New Argentinean Government Simplifies Import Licensing System

As part of a series of initiatives to boost the Argentinean economy and increase foreign trade, the new government of President Mauricio Macri overhauled Argentina’s import licensing system to encourage competitiveness and facilitate trade. The faster and more efficient Comprehensive Import Monitoring System (SIMI) replaced the much maligned Declaración Jurada Anticipada de Importación (DJAI) import licensing requirement on December 23, 2015.

Earlier this year the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled in opposition to several import restrictions imposed by Argentina under DJAI. One of the biggest disputes with the licensing program emphasized removing the requirement for firms to obtain approval by Argentine authorities before importing any goods. This license restriction is inconsistent with WTO rules because it blocks market access for importers and limits the importing activities of these firms. Even though the WTO no longer recognizes the DJAI licenses, the licenses processed by December 22 will remain valid.

The Argentinean government let DJAI expire on the twenty-second to implement the switch to SIMI. Under this system, the government will issue automatic licenses for imports for consumption within Argentina of products under almost all tariff lines and issue them within ten days. For distribution of information to all the agencies involved in the clearance of goods, SIMI requires submitting a standard set of data through the Federal Administration of Public Revenues website through the Foreign Trade Single Window. Responsible parties authorizing the entry of the goods must then respond within ten days. From the date of approval, information submitted through SIMI will be valid for 180 days.

Although SIMI provides several benefits for importers, it is available only to large importing companies and firms. Argentinean officials are yet to address amendments for customs controls for individuals importing books, clothes or other objects for personal use. Attributable to their sensitive nature, items like textiles, toys, footwear, leather goods, home appliances, cars, auto parts, tires, motorcycles, and bicycles, will require non-automatic import licenses. As long as the application is complete, these licenses will also be issued within ten days. However, authorities have 30-days to complete a review and decide on the approval of an application with discrepancies. Regardless of the category of the import license required, an applicant must submit the same type of information through SIMI required under the DJAI system – importer name, tax number, quantity, value, brand, model, and the origin of the product.

Please contact your OCEANAIR representative for a list of tariff codes associated with goods requiring non-automatic import licenses or to help you with understanding Argentina’s new import license requirements.