Tariffs and regulations
As a member of Mercosur, Argentina applies the common external tariff (CET), which is between around zero and 20 per cent for most products. Some automotive goods face a tariff up to 35 per cent. Information technology and capital goods are temporarily exempt from the CET.
In addition to import tariffs, other fees include:
- VAT of 10.5 per cent or 21 per cent on CIF. If imported goods are for resale, the rate is 5.5 per cent or 10 per cent VAT on CIF.
- Though there are some exceptions, there is a 0.5 per cent statistics fee on CIF.
- A three per cent of anticipated profit tax for retail goods.
- 1.5 per cent gross income tax.
Some products such as tobacco, soft drinks, alcoholic beverages among others, fall under the domestic tax regime.
Since December 2015, the Overall System for Import Control has replaced the old DJAI (Sworn Affidavit of Intent to Import) as Argentina’s new import verification mechanism. Despite the end of the DJAI, a registration for an import license remains required for all imports, under one of two categories – automatic import license or non-automatic import license. Once obtained, these licenses remains valid for 90 days.
A non-automatic import license must be applied for where a shipment requires a prior approval. What determines wheather or not a prior approval is needed depends if the article is included in the tariff of the Mercosur Common Nomenclature.
An automatic import license may be applied for where goods do not require a prior aproval. Such application requires providing no less than 14 data points such as country of origin, FOB values, and product information.
Product certification, labelling and packaging
Argentine law requires that product labels bear all the information that the customer needs, and that information is true and valid.
The current law states the general and basic labeling requirements for domestic or imported products, as follows:
Article 1: All packaged products sold in Argentina will bear the following information on a printed label in a visible manner on the package or container:
- name (description of product)
- country of origin
- quality, purity, or blending description
- net weight.
All non-packaged products commercialised in country will have to comply with requirements a), b) and c), as stated above.
In some cases, the Government Regulatory bodies of each industry provide information on the corresponding labeling requirements. For example, for information on labeling requirements for the medical industry, hygiene and food products etc., the ANMAT (the equivalent of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the regulatory body of the Ministry of Health) provides additional information to the general rules for specific products.
Argentina has adopted the United Nations recommendations for the labeling and packing of hazardous materials. For more information please refer to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code).
Methods of quoting and payment
Quoting and payment terms vary dependant on the industry sector and customer. Australian companies should scrutinise all payment terms as they can differ markedly.
The following documents are required for all maritime shipments, regardless of value:
- commercial invoice (original and three copies)
- bill of lading (minimum of one negotiable copy for customs purposes)
- packing list (not generally required for bulk commodities or for articles that are identical in kind, characteristics, composition, weight, etc.)
- insurance certificate (if insurance coverage is purchased by the exporter).
Air Cargo Shipments
These documents are always required for air cargo shipments, regardless of value:
- commercial invoice (original and three copies)
- airway bill (number of copies depends on requirements of the importer and of the airline used)
- packing list.
Freight forwarding and/or agents' fees cannot be shown on airway bills on a freight collect basis; i.e., the fees must be prepaid.
- certificate of origin
- commercial invoice
- customs export declaration
- packing list
- road transport document
- tax certificate.
- customs import declaration, commercial invoice, packing list, certificate of origin, iImport License (SIMI)
- Secretariat of Interior Commerce form (Nota de pedido) - Bill of lading - Technical
- Standards certificate - Terminal handling receipt.
Commercial invoices must be presented in Spanish (one original and three copies) with the caption ‘Original Invoice’. Carbon copies, printed copies, or photocopied invoices will not be accepted in place of the original. In addition, a properly authorised member of the firm must provide an original signature in ink on each copy of the invoice presented (i.e. the original and three copies).
The invoice should contain:
- invoice number
- place and date of execution
- full name and address of the exporter
- full name and address of consignee and name and address of the agent (freight forwarder), if any
- quantity, indicating measuring units invoiced
- name and description of goods (in Spanish)
- unit price and total
- currency used in transaction
- terms of payment and delivery, using INCOTERMS
- origin and place/port of export of the merchandise
- means of transport (specifying via ocean or air or parcel post)
- port or place of entry into Argentina.
If the invoice is in English, the common practice is to show the Spanish translation just below the English text.
The invoice must contain the following declaration in Spanish:
"DECLARO BAJO JURAMENTO QUE LOS PRECIOS CONSIGNADOS EN ESTA FACTURA COMERCIAL SON LOS REALMENTE PAGADOS O A PAGARSE, Y QUE NO EXISTE CONVENIO ALGUNO QUE PERMITA SU ALTERACION, Y QUE TODOS LOS DATOS REFERENTES A LA CALIDAD, CANTIDAD, VALOR, PRECIOS, ETC., Y DESCRIPCION DE LA MERCADERIA CONCUERDAN EN TODAS SUS PARTES CON LO DECLARADO EN LA CORRESPONDIENTE SHIPPER'S EXPORT DECLARATION."
(Unofficial Translation: "I swear under oath that the prices on this commercial invoice are those really paid or to be paid, and that no agreement exists that permits their modification, and that all data pertaining to quality, quantity, value, prices, etc., and description of the merchandise agree in all their parts with what was declared in the corresponding Shipper's Export Declaration.")
A fax of the commercial invoice may be used as a working copy for customs, but the original must be presented in order to complete entry.
On 1 November 2013, the following requirements came into effect:
- Commercial invoice must include payment terms.
- Date on the commercial invoice must be prior to bill of lading date.
Electronic documents with electronic signatures are acceptable if the certifying company has obtained eligibility by completing a licensing procedure.
Bill of lading
The bill of lading should be issued (at minimum) in one negotiable copy; additional negotiable copies may be required by the importer, bank, steamship line, or other interested party (follow instructions from the importer or those given in the letter of credit or other contractual arrangement). Bills of lading must indicate the weight and volume of each package, as well as the total weight and volume of the shipment. All bills of lading must also show the amount of freight and a statement ‘freight paid’, or ‘freight payable at destination’ as appropriate.
The bill of lading must show the following:
- name of the ship
- name of the ship's captain
- port of registry and registered tonnage (weight and volume)
- name of the charter or the shipper
- name of the consignee (unless it is ‘to the bearer’ or ‘to order’)
- number of packages, and specific description of the contents, the quantity, quality and marks of the goods
- port of loading and unloading, with a declaration of the port of call, if any
- freight amount
- place, method and date of payment
- date of preparation of the document and signature of the captain and of the shipper (signature of the shipping company and shipper should be signed manually, facsimile signatures are not acceptable)
- container and seal number, and terms of shipment
- invoice number suggested.
Packing lists are necessary for customs clearance in Argentina and must describe the contents of each package. Where the contents of a parcel are the same as those in other parcels of the same lot, one description on the packing list covering the lot will be sufficient. The packing list preferably should be in Spanish. No packing list is necessary for goods imported in bulk, such as coal, petroleum, sand, etc., or for articles identical in kind, characteristics, composition, weight, etc. It is suggested that the packing list be included in every air shipment.
Consular legalisation of the packing list may be required in certain instances. Check with the importer for exact requirements.
At least three copies of the packing list should be included as part of the shipping documents sent to the consignee or the agent thereof. The exact contents of each package should be clearly identified. This should include each item's gross weight and net weight and each package's marks and numbers. The required information must be consistent with all information shown on the commercial invoice.
Certificate of insurance
The Australian exporter must request this document when purchasing insurance and should proceed according to the details provided by the importer. Marine insurance can be obtained from any insurance company.
Normal commercial practice.
Weights and measures
Weights and measures vary dependant on the industry sector. Australian companies should know the specificic requirements as they can differ markedly.
Public health requirements
Argentine Accreditation Agency (Spanish)
Argentine Standardization Institute (Instituto Argentino de Normalización - IRAM) (Spanish)
MERCOSUR Standards Association (Asociación MERCOSUR de Normalización - AMN)
National Administration of Drugs, Foods, and Medical Devices (ANMAT – Administración Nacional de Medicamentos, Alimentos y Tecnología Médica)