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Customs Procedures

Import Procedures
Import procedures have changed several times in recent years, so it is advisable to contact a local customs broker before starting any import process. As it stands currently, an importer or exporter must be registered with Argentine Customs in order to carry out international trade transactions. There are certain products with automatic licence procedures (formulario informativo), which officially allow Argentine Customs authorities to identify possible problems when they are imported. This licencing scheme encompasses about 600 products of different kinds.

Argentine Customs, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Economy and Public Finance, has a three-tiered classification system related to goods inspection (Comprehensive Import Monitoring System - SIMI):

  •  Green: customs clearance takes place without physical inspection
  •  Orange: only documentation is inspected
  •  Red: both goods and documents are inspected.

A form declaring quantities and composition of goods must also be provided to the Ministry of Industry ten days before clearing Customs. All documents presented to Argentinean authorities must be in Spanish or be accompanied with a translation from a certified translator.

As a member of Mercosur, Argentina applies the common external tariff (CET), which is between around 0 and 20% for most products. Some automotive goods face a tariff up to 35%. Information technology and capital goods are temporarily exempt from the CET.

In addition to import tariffs, there are other fees, including:

•    VAT of 10.5% or 21% on CIF. If imported goods are for resale, the rate is 5.5% or 10% VAT on CIF. Increased rate of 27% for utilities services.
•    3% statistics charge
•    Anticipated profit tax for retail goods: the rate depends on the activity and the jurisdiction
•    And a 3% to 5% gross income tax (PwC)

Some products such as tobacco, soft drinks, alcoholic beverages among others, fall under the domestic tax regime.

For more information, please visit the website of the Argentine Federal Administration of Public Income.

Specific Import Procedures
A preliminary import authorisation license is necessary for 9 nomenclature numbers in the automobile domain, and these products are also subject to relatively low quotas. However, these quotas do not apply to imports from Brazil. A very strict certificate of origin (authenticated by the Argentine Consulate in the exporting country) is required for textiles and articles of clothing.
For maritime shipments, the following documents are required:

  • Three copies of the commercial invoice
  • A negotiable copy of the Bill of landing
  • Insurances certificates
  • A packaging list


Air cargo shipment must present the following documents:

  • Three copies of the commercial invoice
  • A packaging list
  • An airway bill


All commercial invoices must be in Spanish. An English version could be presented with a certified translation. Only originals are accepted. In all cases, the following text must be in the invoice:

"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."

Importing Samples
The Temporary Admission Regime (TAR) allows samples and advertising materials without commercial value to enter the country duty and tax free, as long as they are useless for sale. Packaging, containers, pallets and goods for transformation for future export are also eligible for entry under this regime. Finished goods must be exported within 360 days from the date of temporary admission (could be extended up to 360 more days, or for a total of 1080 days for specific long-term projects).
For the import, export and re-export of commercial samples, the ATA (Temporary Admission) carnet cannot be used, as Argentina did not sign the agreement.

To go further, check out our service Import Controls and Export Controls.

 

Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports

Customs threshold (from which tariffs are required)
No customs threshold. Items shipped by Correo Argentino are not subject to a de minimis tax.
Average Customs Duty (Excluding Agricultural Products)
Transactions carried out within Mercosur are free of duty, though there are considerable exceptions. Re-exporting goods within Mercosur does not entitle one to an exemption from customs duties; for example, if a good is exported to Argentina to sell in Brazil, the exporter will pay duties in both countries. Customs tariffs applied to goods outside of Mercosur typically range between 5-14%. Companies that import industrial tools for their own use can be exempted from an import tax. The stringency with which Customs officials adhere to guidelines is reported to vary based on the current economic situation. To avoid companies under-invoicing, Argentine Customs are entitled to apply a predefined value for the calculation of customs duty. These reference values are not published, nor are the evaluatory criteria.

The average Mercosur tariff rates by chapters are as follows:
 
Chapter 1: Live Animals; Animal Products: 4% ad-valorem;
 
Chapter 28: Inorganic chemicals; organic or inorganic compounds of precious metals, rare-earth metals, radioactive elements, or isotopes: 2 to 10% ad- valorem;
 
Chapter 31: Fertilizers: 6 to 10% ad-valorem;
 
Chapter 38: Miscellaneous chemical products: 8 to 14% ad-valorem;
 
Chapter 39: Plastics and articles thereof: 2 to 14% ad-valorem;
 
Chapter 48: Paper and paperboard; articles of paper pulp, paper, or paperboard: 6 to 16% ad-valorem;
 
Chapter 49: Printed books, newspapers, pictures and other products of the printing industry; manuscripts, typescripts, and plans: 0 to 16% ad-valorem;
 
Chapter 61: Articles of apparel and clothing accessories, knitted or crocheted: 35% ad-valorem;
 
Chapter 62: Articles of apparel and clothing accessories, not knitted or crocheted: 35% ad-valorem;
 
Chapter 70: Glass and glassware: 2 to 18% ad-valorem;
 
Chapter 94: Furniture; bedding, mattresses, mattress supports, cushions, and similar stuffed furnishings; lamps and lighting fittings, not elsewhere specified or included; illuminated sign illuminated nameplates and the like; prefabricated buildings: 18 to 35% ad-valorem;
 
Chapter 95: Toys, games, and sports requisites; parts and accessories thereof: 18 to 35% ad-valorem.

Products Having a Higher Customs Tariff
Customs duty is higher on textile and agrifood goods.
Preferential Rates
There are different Customs agreements, either between Mercosur and other countries (EU, Chile), or bilaterally between Argentina and other countries (Chile, Andean Pact).
In general, merchandise originating from Latin America Integration Association (LAIA) countries is entitled to preferential duty.
Customs Classification
Argentina uses the Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System, generally referred to as the 'Harmonised System,' developed by the World Customs Organisation. The system comprises nearly 5,000 commodity groups, each identified by a six digit code, and is utilised by more than 200 countries.
Method of Calculation of Duties
Ad-valorem duties are assessed on the CIF (Cost+Insurance+Freight) value of the imported merchandise at the Argentine port or airport of entry. The General Customs Bureau (Dirección General de Aduanas - DGA) applies, collects, and controls taxes under the Argentine Customs Code.
It should also be noted that re-exporting within Mercosur does not entitle you to an exemption from duties: so if you export a product to Argentina, to sell it on to Brazil, you will pay Argentine duty and then Brazilian duty. In addition, to avoid companies under-invoicing, the Argentine Customs are entitled to apply a predefined value for the calculation of Customs duty. These reference values are not published, nor are the criteria which enabled them to be defined.
Method of Payment of Customs Duties
Duties are payable in cash (with pesos, check, cash money order or wire transfer).
Import Taxes (Excluding Consumer Taxes)
Statistical tax: up to 3% for imports of goods from January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020, depending on the amount of the import (up to a maximum fee of USD 150,000 for imports whose value exceeds USD 1 million). The import of certain capital assets and temporary imports are zero-rated.
 

List of tariffs and local taxes that apply to your product on our service Customs Duties and Local Taxes.

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Latest Update: November 2022