORT TARIFFS AND TAXES 
 
The Argentine tariff classification system --Harmonized System (HS)-- 
was implemented on January 1, 1992 and is aligned with the GATT Customs 
Classification Code adopted in 1979. 
 
Customs Duties: The HS classification is used for specifying tariff 
rates.  Ad valorem duties are assessed on the C.I.F.  value of the 
imported merchandise.  The average unweighted tariff is approximately 9 
percent, while duty rates range from 2.5 percent to 15 percent.  The top 
duty rate of 32 percent applies to virtually all finished goods, except 
capital goods not produced in Argentina where, in general, a ten percent 
duty applies. For some items, the duty is zero.  Argentina has accepted 
(with reservations) the GATT "Customs Valuation Code." 
 
Import Restrictions: Only a few remain in effect.  Permanent quotas 
remain on goods such as automobiles. Temporary quotas exist on paper, 
pulp and a few other items. Other goods such as pharmaceuticals, 
foodstuffs, defense materials and other particular items require the 
approval of the related Government department. 
 
Import Charges: In addition to the duties applied to most products 
entering the Argentine market, there is a 3 percent import statistics 
fee applied to the CIF value of all goods landed in Argentina.  The CIF 
value plus the duty and the import statistics fee constitute the base 
for the application of domestic taxes.   
 
The office which drafts customs rules, regulations and tariffs is the 
Direccion Nacional de Impuestos, Ministerio de Economia, Hipolito 
Yrigoyen 250, Oficina 606, 1310 Buenos Aires, Argentina.  Tel: (54-1) 
331-7330; (54-1) 30-0661; Technical Administration for Imports; Azopardo 
350, 1st.  floor, 1328 Buenos Aires.  Tel: (54-1) 343-0661/0669.  Fax: 
(54-1) 331-9881. 
 
 
ILLUSTRATIVE STUDY OF DIRECT IMPORT COSTS  
 
Base Price                US$ 100.00 
Freight 8 pct (average)         8.00 
C&F                       US$ 108.00 
Insurance 1.5 pct of C&F        1.62 
Dutiable Base =  CIF      US$ 109.62 
10 pct Duty (or other 
 applicable duty rate)(*)      10.96 
3 pct Statistics Tax on CIF     3.28 
VAT Base                  US$ 123.86 
 
Port Costs (unloading, storage, 
etc.  - approximately 6 pct)      US$   6.58 
Freight Forwarder fees 
 (1.5 pct on CIF) (**)                  1.64 
Bank charges 
 (Draft of Letter of Credit, 1.5 to 
  2 pct of FOB) (**)                    2.00 
                                  US$ 134.08 
VAT 21 pct                             24.13 
VAT (9 pct advance or 8 pct 
   infrequent importer on  
   VAT Base) (***)                     12.06 
3 pct Anticipated profits tax on 
  VAT Base CIF (only on items 
  for direct consumption) (****)        3.71 
 
GRAND TOTAL -------------------   US$ 173.98 
 
Notes: 
 
(*) Duty rates range: ten percent on capital goods not produced in 
Argentina; 2.5-to-15 pct on intermediate goods and semi-finished goods; 
20 pct on finished goods which compete with Argentine manufactured 
products. 
 
(**) These amounts subject to 21 pct VAT on some services. 
 
(***) The advance payment of 10 pct on the VAT applies to non-registered 
or infrequent importers (i.e., companies or individuals who are usually 
importing primarily for their own use.  The tax paid by infrequent 
importers is not deductible from their income tax liability.  The 
advance payment of the VAT is 9 pct for registered or frequent importers 
(usually firms importing goods for production); it is deductible from 
income tax liability. 
 
(****) This applies to consumer goods directly sold in the Argentine 
market. 
 
 
STANDARDS 
 
Argentine requirements/standards may have to be used; however, U.S., 
British, or similar requirements or standards may be acceptable. Follow 
importer's instructions. 
 
Standard Code: Argentina has signed (subject to ratification by 
Argentine legislative bodies) the "Standards Code" negotiated and 
accepted during the Tokyo Round of MTN negotiations under the GATT. 
 
For specific information regarding existing foreign agriculture 
standards and testing, packaging and certification systems, contact the 
Office of Food Safety and Technical Services, Foreign Agricultural 
Service, 14th and Independence Ave., Room 4951-S, Washington, D.C. 
20250-1000, Tel: (202) 720-1301. 
 
For non-agricultural standards and their testing and certification 
systems, contact the National Center for Standards and Certification 
Information, National Institute of Standards and Certification 
Information, National Institute of Standards and Technology, TRF 
Building, Room A163, Gaithersburg, MD 20899. Tel: (301)975-4040. U.S. 
exporters can also find more information on foreign standards from the 
American National Standards Institute, 11 W. 42nd. St., New York, N.Y. 
10036. Tel: (212)642-4900. 
 
 
FOREIGN TRADE ZONES/FREE PORTS 
 
Argentine free ports were authorized by law early in this century, but 
the zones which exist are inactive. 
 
 
 
VII. INVESTMENT CLIMATE 
 
 
ARGENTINA INVESTMENT CLIMATE STATEMENT 1995 
 
 
OPENNESS TO FOREIGN INVESTMENT 
 
Foreign direct investment is an essential element of Argentina's 
economic growth.  Argentina's climate for foreign investment is one of 
the most favorable in Latin America.  The Menem administration has 
encouraged foreign investment through national treatment under a free 
foreign exchange and capital movement regime without wage or price 
controls.  Foreign investors, including many U.S. corporations, operate 
in major economic sectors. 
 
Decree 1853, of September 8, 1993, governs foreign investment in 
Argentina.  Foreign companies may invest in Argentina without 
registration or prior Government approval on the same terms as investors 
domiciled in Argentina.  A U.S.-Argentina agreement for reciprocal 
promotion and protection of investments entered into force in October 
1994. 
 
Investors are free to enter Argentina via the most convenient vehicle:  
merger, acquisition, greenfield investment or joint venture.  Foreign 
firms are among the most prominent participants in Argentina's ambitious 
privatization program, which includes oil, gas, electric power, 
telecommunications, transportation, water and sewer sectors.  Foreign 
firms may also participate in publicly financed research and development 
programs on a national treatment basis. 
 
Foreign and Argentine firms face the same tax liabilities.  In general, 
taxes are assessed on consumption, imports, assets, property and payroll 
(social security and related benefits).  There is no tax on dividends.  
Legislation enacted in 1993 and 1994 provides for special tax incentives 
to encourage investment in mining. 
 
There are very few sectors in which Argentina reserves the right to 
maintain exceptions to national treatment for U.S. investors:  real 
estate in border areas, air transportation, shipbuilding, nuclear 
energy, uranium mining, insurance and fishing.  Foreign firms can enter 
the fishing and insurance industries by purchasing an interest in 
existing firms.  No new licenses in these sectors are being issued.  
Foreigners must obtain permission of the Ministry of Defense's 
Superintendency for Frontiers to invest in non-mining activities in 
border areas. 
 
Businesses in Argentina--foreign and domestic alike--still face 
occasional cases involving inconsistent application of regulations and 
corruption.  The situation for foreign investors has nevertheless 
improved dramatically in Argentina since 1989.  Further improvement in 
the judicial system and transparency will provide an even better 
environment for all long-term investors. 
 
 
INVESTMENT AND PRIVATIZATIONS 
 
Foreign investors are not required to register in Argentina, and the 
Government does not report foreign investment data systematically.  The 
Embassy estimates that direct U.S. investment in Argentina during 1994 
was at least $2 billion (figure excludes portfolio investment).  Major 
sectors for U.S. investment are telecommunications, energy, food 
processing and motor vehicles.   
 
A bilateral investment agreement between the U.S. and Argentina went 
into effect in October 1994, the first such agreement to be implemented 
in South America.  The U.S. and Argentina also have an OPIC agreement 
and an active EXIMBANK program.  Argentina is one of the largest 
portfolios for both agencies. 
 
The Government hopes that the sale of the Atucha II nuclear power plant 
and National Mint will yield $3 billion.  The actual sales price is 
expected to be be much less.  Sale of Argentina's shares in the Yacyreta 
and Salto Grande hydroelectric power projects has been announced for 
late 1995.  The Government has announced privatization of the Argentine 
postal service, which already lost its monopoly and competes with 
several large private mail companies.  U.S. consulting firms are 
preparing studies for privatization of 60 Argentine airports by the end 
of the year. 
 
 
CONVERSION AND TRANSFER POLICIES 
 
All restrictions on the movement on capital to or from Argentina were 
eliminated in 1989.  Under the Convertibility Law of 1991, the Central 
Bank of Argentina maintains the value of the Argentine Peso at one-to-
one parity with the U.S. Dollar in free market conditions. 
 
Investments may be made freely in any convertible currency, in capital 
goods, spare parts, accessories, in profits earned locally or other 
capital belonging to foreign investors.  All private sector 
transactions, including all loans and payments, may be carried-out in 
the foreign exchange market without restriction. 
 
In accordance with Article V of Decree 1853/93, foreign investors may, 
at any time, repatriate capital and remit earnings abroad.  Foreign 
investors may borrow domestically with the same rights and on the same 
terms as Argentine firms.  Article V of the U.S.-Argentina bilateral 
agreement also provides for free, prompt transfers related to 
investments. 
 
 
EXPROPRIATION AND COMPENSATION 
 
The Argentine Government has not resorted to expropriation since its 
economic reform program began in 1989.  Article IV of the U.S.-Argentina 
Agreement on Promotion and Protection of Investment states that 
investments shall not be expropriated or nationalized except for public 
purpose upon payment of prompt, fair-market value compensation. 
 
We are aware of only one unresolved claim involving property of a U.S. 
firm which dates to the mid-1970s. 
 
 
DISPUTE SETTLEMENT 
 
Investment disputes can be adjudicated through local courts or 
administrative procedures.  The Government of Argentina accepts the 
principle of international arbitration.  The bilateral investment 
agreement between the United States and Argentina provides for binding 
international arbitration of investment disputes which cannot be settled 
through amicable consultation and negotiation between the parties. 
 
The Government of Argentina is a party to the International Center for 
the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and the World Bank's 
Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). 
 
 
POLITICAL VIOLENCE 
 
Argentina has implemented major democratic reforms since 1983 and 
economic reforms since 1989 with very few incidents of political 
violence.  Government employees in Santiago del Estero rioted against a 
corrupt local administration in December 1993.  Violent disturbances of 
limited scope occurred in 1994 and 1995 in Cordoba, Tucuman, Jujuy, and 
Tierra del Fuego.  These actions were directed against local 
administrations or employers for non-payment of wages, and did not 
involve protests against foreign investment. 
 
 
PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS/INCENTIVES 
 
No performance requirements are aimed specifically at foreign investors.  
Government incentives apply to foreign and domestic firms.  The Ministry 
of Economy administers a complex incentive and trade regime for auto 
manufacturers. 
 
 
RIGHT TO PRIVATE OWNERSHIP AND ESTABLISHMENT 
 
Foreign and domestic investors have free and equal rights to establish 
and own businesses, or to acquire and dispose of interests in businesses 
without discrimination. 
 
 
PROTECTION OF PROPERTY RIGHTS 
 
Argentina adheres to various treaties and international agreements on 
intellectual property and belongs to the World Intellectual Property 
Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).  Argentina 
signed the final acts of the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade 
negotiations.  The Argentine Congress ratified the Uruguay Round 
agreements including the provisions on intellectual property as law 
24.425 on January 5, 1995. 
 
Patents:  Patent law is the weakest element in Argentine intellectual 
property rights.  Since 1864, Argentina has excluded pharmaceuticals 
from patenting.  It also postpones pharmaceutical patenting until 2003.  
Patent legislation which passed the Argentine Congress over a 
presidential veto in May 1995 is seriously flawed and conflicts with 
some GATT provisions.  The executive branch vetoed 16 provisions of this 
law but the Congress overrode 10.  The Executive is negotiating possible 
corrective legislation with the Congress.  The controversial law which 
Congress approved had not been promulgated as of early June 1995.   
 
Copyrights and Trademarks:  Intellectual property protection for books, 
films, music, and software in Argentina has improved since 1989 and is 
generally adequate.  Protection is extended to computer software.  
Argentine authorities have made efforts to combat piracy of videotapes 
and other copyrighted material.  The Government has improved the process 
for trademark registration, and recognizes the concept of trade secrets 
in contract law. 
 
 
REGULATORY SYSTEM:  LAWS AND PROCEDURES 
 
Since 1991, the Argentine Government has eliminated many statist 
restrictions on domestic and foreign trade of goods and services, and on 
financial markets.  Argentina still has outdated comprehensive labor 
regulations which hinder business.  Social charges and other taxes add, 
on average, about 60 percent of base wages to the cost of labor.  As a 
result, the labor market is unduly rigid.  Comprehensive reforms of 
labor law and of union-managed health care organizations are Government 
priorities.  Private capital pension funds, launched in 1994, have 
promoted increased domestic savings. 
 
 
BILATERAL INVESTMENT AGREEMENTS 
 
The Governments of Argentina and the United States signed an agreement 
for reciprocal promotion and protection of investments in 1991.  The 
agreement was amended, ratified by the Congresses of both countries, and 
entered into force on October 20, 1994. 
 
Argentina has also concluded investment promotion and protection 
agreements with Canada, many European Union members, other Central and 
Eastern European countries, and countries in North Africa and Latin 
America. 
 
 
OPIC AND OTHER INVESTMENT INSURANCE PROGRAMS 
 
Argentina signed in 1989 a comprehensive agreement with the Overseas 
Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).  Argentina is also a member of 
the World Bank's Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). 
 
 
LABOR 
 
Argentine workers are more highly educated and better paid, on average, 
than labor in other Latin American countries.  Economic reforms and the 
introduction of labor-saving technologies have increased demand for 
highly skilled workers but reduced employment opportunities for 
unskilled workers. 
 
The sharp decrease in demand for labor can be attributed to (a) 
restructuring of firms; (b) layoffs resulting from privatizations; and 
more recently (c) closings of small and medium-sized enterprises unable 
to survive without affordable credit and access to export markets.  The 
rigid labor code has been a serious disincentive in the hiring of new 
employees.  However, in March 1995, the Argentine Congress passed an 
administration proposal that gives small and medium-sized enterprises 
greater flexibility in personnel management.  The modernization of the 
legal framework will help create a more conducive environment for job 
growth. 
 
 
CAPITAL OUTFLOW POLICY 
 
Argentine firms have increased investment in Brazil and other 
neighboring countries.  Argentina is still a large net recipient of 
foreign direct investment.  
 
 
MAJOR FOREIGN INVESTORS 
 
The list of foreign investors in Argentina is extensive.  Major 
investors include AT&T, AMOCO, Alcan, Bank of Boston, Bell South, 
British Gas, Cargill, Carrefour, Chrysler, Citibank, Coca-Cola, Colgate-
Palmolive, Crown Cork, Cynamid, Diamond Shamrock, Dow Chemical, Du pont, 
Eastman Kodak, Enron, EXXON, FMC, Fiat, Ford, France Telecom, General 
Motors, Gillette, Goodyear, Hewlett Packard, Honeywell, IBM, Kimberley 
Clark, Kraft, Marriott, Mercedes-Benz, Merck, Mobil, Motorola, Nabisco, 
Occidental Petroleum, Pepsico, Peugeot, Pfizer, Philip Morris, Renault, 
Reynolds, Scania, Schering-Plough, Shell, Sheraton, Swift Armour, TCI, 
Telefonica of Spain, 3M, Toyota, Union Camp, United Technologies, 
Volkswagen, WalMart, Xerox. 
 
U.S. direct investment in Argentina has grown from $2.7 billion in 1991 
to $6.3 billion in 1994.  The major sectors are: manufacturing 53 
percent; wholesale trade 15 percent; finance 15 percent; banking 4 
percent; services 2 percent.  The U.S. financial investment position has 
gone from $2 billion in the 4th. quarter of 1992 to $6.2 billion in the 
same period of 1993 and to $5.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 1994. 
In the first quarter of 1995 it has decreased to $3.4 billion. 
 
 
 
VIII.  TRADE AND PROJECT FINANCING 
 
 
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF BANKING SYSTEM 
 
The Argentine banking industry is still reestablishing credibility 
following decades of mismanagement. Argentina's banks have been 
particularly vulnerable to negative external shocks. Following the 
Mexican financial crisis of December, 1994, bank asset values 
deteriorated sharply. The weakest banks, which suffered significant 
losses of deposits, generated liquidity problems that threatened the 
whole system. The Government has encouraged consolidation of private 
banks and has begun reform of provincial banks. 
 
Argentina is "overbanked" but the system is very concentrated. As of mid 
1995, the largest 20 of Argentina's 150 banks controlled about 80 
percent of the market. Public sector banks retain a monopoly on public 
sector deposits and administration of public sector funds. 
 
Eight U.S. -based banks have been active in the local banking market. 
Together, they operate 80 offices in Argentina. Two U.S. banks, Bank of 
Boston and Citibank, are among the oldest and largest foreign retail 
banks in Argentina. 
 
 
FOREIGN EXCHANGE CONTROLS AFFECTING TRADE 
 
Access to foreign exchange is free. There are no currency exchange 
controls in Argentina. 
 
 
GENERAL FINANCING AVAILABILITY 
 
Commercial banks offer loans to creditworthy importers, although 
interest rates are very high by U.S. standards.  The U.S. Export-Import 
Bank (Eximbank) is on cover for public and private sectors, and Eximbank 
guarantees some of the many trade facilities from U.S. commercial banks. 
 
 
HOW TO FINANCE EXPORTS/METHODS OF PAYMENT 
 
U.S. exporters should consult their local commercial bank and Eximbank 
about availability of financing exports to Argentina. 
 
 
TYPES OF AVAILABLE EXPORT FINANCING AND INSURANCE 
 
Eximbank's short, medium and long-term programs are available to support 
U.S. exports to Argentina to the public and private sectors when the 
obligor and guarantor is a highly creditworthy entity. Most of 
Eximbank's recent business in Argentina has been supported through 
credit guarantee facilities (guaranteed lines of credit extended by U.S. 
banks to Argentine banks). For further information on loans and 
guarantees, contact Eximbank Latin American Division, 811 Vermont 
Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20571. Tel: (202) 565-3409. 
 
Multilateral development banks (such as the World Bank and Inter-
American Development Bank) do not usually finance U.S. -Argentine trade. 
These programs in Argentina are usually limited to project financing for 
the public sector. Local banks offer credit, although interest rates on 
loans are usually much higher than in the United States. 
 
 
PROJECT FINANCING AVAILABLE 
 
The World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank finance a range of 
public sector projects, including administrative and provincial reform, 
power, transportation, mining, health, water and sanitation, among 
others. 
 
 
BANKS WITH CORRESPONDENT U.S. BANKING ARRANGEMENTS 
 
Citibank and Bank of Boston have large retail banking operations in 
Argentina. 
 
American Express Bank, Bank of America, Chase Manhattan Bank, Chemical 
Bank, Morgan Guaranty Trust, Bankers Trust, Republic National Bank, The 
Bank of New York, Norwest Bank, Firstar Bank of Milwaukee, and Republic 
National Bank of Miami have subsidiaries or representatives in Buenos 
Aires. Most Argentine banks maintain correspondent arrangements with 
U.S. banks. 
 
 
 
IX. BUSINESS TRAVEL 
 
Visas are no longer required for U.S. citizens traveling to Argentina 
except for Diplomatic and Official passports.  U.S. Tourist passport 
holders are granted an automatic 90 day visa on entry. 
 
The best months for business travel to Argentina are April through 
November. 
 
 
BUSINESS CUSTOMS 
 
Office hours are generally from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.  
Banking hours are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.  A 
prior appointment for a business call is usually necessary and 
considered a courtesy.  Negotiations are based on personal contacts. 
 
Business dress, appearance and general approach should be  
conservative. 
 
All business in Argentina is transacted in Spanish, and all documents 
and records must be in Spanish to constitute valid evidence.  Although 
most Argentines with a secondary school education understand English, a 
good working knowledge of Spanish is essential for anyone planning to 
work in Argentina for any length of time. 
 
 
BUSINESS HOLIDAYS (1996) 
 
National holidays are:  
- January 1, New Year's Day 
- April 14, Good Friday 
- May 1, Labor Day 
- May 25, Revolution (1810) Day 
- June 10, Sovereignty Day 
- June 19, Flag Day (Actual date: June 20) 
- July 9, Independence (1816) Day 
- August 17, Death of General J. de San Martin 
- October 16, Columbus Day (Actual date: October 12) 
- December 25, Christmas.   
 
In addition, on a number of 'non-work days', Government offices, banks, 
insurance companies and courts are closed, but closing is optional for 
business and commerce.  These are: Holy Thursday and Good Friday 
(immediately before Easter) and December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate 
Conception.  The U.S. Embassy observes all U.S. Federal holidays in 
addition to the above. 
 
Argentines take vacations in January and February, the summer season, so 
business travel to Argentina at that time would be frustrating because 
most of the business community is closed or on a limited work schedule. 
 
 
TELECOMMUNICATIONS 
 
International services are adequate.  The new owners of the privatized 
telephone system have vastly improved operations.  Many business people 
use cellular telephones to make their work more efficient.  Both 
domestic and international long distance calls in Argentina are notably 
expensive; doubly so from hotels.  ATT, MCI and Sprint have local 
numbers which halve the cost, but are infernally hard to connect with 
during business hours.  Call-back services are available for established 
businesses.  
 
 
TRANSPORTATION 
 
Buenos Aires has an extensive system of subways and buses.  Taxis are 
plentiful and fares are reasonable.  Railroad travel to the suburbs is 
available from several stations in downtown Buenos Aires.  Travel 
outside greater Buenos Aires can be accomplished by train, air, bus or 
auto.  Two main airports serve Buenos Aires.  One is Aeroparque Jorge 
Newbery, near downtown.  All domestic flights and some regional flights 
to Uruguay, Brazil and Paraguay leave from Aeroparque.  All other 
international flights use Ezeiza Airport, which is a 45 minute drive 
($50 cab fare) from downtown Buenos Aires. 
 
 
HEALTH 
 
Buenos Aires has no particular health risks and no special precautions 
need to be taken.  Sanitary conditions are good.  Tap water is safe.  
Many competent doctors, dentists and specialists are available in Buenos 
Aires. 
 
 
SECURITY ASSESSMENT 
 
There are no specific threats directed against American visitors 
at the present time.  It is recommended, however, that due caution be 
exercised when traveling about the city.  Pickpockets and thieves have 
become a real problem on the streets, in public conveyances and in areas 
frequented by visitors, such as hotel lobbies, airports and department 
stores. 
 
 
 
X. APPENDICES 
 
APPENDIX A: COUNTRY DATA 
 
1.  Profile 
  - population: 32.6 million (1990 census) 
  - population growth rate: 1.4 pct per annum 
  - religion: Christian (predominantly Roman Catholic)  
  - Government system: constitutional federal republic  
  - language: Spanish 
  - work week: Monday - Friday 
 
 
APPENDIX B: DOMESTIC ECONOMY 
 
KEY ECONOMIC INDICATORS 
(in billions of U.S. Dollars, unless otherwise noted) 
                           1993     1994      1995 (*) 
INCOME, PRODUCTION, EMPLOYMENT  
GDP (at current prices)     257     279       282 
Population (millions)        33.3    33.6      34.1 
Real GDP Growth (pct)         6.0     6.5       1.0 
GDP by Sector (pct/GDP) 
      Agriculture                7.3       7.0      7.1 
      Manufacturing             26.6      27.5     26.8 
      Mining                     2.3       2.3      2.4 
      Services                  55.9      56.0     55.0 
      GDP Per Capita (usd)      7,644     8,209    8,270 
      Labor Force (000s)       12,880    13,126   13,978 
Unemployment Rate (pct)          9.3      12.2     15.0 
 
 
MONEY AND PRICES 
 
M1 Growth (pct)             31.0      10.0     -3.5 
Commercial Interest Rates 
  on 180 day Deposits        7.8       8.9      9.7 
Savings as pct of GDP       15.9      13.5     18.0 
Investment as pct of GDP    17.7      20.0     21.0 
wholesale prices pct change  0.1       4.0      5.0 
CPI, pct change              7.4       3.6      4.7 
Avg Exchange Rate (PESO/US$)  .9990    1.0      1.0 
 
 
APPENDIX C:  TRADE         
 
Total Exports (FOB)         13.1      15.7     20.0 
Exports to U.S. (FOB)        1.3       1.8      2.3 
Total Imports (CIF)         16.8      21.5     20.0 
Imports from U.S.(FAS)       3.8       4.5      4.5 
Trade balance               -3.7      -5.8       0  
Trade balance with the U.S. -2.5      -2.7     -2.2 
Current Account Balance     -7.6     -10.4     -3.0 
Foreign Currency External Public Debt 
                            62.8      70.1     74.0 
Debt Service Payments        4.2       3.3      5.2 
Gold and foreign exchange reserves 
                            15.0      17.3          12.0 
 
NOTE: 
(*) Data for 1995 are projections. 
 
Principal U.S. Exports to Argentina:  nuclear machinery, boilers, and 
mechanical equipment; electrical machinery and equipment; optical, 
photographic, and cinematographic equipment; vehicles other than 
railway; plastics; organic chemicals; miscellaneous chemical products; 
aircraft; mineral fuels and oils. 
 
Principal U.S. imports from Argentina:  precious and semiprecious 
stones; mineral fuels and oils; fruits and nuts; animal and vegetable 
products; miscellaneous machinery; iron and steel; iron and steel 
articles; leather articles; tobacco. 
 
 
APPENDIX D:  INVESTMENT STATISTICS 
 
      U.S. Direct Investment Position, by Industry 
              (in U.S. million) 
 
                    1991      1992      1993      1994      1995 
                                 (estimated) 
Petroleum            409       499       566        60       450 
Manufacturing      1,461     1,633     1,993     2,835     2,430 
Banking              148       159       135      N.A.      N.A. 
Wholesale trade      361       430       552       650      N.A. 
Finance              302       538       578       789       100 
Services              49        60        77       960       750  
Other Industries      36        35       455       831     1,520 
 
Total              2,767     3,353     4,355     6,300     5,250 
 
 
Sources: USDOC Survey of Current Business 
         GOA Ministry of Economy 
 
 
APPENDIX E: U.S. AND COUNTRY CONTACTS: 
 
- COUNTRY Government AGENCIES: 
 
MINISTERIO DE ECONOMIA (Ministry of Economy) 
Contact: Dr. Domingo F. Cavallo (Minister) 
Hipolito Yrigoyen 250 
1310 Buenos Aires 
Phone: (54-1) 342-6411; 342-6421/29 
Fax: (54-1) 331-0292 
 
SECRETARIA DE COMERCIO E INVERSIONES (Secretariat of Trade and  
   Investment) 
   Contact: Dr. Carlos Eduardo Sanchez 
   Hipolito Yrigoyen 250 
   1310 Buenos Aires 
   Phone: (54-1) 331-2208 
 
  -SECRETARIA DE MINERIA (Secretariat of Mining) 
   Contact: Mr. Angel Eduardo Maza 
   Av. J. A. Roca 651 
   1322 Buenos Aires 
   Phone: (54-1) 331-9954, 343-6314 
 
  -SECRETARIA DE ENERGIA E HIDROCARBUROS (Secretariat of Energy  
   and Hydrocarbons) 
   Contact: Ing. Carlos Manuel Bastos 
   Av. J. A. Roca 651 
   1322 Buenos Aires 
   Phone: (54-1) 334-5138; 343-0890; 343-7118/7138 
   Fax: (54-1) 343-6404 
 
  -SECRETARIA DE AGRICULTURA, GANADERIA Y PESCA 
   (Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries) 
   Contact: Ing. Felipe Sola 
   Av. Paseo Colon 982 
   1063 Buenos Aires 
   Phone: (54-1) 362-2365, 362-5091 
   Fax: (54-1) 349-2504 
 
  -SECRETARIA DE TRANSPORTE  
   (Secretariat of Transportation) 
   Contact: Lic. Edmundo del Valle Soria 
   Av. 9 de julio 1925 
   1332 Buenos Aires 
   Phone: (54-1) 381-1435/4007 
 
MINISTERIO DE RELACIONES EXTERIORES 
(Ministry of Foreign Affairs) 
Contact: Ing. Guido Mario Di Tella-Minister 
Reconquista 1088 
1003 Buenos Aires 
Phone: (54-1) 331-0071/9 
Fax: (54-1) 312-3593/3423 
 
  -SECRETARIA DE RELACIONES ECONOMICAS INTERNACIONALES 
   (Secretariat of International Economic Relations) 
   Contact: Ing. Jorge Campbell 
   Reconquista 1088 
   1003 Buenos Aires 
   Phone: (54-1) 331-7281/4073 
   Fax: (54-1) 312-0965 
 
MINISTERIO DE DEFENSA 
(Ministry of Defense) 
Contact: Dr. Oscar H. Camilion 
Paseo Colon 255 
1063 Buenos Aires 
Phone: (54-1) 343-1561/9 
 
MINISTERIO DE SALUD PUBLICA Y ACCION SOCIAL 
(Ministry of Public Health and Social Action) 
Contact: Dr. Alberto Jose Mazza (Minister) 
Defensa 120 
1345 Buenos Aires 
Phone: (54-1) 34-0048 
Fax: (54-1) 953-3223 
 
MINISTERIO DE CULTURA Y EDUCACION 
(Ministry of Culture and Education) 
Contact: Ing. Agr. Jorge A. Rodriguez 
Pizzurno 935 
1020 Buenos Aires 
Phone: (54-1) 42-4551/9 
 
MINISTERIO DE JUSTICIA (Ministry of Justice) 
Contact: Dr. Jorge Luis Maiorano 
Gelly Obes 2289 
1425 Buenos Aires 
Phone: (54-1) 803-4051/2/3 
Fax: (54-1) 803-3955 
 
MINISTERIO DEL INTERIOR (Ministry of the Interior) 
Contact: Dr. Carlos V. Corach - Minister 
Balcarce 24 
1064 Buenos Aires 
Phone: (54-1) 46-9841/9 
 
MINISTERIO DE TRABAJO Y SEGURIDAD SOCIAL 
(Ministry of Labor and Social Security) 
Contact: Dr. Jose Armando Caro Figueroa 
Av. L.N. Alem 650 
1001 Buenos Aires 
Phone: (54-1) 311-3303/2945 
 
ADMINISTRACION NACIONAL DE ADUANAS 
(Customs Administration) 
Contact: Lic. Gustavo A. Parino - Administrador Nacional 
Azopardo 350 
1328 Buenos Aires 
Phone: (54-1) 331-7606/35 
Fax: (54-1) 331-9881; 345-1778 
 
 
COUNTRY TRADE ASSOCIATIONS/CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE 
 
CAMARA ARGENTINA DE COMERCIO (Argentine Chamber of Commerce) 
Mr. Jorge Luis Di Fiori, President 
Av. L.N. Alem 36, P.B. 
1003 Buenos Aires 
Phone: (54-1) 311-8051/5     
Fax: (54-1) 342-6371 
 
CAMARA DE COMERCIO DE LOS ESTADOS UNIDOS EN ARGENTINA 
(American Chamber of Commerce in Argentina) 
Mr. Félix Zumelzu, Executive Director  
Av. L. N. Alem 1110, Piso 13 
1001 Buenos Aires 
Phone: (54-1) 311-5420/5126 
Fax: 311-9076 
 
UNION INDUSTRIAL ARGENTINA 
(Argentine Industry Association) 
Mr. Jorge Blanco Villegas, President 
Av. Leandro N. Alem 1067 
Pisos 10 y 11 
1001 Buenos Aires 
Phone: (54-1) 313-2561/2611, 311-6188/8429 
 
CAMARA DE IMPORTADORES DE LA REPUBLICA ARGENTINA 
(Chamber of Importers) 
Mr. Diego Pérez Santisteban, President 
Av. Belgrano 427, Piso 7 
1092 Buenos Aires 
Phone: (54-1) 342-1101/0523 
Fax: (54-1) 331- 9342 
 
CAMARA DE COMERCIO EXTERIOR DEL CENTRO DE LA REPUBLICA 
(Chamber of Foreign Trade of Central Argentina) 
Eng. Víctor Mucaria, President 
Av. Callao 332, P.B. 
1022 Buenos Aires 
Phone: (54-1) 46-6912 
 
SOCIEDAD RURAL ARGENTINA 
(Argentine Agricultural Association) 
Mr. Eduardo A. C. de Zavalía, President 
Florida 460 
1005 Buenos Aires 
Phone: (54-1) 322-3431/2030 
 
BOLSA DE COMERCIO DE Buenos Aires 
(Buenos Aires Stock Exchange) 
Dr. Julio A. Macchi, President 
Sarmiento 299, Piso 1 
1353 Buenos Aires 
Phone: (54-1) 311-5231/33/1174; 313-4812/4544 
Fax: (54-1) 312-9332 
 
CAMARA DE COMERCIO EXTERIOR DE CORDOBA 
(Chamber of Foreign Trade of Cordoba) 
Mr. Héctor Linares, President 
Av. Callao 332, P.B. 
1022 Buenos Aires 
Phone: (54-1) 374-6912 
 
COUNTRY MARKET RESEARCH FIRMS 
 
R.G. ASOCIADOS 
Defensa 649, P. 5 "A" 
1265 Buenos Aires 
Phone: 342-9355 
 
A&C 
Salta 1007 
1074 Buenos Aires 
Contact: Dr. Carlos Kaplan 
Phone: (54-1) 27-9007; 304-6309/8213 
Fax: (54-1) 27-8800 
 
GUILLERMO BRAVO Y ASOCIADOS 
Av. de Mayo 1480 E.P. 
Buenos Aires 
Contact: Dr. Guillermo Bravo 
Phone/Fax: (54-1) 381-7892/2540/5625 
 
MERCADOS DIRECTOS 
Lavalle 1515, Piso 1 
(1048) Buenos Aires 
Tel: (54-1) 375-0772/73 
Fax: (54-1) 375-2012 
 
 
 
APPENDIX F: MARKET RESEARCH 
 
A complete list of Market Research on different industry sectors of the 
Argentine economy is available on the National Trade Data Bank (NTDB). 
Following is the list of Industry Subsector Analyses (ISAs) and 
anticipated completion dates. 
 
1. Construction Materials and Supplies: CON 
Due date: December 31 
 
2. Telecommunications: TEL 
Due date: December 31 
 
3. Air Pollution Control: POL 
Due date: December 31 
 
4. Medical Equipment and Supplies (new and used): MED 
Due date: March 31   
 
5. Airtraffic Control Equipment, Search, Navigation and Detection: APG  
Due date: March 31 
 
6. Open Pit Mining Machinery: MIN 
Due date: March 31  
 
7. Worker Health and Safety: HCS 
Due date: April 30 
 
8. Cardiological/Cardiovascular Equipment: MED 
Due date: April 30 
 
9. Banking Automation & Security Systems: CPT 
Due date: May 31 
 
10. Health Insurance: HCS 
Due date: June 30 
 
11. Industrial/Commercial Safety and Security Equipment: SEC   
Due date: June 30 
 
12. Rehabilitation Equipment and Software: MED 
Due date: July 31 
 
13. Personal Security equipment: SEC 
Due date: July 31 
 
14. Financial Services: FNS 
Due date: August 30 
 
15. Waste Plastic Recycling Equipment/Technologies: POL 
Due date: August 30 
 
 
APPENDIX G: TRADE EVENT SCHEDULE 
 
Because Trade Event Schedules may change firms should consult the Export 
Promotion Calendar on the NTDB or contact the Post for the latest 
information: Phones: (54-1) 772-1041; 772-8708; 777-2169 
                    Fax: (54-1) 777-0673 
 
 
PROMOTION EVENT PLAN: 
 
A. 
1. Event Name:  State of Michigan Trade Mission 
2. Sector:  Horizontal 
3. Date:  First week of October, 1995 
4. Event Location:  Buenos Aires 
5. State of Michigan - recruited 
 
B. 
1. Event Name: Commonwealth of Massachusetts Trade Mission 
2. Sector: Horizontal                              
3. Date: October 11-14, 1995 
4. Event Location: Buenos Aires 
5. Commonwealth of Massachusetts - recruited 
 
C. 
1. Event Name: The U.S.A. Today Tourism Trade Show  
2. Sector: TOU-Tourism                         
3. Date: October 26, 1995 
4. Event Location: Buenos Aires 
5. CS Buenos Aires - recruited 
 
D.  
1. Event Name: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Trade Mission 
2. Sector: Horizontal                             
3. Date: October 21-25, 1995 
4. Event Location: Buenos Aires 
5. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania - recruited 
 
 
E. 
1. Event Name: Jacksonville, FL Chamber of Commerce Trade Mission 
2. Sector: Horizontal                                
3. Date: October 30 - November 1, 1995 
4. Event Location: Buenos Aires 
5. Jacksonville COC - recruited 
 
F. 
1. Event Name: Multi-State Regional Catalog Show 
2. Sector: Horizontal                                  
3. Date: November 1-3, 1995 
4. Event Location: Buenos Aires 
5. USDOC/CS - recruited 
 
G. 
1. Event Name: Congressman Amo Houghton (NY) Trade Mission 
2. Sector: Horizontal 
3. Date: Week of November 5, 1995 
4. Event Location: Buenos Aires 
5. Congressional District - recruited 
 
H. 
1. Event Name: OTEXA Industrial Fabric Trade Mission 
2. Sector: TXF          
3. Date: Late November - early December, 1995 
4. Event Location: Buenos Aires 
5. USDOC/OTEXA - recruited 
 
I. 
1. Event Name: Destino USA Tourism Exhibition 
2. Sector: TOU                          
3. Date: March, 1996 
4. Event Location: Buenos Aires 
5. CS Buenos Aires - recruited 
 
J. 
1. Event Name: Power Expo '96                         
2. Sector: ELP 
3. Date: March, 1996                  
4. Event Location: Buenos Aires 
5. USDOC/TD - recruited 
 
K. 
1. Event Name: State of Rhode Island Trade Mission     
2. Sector: Horizontal 
3. Date: June, 1996 
4. Event Location: Buenos Aires 
5. State of Rhode Island - recruited 
 
L. 
1. Event Name:  State of Arkansas Trade Mission 
2. Sector:  Horizontal 
3. Date:  1996 
4. Event Location:  Buenos Aires; La Plata 
5. State of Arkansas - recruited 
 
M. 
1. Event Name:  Computer Software Trade Mission 
2. Sector:  CSF 
3. Date:  July, 1996 
4. Event Location:  Buenos Aires  
5. USDOC/TD - recruited 
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