BUENOS AIRES -- Argentina has lodged a
protest with the World Trade Organization (WTO) committee on
technical barriers to trade over Spain's recent decision to
stop buying biodiesel from outside the European Union (EU).
Argentina's foreign ministry said Spain is violating WTO rules
by keeping the South American nation and other biodiesel
producers out of the Spanish market.
"Argentina is studying the possibility of taking this issue to
the WTO's dispute-settlement body," the ministry noted.
Starting in April, Spain required all imported biodiesel to be
sourced from EU producers. The measure effectively blocked
imports of the fuel from Argentina, which had dominated Spain's
Soybean-based biodiesel imports from Argentina were valued at
about 750 million ($944 million) in 2011, according to
Spain's Renewable Energy Producers Association.
Spain's biodiesel restrictions followed Argentine President
Cristina Kirchner's decision to expropriate a 51% stake in oil
and gas company YPF SA from Spanish oil producer Repsol YPF SA.
Kirchner said in April her government would not complain about
the Spanish biodiesel measures.
Argentina is the target of an EU complaint at the WTO over its
import restrictions, as the country intensified trade barriers
earlier this year in a bid to bolster its international
Companies in Argentina are required to
file an online affidavit with the federal tax authority and
receive approvals from several government agencies before they
can import goods or pay for offshore services like legal
consulting or music rights.
However, the EU's complaint could struggle to gain traction at
the WTO, as Argentina's trade policies are often informal in
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