EU links trade complaint against Argentina to YPF expropriation

25 May 2012 19:32  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--The EU’s trade complaint against Argentina on Friday is linked to that country's move to expropriate oil and gas producer YPF, the European Commission said.

The EU's appeal to the World Trade Organization (WTO) against Argentina’s import restrictions reflects the broader worries the EU had when Argentina expropriated  51% of the shares of YPF, a firm that was majority owned by Spain's energy major Repsol, the commission said.

The Repsol case, like the trade restrictive import measures the EU challenged on Friday, "is to be seen as an expression of the same worrying policy pursued by Argentina,” it added.

The commission also said that Argentina had the right to try to re-industrialise and control trade deficits. However, the measures the country was taking were in breach of its obligation under the WTO, it said

While internal policy choices are sovereign matters, they cannot be pursued to the detriment of WTO members and in breach of international trade rules, it added.

“If more WTO members adopted this kind of discriminatory measures, the damage to world trade and growth would be devastating,” it said.

The remarks were part of a background paper the commission issued to explain the reasoning behind the EU”s appeal to the WTO for Argentina to remove a number of  import restrictions, including restrictions on the import of chemicals.

In 2011, the EU exported goods worth €8.3bn ($10.4bn) to Argentina, with chemicals accounting for about 20% of those exports.

($1 = €0.80)

By: Stefan Baumgarten
+1 713 525 2653

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