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Import regulations and customs duties  - Distribution - Transportation of goods - Standards - Patents and brands

Import regulations and customs duties

In order to carry out some international business operations, you need to be registered as an importer or an exporter with the Argentine customs. This compulsory registration is made through a single key of fiscal identification" at the Inland Revenue.
For certain products, there is a process of automatic licensing called "formulario informativo". It enables Argentine Authorities to identify important issues during the imports. This licensing system concerns about 600 products of a different nature. However, a preliminary licence to authorise the import is necessary for motorcar industry, these products being also subject to relatively weak quotas. However, these quotas do not apply to imports from Brazil. A very strict certificate of origin (approved by the Argentine Consulate of the exporter country) is required for textiles and clothing items.
The Argentinean Customs (under the Ministry of Finance and Economy) also have a classification system of the goods which decides whether they will be inspected on entry into Argentina.
Green procedure: the customs clearance is made without physical check.
Orange Procedure : only documents are inspected.
Red procedure: both products and documents are inspected. (Example: textiles).
A declaration form stating quantities and composition should be supplied to the Department of Commerce 10 days before customs clearance.

ProductProhibitionLicenceQuotasImportant administrative requirements
Motorcar (8702.01.01.01/20/40/60/61 - 8702.92.90.01/90.99 - 8702.03.01.01/05)XX
Semi finished textilesX
Textiles, clothing itemsX
Worn productsX


Customs duties
Argentina is a part of MERCOSUR (Mercado Comun del Sur of which Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay are members). It aims at creating a free trade area, a common external tariff and a zone of free traffic for the goods, services, capital and personnel. The customs duty between these countries was abolished on paper in 1994, but there are still many exceptions, depending on the "Regime of adaptation" (Regimen de adecuacion).
Nowadays, the common external tariff (CET) does not concern all the products: only 75% of the tariff items benefit from a single rate. The sectors still out of the system for these 4 countries are: capital, information technology, telecommunications, motorcars and sugar. Besides, there are a certain number of sensitive products that are also exempted from this single rate depending on the countries (about 300 products for Argentina) . The CET should be completely set up by 2006, with the following structure:
  • 0 % to 14 % for capital goods
  • 16 % to 20 % for textiles, clothing items, and consumer goods
  • 10 % to 15 % for the metal industry
  • 12 % to 16 % for farm products, data processing system and telecommunications

It will be applied Ad valorem on the CIF value of the goods. However, it is necessary to take this customs policy with caution, since these countries apply more or less the recommendations of the central organisation according to their own economic condition. Please note that exports within Mercosur does not allow exemption of duties: so if you export a product in Argentina, to resell it in Brazil, you will pay both the Argentinean as well as the Brazilian duties.
On the other hand, in order to avoid sub-charge from the companies, the Argentine Customs are entitled to levy a predefined value for the calculation of customs duties. These reference values are not published, nor is the criteria to define them.
There are also various custom agreements, either between Mercosur and other countries (EC, Chile), or in a bilateral way between Argentina and other countries (Chile, Pact Andean).
The operation of custom clearance lasts about 48 hours and costs between 5 and 8 % of the taxable base.


Import taxes
Statistical tax: 0.5 % on the CIF value of the goods.



The modernisation and the reorganisation of the distribution network was introduced in the beginning of the 80s and has accelerated the implementation of the stabilisation plan.


Transportation of goods

By road
The road network extends over 500,000 kms long, it includes 38,000 km of main roads, and nearly covers the whole country. However, 60% of the network is in poor condition. The ground transportation of goods in 1995 was 74.8% of the total transport against 86% in 1990. In order to repair and improve these roads, most of the main trunk roads were handed over to private companies. The most important programs of modernisation concerns cross-border roads.

By rail
The network consists in 40,000 km of lines. Since 1980's, infrastructures have started deteriorating. While in 1986, 8.7 million tons were transported through railways, the figure dropped to 5.4 million tons in 1991. However on account of decentralisation and privatisation, infrastructure was improved since then, and in 1995, the transportation of goods reached its highest level of 16 million tons.

By sea
Argentina has 3,500 km of navigable stream and 4,700 km of coasts. The main river ports are Rosario, Santa Fe, San Lorenzo and Buenos Aires. The main sea ports are Plata, Bahia Blanca, Quequen-Necochea and Comodoro Rivadavia. The Hidrovia project consists in filling up the river Parana to turn it into an axis of communication between the Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil. The port of Buenos Aires concentrates 60% of the harbour traffic and is very expensive.

By air
Argentina has 71 airports, the most important being the international airport of Ezeiza , located at 40 km from Buenos Aires. The biggest Argentine airline company is Aerolineas Argentinas which has a stake of 80% of Liberia and Spanish banks and serves 24 international destinations out of which 6 are European ones.


The organisation in charge of normalisation is the IRAM, the Argentine Institute for the Rationalisation of Materials.
The implementation of the ISO 9000 standards brings a considerable advantage to the companies who want to penetrate the Argentine market. The ISO standard is very much appreciated in the following sectors: metallurgy, motorcar engines, spare parts, transport material, chemicals and petrochemical products.

Patents and brands

The organisation in charge of protecting patents and trademarks in Argentina is el Instituto Nacional de la Propiedad Industrial.
Argentina signed the Agreement of Paris relating to the protection of designs and industrial models. Since Argentina did not sign the Patent Co-operation Treaty (PCT), the companies wishing to register their patent will have to apply directly in Argentina.

Texts currently applying to patents/brands

  Text Date entered into law Period of validity Comment
Patent Patent Law On 1966 Initial period of validity of 3 years Extension, in the choice, of period in 20 years in the term of initial period


Last modified in 2006 - ongoing update
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