Buenos Aires, by Noelia Diaco. Photo is not visible, used only for sharing on social networks.

An unfriendly market for foreign brands

September 22, 2011
Nearly all of the products here are labeled Made in Argentina. It's certainly a change from the ubiquitous Made in China and Made in Mexico labels at home. But the flip side of of Argentina's emphasis on homegrown products (or protectionism as it were) is that it's often difficult and expensive to get foreign brands. Here's a look at some of the more amusing results of the trade restrictions, courtesy of the Economist:
Brightstar, a multinational manufacturer, will begin importing kits of the phones’ parts to its factory in Tierra del Fuego, the normal base for cruise ships going to Antarctica. Some 300 workers will brave the frigid austral fog to assemble the pieces and put them in locally sourced packaging. 
Making BlackBerrys south of the Magellan strait will cost $23m upfront, plus $4,500-5,000 a month per worker, some 15 times more than in Asia. But the government touts the project as a triumph of its trade policy. ... 
On September 15th Argentina blocked imports of books, and over 1m piled up at the borders. Imports of Harley-Davidson motorcycles are frozen until 2012.  
For firms that refuse to (or cannot) move production to Argentina, the government offers another option: deals to export goods worth at least as much as a company’s imports. In January customs officials stopped letting Nordenwagen import Porsches. Its cars languished in port for three months before the firm succumbed to a deal. Since its owners also possess Pulenta Estate, a vineyard, they agreed to launch a new line of mass-market wines for export, erasing the family’s trade deficit.
- Steph

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