Expat Argentina

Trade Barriers in Argentina


If you live in Argentina (Buenos Aires is the best part for what I’m about to talk about, because if you lived in Patagonia it would be much much worse) you can’t get stuff. You can’t get lots of stuff.

Well maybe that’s not entirely true. You can get all the basics. Shelter, water, food.

You can get some great stuff too. Beef (asado), every type of grill you can imagine to cook your beef, dulce de leche, yerba mate, and other typically Argentine things.

What you can’t get is clothing for a person over 6 feet tall. Or for a person over 200 lbs. And when I say you can’t get I mean you literally cannot get it! It does not exist. I honestly don’t know what the huge guys on my basketball team do! I can at least go back to the USA a couple of times per year and stock up on stuff.

But the list doesn’t end with sizes of clothes. Oh no. Its only just beginning.

There are about 50 brands of clothing that do not exist here. Forever 21, Gap, Banana Republic, Eddie Bauer and other huge brand names. The interesting thing is that most of the absolute top brands are in Argentina… its the “really good” ones and the “top out of sight” ones that don’t exist. Top out of sight would be like Jimmy Choo.

So one has to wonder why this is. Well basically the country does not allow imports. It is very protectionist and therefore tariffs are extremely high and some products do not get into the country at all. I have a friend who imports wine refrigerators… something that only one company in Argentina does… whose cargo has been sitting in port for over 6 months. Did he have all his papers in order you ask? Yes, according to him he did.