06 December 2012 21:27 [Source: ICIS news]
MEDELLIN, Colombia (ICIS) -- The EU responded to an Argentine lawsuit on Thursday, formally requesting the World Trade Organization (WTO) to rule on whether the South American country's import restrictions are illegal.
"Argentina's import restrictions violate international trade rules and harm EU exports," EU trade chief Karel De Gucht said.
Argentina initiated WTO legal cases on Thursday, accusing the EU of curbing imports of its biodiesel.
Trade relations with Argentina have worsened since April, when President Cristina Fernandez seized control of oil firm YPF from its parent, Spain-based Repsol.
In its counter move, the EU says Argentina requires businesses to apply for import licenses, but the South American country does not grant the licenses automatically as required by global trade rules.
Since Argentina tightened restrictions earlier this year, De Gucht says a de facto barrier to all EU exports to Argentina has been erected.
Starting in April, Spain required all imported biodiesel to be sourced from EU producers. The measure effectively blocked imports of the fuel from Argentina, which had dominated Spain's biodiesel market.
Argentina has previously called the rules "protectionist", warning they could cost it $1bn/year (€760m/year) in lost export earnings.
($1 = €0.76)
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