Uruguay asks CFK’s government for clarification regardless Randazzo: ‘Food imports not closed’

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Uruguay’s concerns over the food import ban have developed into a discussional tit-for-tat, with Argentina’s Interior Minister confirming yesterday that the government “has not halted imports”.

Florencio Randazzo’s comments backed up President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s denial that “restrictions” exist.

Meanwhile, Uruguay’s Foreign Minister revealed that his government has sent a letter to CFK’s. Luis Almagro said yesterday evening that the neighbouring country has asked for an official explanation with regard to the products which will be banned.

Large Argentine supermarkets have been informing their Uruguayan suppliers that purchases would cease from June 1 following Domestic Trade Secretary Guillermo Moreno’s verbal decision taken on May 6.
Uruguayan exports to Argentine supermarkets total US$10 million a year and the Uruguayan government was “concerned” about the import ban on Tuesday, according to Labour Minister Eduardo Brenta.

He said: “Difficulties are taking place which call for analysis”, even though no official import ban has been placed on Uruguayan foods.

Despite saying food imports are not closed yesterday, Randazzo did, however, warn: “It’s important that Argentina is going to defend its national industry’s development and Argentines’ jobs” should dumping arise.

He added: “We adhere to the World Trade Organisation, which establishes the rules of the game bywhich we have to play.”

Moreno said on May 6 that Argentina would curb those food imports which have a national equivalent, effectively bringing the National Administration of Medicine, Food and Technology (Anmat) which approves or denies imports, under his remit.

The Uruguayan government has officially sought explanations from its Argentine counterpart over a foodstuff import ban blocking Uruguayan products, Almagro yesterday confirmed. He spoke to journalists upon his return to Montevideo after taking part in the Latin America & The Caribbean-European Union summit in Madrid together with President José Mujica.

Montevideo daily El País said Almagro “revealed that a formal note was sent to the Fernández de Kirchner government in order to cull first-hand information on the foodstuff import restrictions applied by Argentina.”

Both countries are set for a meeting on June 2.