Argentina files trade complaints against US, EU
Argentina filed complaints Wednesday with the World Trade Organization charging the United States with erecting trade barriers against its beef and lemons, and the European Union with protectionist measures against its biodiesel.
Buenos Aires took the action "after trying to resolve bilaterally" the disputes with the United States and the European Union, Foreign Minister Hector Timerman said in a statement.
The trade barriers have caused "extensive damage" to Argentine producers and cost thousands of jobs, the statement added.
Argentina said it is hurt by US trade measures purportedly intended to protect against hoof and mouth disease.
Buenos Aires defended the quality of its beef, which it said is produced at "extremely high sanitary standards," adding that it exported more than $731 million of its beef around the world last year.
Similarly, Buenos Aires said its lemons are exported around the world, with trade totaling $172 million dollars last year, but that they also have encountered trade barriers in the United States.
Meanwhile Spain, a member of the EU, has unfairly restricted imports of Argentina's biofuel, Buenos Aires claimed.
The Spanish government has limited the purchase of biofuel from Argentina to protest the decision by Buenos Aires earlier this year to seize the YPF oil concern from Spain's Repsol.
When it took over YPF, Buenos Aires accused the Spanish oil giant of allowing oil and gas production to lapse and forcing Argentina's oil import bill to rise.
"With annual exports to the EU of approximately $1.9 billion in 2011... this economic bloc is the main market for Argentine biodiesel," the foreign ministry statement said.
YPF produces 34 percent of the oil and 25 percent of the natural gas in Argentina, according to industry figures.
© 2012 AFP