MEXICO CITY Nov 21 Mexico has asked for a World
Trade Organization panel to rule on a dispute over trade
restrictions with Argentina, the economy ministry said on
Mexico objects to Argentina's rules that require import
licenses that critics say amount to a blanket restriction on
"The measures imposed by Argentina restrict the import of
merchandise into its territory and discriminate between domestic
and foreign merchandise, and Mexico believes these actions
contravene WTO rules," the ministry said in a statement.
The measures are among several policies adopted by the
government of President Cristina Fernandez that have prompted
accusations of protectionism against Argentina.
Mexico also objects to "frequent" requests by Argentina for
importers to limit orders and make new investments in local
operations, the ministry said.
Fernandez' administration has tightened controls on imports
and foreign-exchange purchases in recent months to improve its
balance of trade, which is crucial to boosting international
reserves used to pay debt.
The call for a WTO dispute panel follows talks between
Mexico and Argentina that Mexico demanded in August, but the two
countries did not reach an agreement.
Economy Minister Bruno Ferrari said last month that Mexico
would ask for a WTO panel, adding that Japan, the European Union
and the United States had previously made similar complaints.
The worsening of trade relations between the two Latin
American countries follows Argentina's decision to pull out of a
car trade pact in early July.