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Argentina Restricts Chinese Imports

Published October 16, 2007

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (BRAIN)—China’s Ministry of Commerce has expressed “serious concern” at Argentina’s recent restrictions on Chinese goods, including bicycles, shoes and apparel, textiles, leather, tires and wheels, toys and computers, according to The People’s Daily, China’s official voice.

Argentine President Nestor Kirchner announced the new restrictions on a flood of Chinese imports, saying tighter controls will benefit national industries and further cut unemployment, already down to a 14-year low of 8.5 percent. The measures include import licenses, registries and health and safety inspections.

The Chinese government condemned the changes as arbitrary and unilateral, hinting that they make take their case to the World Trade Organization.

“It is neither reasonable nor acceptable for the Argentine side to make such moves without notifying China in advance,” The People’s Daily reported, quoting an unnamed spokesman from China’s Ministry of Commerce.

“As one of the founding members of the World Trade Organization, Argentina has stonewalled Chinese products’ legal accession in defiance of the WTO rules, which harms China’s rights and interests endowed by the WTO rules,” the official told the Chinese paper.

Argentina had detained Asian goods in its ports for about a week, then began clearing them through customs last Friday, but under increased scrutiny.

“We’re going to consolidate our national industries. We’re going to prioritize high-quality jobs. We’re building a solvent Argentina, an Argentina that will maintain its budget and trade surplus," Kirchner said.

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