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Argentina protests over US, Japan at WTO

Wed July 11, 2012 7:58am

Argentina has lodged complaints at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against the United States and Japan over import restrictions on meats and lemons, the foreign ministry says.

"THE unjustified restrictions of the United States and Japan add to the traditional protectionist practices - such as agricultural subsidies - that maintain an uneven system of multilateral trade and show yet again the difference in treatment between developed countries and developing countries in terms of international trade," the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

In particular, Argentina is taking issue with the "years of delay" taken by the United States to allow the importing of fresh, refrigerated or frozen beef, from specific regions free of foot and mouth disease, the statement said.

These regions includes a zone where vaccinations were administered, as well as Patagonia, determined free of the disease without vaccination, it added.

It also protested a delay in the reopening of the US market to Argentine lemons following seven years of negotiations, according to the statement.

In addition, Buenos Aires urged Japan to reopen its meat market and to recognise Patagonia as a zone free of foot and mouth disease without vaccination, negotiations for which began in 2005, it said.

The claims were filed on Tuesday with the Geneva-based WTO's Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures.

In May, the European Union (EU) filed a challenge against Argentine restrictions on imports, escalating a trade war sparked by seizure of Spanish oil assets.

The complaint focuses, among other things, on procedures to obtain an import licence and a requirement for companies to balance imports with exports.

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