Argentina’s population and economic activity are highly concentrated in the greater Buenos Aires area. The population is largely of European descent and continues to have strong ethnic, cultural, and business ties with Europe. In some respects, Argentine consumer preferences resemble those of Europeans more than those of other Latin American countries.
The United States continues to be one of Argentina’s top trading partners. Many U.S. firms have been very successful in the market, and U.S. products have a strong reputation for quality and technological innovation. U.S. lifestyle and consumption habits are influential in Argentina.
Always have a local Spanish speaker, such as your agent or distributor, review any materials before using them in Argentina. Keep in mind that each Spanish-speaking country has its own unique dialect and slang. Also, any official document to be presented before the Argentine government that is not in Spanish requires an official translation into Spanish by a Sworn Public Translator (Traductor Público) be attached, as well as certification by the Translators Association.
Price and financing terms have become increasingly important selling factors. Some practical tips to successfully approach Argentine consumers are the following:
- Appoint a representative or distributor, and consult as appropriate with lawyers and accountants
- Have Spanish language capacity and furnish materials in Spanish
- Be consistent in attention to service and delivery, and engage in frequent visits and follow-up
- Provide credit terms
- Protect your intellectual property
Trade Promotion and Advertising
Argentina has many advertising agencies and public relations consultants. The leading agencies are members of the Argentine Association of Advertising Agencies (Asociación Argentina de Agencias de Publicidad). Many branches or affiliates of major U.S. advertising agencies are among the leading agencies. Advertising in print media is the most widely circulated method, although television, internet, and radio advertising are increasingly important. The major business newspapers are:
El Cronista: email@example.com
La Nación: firstname.lastname@example.org
U.S. exporters should take into account that, due to protectionist tax and trade policies, locally manufactured products and those products imported from other MERCOSUR countries will have a substantial price and import cost advantage. Some customized services and higher quality products can still charge price premiums, which are accepted by a very small demographic in certain geographical areas. Argentina’s highly concentrated markets and protectionist policies have led to high prices, high costs, and relatively low competitive pressures.
Sales Service/Customer Support
Argentines consider sales support and customer service important factors when deciding which products to buy. Argentine consumers are accustomed to home delivery and after-sales service. U.S. manufacturers should consider hiring local agents to provide customer support services. Any product that requires operator training or needs after-sales technical service, such as medical equipment, should have a qualified local company ready to assist the customer. Company representatives who respond from neighboring countries tend to be less effective.
Local Professional Services
Local professional services such as accounting, consulting, human resources, and finance are widely available and perform to international standards. Several U.S. and global service providers have offices in Argentina. U.S. management consulting firms with local subsidiaries, as well as major local players, provide a wide scope of business solutions that include IT consulting, tax work, merger and aquisition due-diligence, and market research. The U.S. Commercial Service prepares industry sector reports on an ongoing basis
Customized Market Research (CMR) is also available for companies that wish to have specific questions answered, such as: the overall marketability of a product or service, market trends and size, customary distribution and promotion practices, market entry requirements, regulations, product standards and registration, key competitors, and potential agents, distributors, or strategic partners.
Principal Business Associations
The American Chamber of Commerce in Argentina (AmCham Argentina) is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization that has been promoting bilateral trade and investment between the United States and Argentina for over 100 years. The U.S. Embassy and AmCham work together closely to support U.S. business interests in Argentina. The membership of over 640 companies directly employs 400,000 people in more than 200 industrial plants distributed throughout the country and represents over 40 areas of economic activity; contributing 19 percent of GDP, 39 percent of tax revenue, 19.3 percent of imports, and 23.4 percent of Argentina’s exports.
Other important business associations include:
- Argentine Importers and Exporters Association (Asociación de Importadores y Exportadores - AIERA)
- Argentine Importers Association (Cámara de Importadores de la República Argentina - CIRA)
- Directorate General of Copyrights (Dirección Nacional del Derecho de Autor)
- Argentine National Institute of Industrial Property (Instituto Nacional de la Propiedad Industrial – INPI)
- Argentine Chamber of Commerce (Cámara Argentina de Comercio)
- Argentine American Chamber of Commerce of Florida
- Argentina-Texas Chamber of Commerce
Limitations on Selling U.S. Products and Services
There are no limitations on selling U.S. products and Services in Argentina, with the exception of the list of prohibited products to be imported.
Nevertheless, it is important for U.S. exporters to develop a close relationship with an agent, representative, distributor, or other business partner. The U.S. Commercial Service assists exporters in finding and evaluating partners in Argentina. It is strongly advised that all exporters work with an Argentine customs broker or with a freight forwarder with an established relationship with a broker prior to shipping goods to Argentina.
For more information on current import issues, please refer to the Import Requirements & Documentation section.