Argentina Market Entry
- Market entry
- Forms and conditions of operation on the market
- Marketing and Communications
- Issues of intellectual property protection
- Public procurement market
- Payment terms, payment ethics and resolution of commercial disputes
- Visas, fees, specific conditions of travel to the territory
- Employment of citizens from the Czech Republic
- Fairs and events
In Argentina, there are a number of corporate institutions (chambers, associations, federations, unions) that can provide information leading to the establishment of business contacts. The partners are used to offers of foreign goods, because Argentina produces only a small part of its consumption, which is especially true for industrial goods. Tenders are usually issued for larger deals or events of an investment nature. The criterion for success in tenders is mainly price and technical level. It is also possible to join a supplier consortium as a subcontractor. The central and provincial governments support the development of business and economic cooperation, especially if it is an investment project, but in fact refer the foreign entity to the private sector. In most cases, they are able to provide a good information service and often help to select a suitable partner. In general, it can be said that the Argentine government at all levels considers it optimal for a foreign firm to partner with a local entity, provide technology and know-how, and employ as many local personnel as possible. In most cases, the question of financing is very important in the local market. It is often the first question a partner asks. The one who does not have financing has practically no chance here. After the outbreak of the crisis in 2018, this factor became even more important. A considerable part of the goods needs approval by some national authority, for example for health products it is the ANMAT agency. These often require the certification to be arranged by a domestic entity, which automatically means having a representative there before entering the market.
Use of local agents
According to cheeroutdoor.com, a classic sales channel in Argentina is the use of a local representative. Representatives in related fields often do not compete with each other, but divide and manage the market. The representative can work on a commission basis or on his own name and account. If the cooperation proves successful, it is possible to establish a company in which he will have a minority stake. When looking for a suitable agent, we recommend getting as much market data as possible and focusing on agents with solid references and not tying your hands from the start by granting exclusivity. Research and marketing organizations that offer marketing services or market research for a fee are common in Argentina. But their specialization is rather PR or lobbying. Technical knowledge and experience are rather weak, and most exporters of machinery and equipment will do better if they rely on their own strength. The creation of business cooperation with local manufacturers is also offered as a possibility – the Argentine manufacturer will become a representative and will use its distribution network, with the understanding that either the Czech exporter will offer its products in the Czech Republic, or some part of Czech goods will be manufactured in Argentina according to Czech technology. Here we highlight the often complex ownership relationships that need to be resolved in advance.
Most Common Sales Techniques and Factors Affecting Sales
It is true that new Argentinian partners should be approached with caution and use advance payment as a condition initially. Regarding payment terms in general, Argentina is somewhat specific in that, more than any other country, partners require deliveries on credit. Without the possibility of providing credit, the supplier is already doomed to failure. In this regard, the role of the Czech Export Bank and the Export Guarantee and Insurance Company comes to the fore. In April 2018, EGAP decided to increase the insurance limit for Argentina, so there is certainly no lack of willingness on the part of the state to support exports (but the specific conditions also depend on the current macroeconomic situation in Argentina). Success in business negotiations is usually based on personal contacts.
Forms and conditions of operation on the market
When setting up a foreign company, we recommend using the services of local consulting and legal offices. All translations from the Czech language into the Spanish language must be carried out in Argentina through an authorized interpreter (currently two).
As in most South American countries, in Argentina there are three basic types of legal entities operating in commercial and manufacturing activities:
- joint stock company (SA, Sociedad Anónima)
- limited liability company (SRL, Sociedad de Responsabilidad Limitada)
- branch of a foreign company (Sucursal)
Setting up a company branch in Argentina is relatively simple. First of all, it is necessary to check whether the proposed company name is not already used by another company (Inspectorado de Justicia, Calle San Martín 665, Buenos Aires or in the official gazette – Boletin Oficial). This review takes a maximum of two weeks. It should be taken into account that there is no unified national register in Argentina, each province has its own register.
This is followed by the registration of the company, for which a notarized founding agreement is required. If a foreign company wants to operate its business or production activities in such a form, it must:
- prove its existence according to the laws of the country where the company is located (e.g. be registered in the commercial register),
- establish the place (domicile) of your activity,
- express and materially support the decision to establish an Argentine branch,
- appoint a local representative or director of the company,
- if the foreign company chooses this form, the local branch must have equity capital (no maximum or minimum amount is specified).
Another possibility is the establishment of a joint stock company. The methodology is similar to that in the Czech Republic. Articles of Incorporation must be drawn up, the share capital must be at least 100,000 pesos, at least 25% of the capital must be paid at the time of incorporation, the rest within two years. A joint stock company must be formed by at least two shareholders.
Most foreign companies operating in Argentina prefer the form of a joint stock company.
Marketing and communication
Promotion is a necessary condition for commercial success in Argentina, but it does not come cheap. The most effective way is advertising in specialized magazines or participation in specialized exhibitions and fairs. We recommend always having prospectuses in Spanish. For illustration, it can be stated that 1 color advertising page of A4 format in a specialized magazine (that is, not with an overall impact on the population, but with an overall impact in the given commodity) costs over 1,000 USD. A full-page advertisement in one of the leading newspapers (La Nación, Clarín-X, etc.) costs 8,000 USD. For a television shot on cable TV (e.g. 3x half-minute entry in a half-hour program) the interested party pays around 2,000 USD, on a public channel the rate is much higher. When it comes to renting space for trade fairs or exhibitions, the rates per square meter range from USD 300 and up, while the organizer usually requires 12 m2 as the minimum reserved area. Inflation and the devaluation of the peso may have made it cheaper to market or attend a trade show in dollar terms than before.
Argentinians love sports. The most popular is of course football, horse polo and rugby are also very popular, and to a lesser extent field hockey. There is social stratification among sports fans: while football is a popular pastime, horse polo or field hockey are more likely to be of interest to wealthier people. If Argentine athletes do well, Argentines are also interested in tennis. Companies and brands can therefore use these channels and target their target group by supporting a team or athlete. Argentinians also follow very closely the performances of their athletes abroad (mainly soccer players in Europe and basketball players in the USA). Companies aspiring to reach fans throughout Argentina (especially with consumer goods, beverages or food) should therefore very seriously consider using sports marketing for their goals.
Argentina is the eighth largest country in the world by area, and much of the country is very inhospitable. Products used in the external environment should therefore present themselves as very strong and reliable, which can withstand heavy loads and do not wear out quickly (this applies, for example, to cars, tools, but also clothes).
Argentinians like nice things and architecture, so marketing materials should be absolutely comparable to European or American standards, with professionally taken photos and overall very good looking. The success of Italian or French companies, for example, is based on this. Although they do not sell as many goods here as, for example, in the EU due to lower purchasing power, but thanks to the increased status of their brand, they gain a position to which Argentines aspire and, if they have enough funds, feel free to buy the product, even if it’s expensive, they’ll buy it.
Issues of intellectual property protection
Argentina has a number of laws regarding the protection of intellectual property rights:
Patents – Law 24 481/95 and Decree 260/96
Trademarks – Law 22 362/81 and Protocol 8/95
Industrial Design – Decree 6673/63, Law 16 478/64 and law 16 748/65
intellectual property – law 11 723/33, 17 648/68 and 20 115/73
geographical origin – law 19 983/72, 22 802/83 and decision 8/95
unfair competition – law 17 086/67, 17 088/67, 22 802/83 and 24 786/96 technology transfer – law 22 426/81 and decree 1853/93
computer programs – decree 165/94
protection of plant species – law 20 247/73
By becoming a member of international organizations and acceding to a number of conventions, Argentina undertakes to comply with internationally recognized rules in this field. These are as follows:
WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) – Member since 1980, under its WTC Agreements on Copyright – 2002 and WPPT on Motion Picture and Sound Recordings – 2002
WTO – TRIPs Agreements on the Protection and Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights – 1995
Paris Agreement on Industrial Property – 1967
Berne Agreement on Artistic and Literary Works – 1967
Rome Agreement on Motion Picture, Producer, Recording and Broadcasting Organizations – 1992
Geneva Agreement on Unauthorized Recordings – 1973
Nairobi Agreement on Olympic Symbols – 1986
Even so, the aforementioned legal norms and international agreements are still being violated in Argentina. The Delegation of the European Commission notes violations of intellectual property rights in the following areas:
- trademarks and patents – in the case of pharmaceutical and agrochemical products, the processes of granting protection are slowed down and, on the contrary, copies are licensed;
- protection of names and geographical origin – the legislation is most often circumvented by using the word “type” or by translating it into Spanish;
- trademark registration – the process is very lengthy.
In Argentina, there are two main causes, or channels of trade in counterfeit goods: physical market La Salada and online marketplace Mercado Libre. Counterfeit products often appear on both, and on Mercado Libre in the recent past, even a Czech company (Mercado Libre has a mechanism for rights and brand holders to defend themselves).
Public procurement market
For the eventual success of a Czech company, it is necessary to perfectly know the conditions of the public competition, their form and to present the company perfectly. Due to the administrative complexity of Argentina and the number of public organizations with different statuses, public procurement is one of the most complex areas of business. Tenders are issued by ministries and their subordinate organizations, publicly owned enterprises, provinces and cities, very often according to various regulations and rules. The applicant for a public contract must register with the agency entrusted with the organization of the entire event. By filling out the detailed form, the first part of the applicant’s presentation takes place. A foreign bidder for a government contract is usually required to have a representative in Argentina. The company applying for the contract must prove that it is liquid and that it has settled all liabilities.
Government bodies are governed by uniform federal legislation. Institutions that are decentralized but at the same time under the control of one of the ministries (ADIF, Vialidad – Ministry of Transport, etc.) have their own rules for selecting suppliers. The ministries above them have the right to supervise their activities, but the legal responsibility rests with these decentralized organizations and companies. Contracts awarded with money provided by foreign financial institutions, such as the World Bank etc. (e.g. for the development of solar energy and others) are not subject to Argentine legislation. The invitation to enter the competition must be published in the official newspaper (Boletín Oficial) usually 12 days before the deadline for submitting the offer, at least 8 days in advance for smaller contracts. The application must be in Spanish, the form is determined by the issuing organization.
Foreign companies can participate in tenders for public contracts in Argentina in two ways: through branches registered here or directly from the headquarters as a foreign bidder. In this case, the tenders must be marked as “International”, which is most often the case for tenders with a significant technological part that is not produced or only partially produced in Argentina. According to the law, foreign companies are disadvantaged by the fact that local companies can bid up to 5% more expensive in order to be awarded the contract (for SMEs, this difference can be 7%). The National Office for Contracts ONC (Oficina Nacional de Contrataciones) is responsible for the functioning of the system and the determination of uniform rules, individual ministries or decentralized organizations are responsible for the actual performance and negotiations with bidders.
Due to the lack of resources, external financing is usually required for large orders, long-term financing for investment units. In the early 1990s, when mass privatization of the Argentine economy took place, Czech companies could not or did not know how to participate in this process. Companies that have gained control over privatized companies prefer goods from the same country of origin for subsequent deliveries, if they are comparable in price and quality to the competition. Therefore, Czech companies cannot use this multiplier effect, and if they want to succeed, they must have an exceptional price and quality, or they must focus on the role of subcontractors.
The countries of the Mercosur bloc (in addition to Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay) have signed a protocol on the same treatment of companies that participate in the tendering process in another Mercosur state. Argentina has already begun to grant this right to foreign companies from the countries of the bloc, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay are to do so as soon as possible. At the same time, all four countries committed to start including regional administrations in the system of mutual recognition, i.e. 23 provinces and the capital city of Buenos Aires in Argentina.
The Ministry of Productive Development manages the Comprar portal ( https://comprar.gob.ar/ )
The European Union commissioned a document, which maps dozens of organizations and provinces that list tenders in Argentina. ( https://www.mzv.cz/public/fb/cd/c9/2951568_1983474_VZ_ARG.pdf )
Payment terms, payment ethics and resolution of commercial disputes
Care must be taken when negotiating payment terms, as standard terms carry a certain risk. At the beginning of a new business cooperation, it is advisable to insist on payment in advance. For new customers, we recommend requesting bank information. Administrative obstacles still cause major problems today, for example late payments to suppliers. The convertibility of the Argentine peso to the US dollar when paying for goods is not free and subject to the approval of the central bank. We recommend using a letter of credit for payment transactions. Payment dates often change with the new administration, and due to the demanding administrative procedure of the banks, payments are often delayed.
To resolve disputes that may arise, it is recommended to establish a court on neutral ground or in the Czech Republic in accordance with local laws.
Visas, fees, specific conditions for traveling to the territory
There is bilateral visa-free travel between the Czech Republic and Argentina for holders of all types of passports for 90 days. Holders of passports can remain in Argentina for this period if they do not work or, for example, study (typically for the purpose of tourism). Minor Argentine citizens (under 18 years of age) must have their parents’ notarized permission to travel when leaving the country (this also applies to cases where minors travel with only one parent). A similar permit should not be required by the Argentinian authorities from Czech citizens, but it can be recommended. For all other activities, or any stay longer than 90 days, Czech citizens need a visa issued by the relevant representation of Argentina for the Czech Republic. The visa policy of individual countries is fully within their national competence and the conditions may change frequently.
The security situation in Argentina is deteriorating on a national scale. This unfavorable trend is particularly evident in the increasing crime rate in Buenos Aires. When traveling from Ezeiza International Airport, we recommend using a taxi only. In the capital city of Buenos Aires, we generally do not recommend using public transport due to the high number of pickpockets. Taxi is currently a relatively cheap alternative, Uber and Cabify services also work here. Above all, in Buenos Aires, we encourage great vigilance and compliance with the usual and experienced travelers’ notorious rules of passive prevention: never lose sight of your personal belongings, e.g. in restaurants do not hang handbags on the backs of chairs, do not unnecessarily display cameras and valuables, pay close attention when taking pictures attention to the people in your immediate environment. In the evening, avoid side streets and, if possible, move in groups, do not visit slums, which, for example, are located in the city center in Buenos Aires. In the event of an assault using violence or a weapon, never defend yourself and have a certain amount of cash ready with which you can satisfy the attacker and prevent further aggression. A special phenomenon are the so-called motochorros, adults on motorcycles who rob tourists and local residents, often at gunpoint. with which you can satisfy the attacker and prevent further aggression. A special phenomenon are the so-called motochorros, adults on motorcycles who rob tourists and local residents, often at gunpoint. with which you can satisfy the attacker and prevent further aggression. A special phenomenon are the so-called motochorros, adults on motorcycles who rob tourists and local residents, often at gunpoint.
Among the most dangerous parts of Buenos Aires is the Boca district, where we do not recommend moving outside of a few streets frequented by tourists (around the well-known Caminito, but not the way from this place to the Boca Juniors stadium, which is a few hundred meters away) and even there you must be extremely careful of pickpockets, then the San Telmo district (thefts especially during the weekend flea markets), in the evening the center (the so-called “microcentro”, especially the pedestrian area of Florida Street and the surrounding area), all suburban train stations (especially Retiro, Constitución) and the bus station, where never keep an eye on all your luggage (just like at Ezeiza International Airport and the domestic Aeroparque).
Employment of citizens from the Czech Republic
Argentina is a country with a traditionally favorable attitude towards immigration and the arrival of new residents. The process of obtaining a residence permit and a work permit was greatly simplified by the Migration Law of 2004 (Ley 25871 de Migraciones), where obtaining a residence permit simultaneously gives the right to work. The procedure for obtaining a residence permit for Czech citizens in Argentina is the responsibility of the Argentine authorities. It can therefore be recommended to consult with the Embassy of Argentina in Prague. According to available information, the procedure is basically as follows:
- the applicant must submit an application to the División de Radicaciones de la Dirección de Admisión de Extranjeros, Dirección Nacional de Migraciones (Residence Division of the Directorate for the Entry of Foreigners, National Directorate for Migration), to which he must attach a number of documents – a valid passport with the last entry into the country marked, birth sheet, extracts from the criminal record from the country of permanent residence and Argentina; all documents (except the passport) must have an apostille, translated into Spanish by an official translator and verified by the relevant consular department of the Argentine Embassy;
- in addition, a fee must be paid in cash, the amount of which changes with inflation; in addition to the basic documents mentioned above, the need to present others varies according to the purpose of the stay (e.g. academic profession, representative of a Czech company, employee of an Argentine company, etc.); accordingly, e.g. a confirmation from a local educational institution or proof of the establishment of a company representative together with an extract from the commercial register or an employment contract etc. is required;
- after submitting the documents, the applicant will receive a temporary residence permit (Residencia Precaria), which will allow him to stay in the country legally until the status is settled in the territory of Argentina (temporary or permanent); on the basis of this permit, he will obtain a so-called CUIL (personal identification number – Código Único de Identifación Laboral), which will enable him to settle social (in Argentina, similar to the Czech social and health) and pension insurance; this step is taking place at ANSeS, the state social insurance organization.
Argentina also provides free emergency medical care to foreigners if they visit a public health facility with an acute need. In this case, you must have your passport with you.
Fairs and events
The most important international fairs and exhibitions
Exposición Rural: http://www.exposicionrural.com.ar/
Feria del Libro publishing house: https://www.el-libro.org.ar/
Mining and Energy
International Lithium Seminar: https://litioensudamerica.com.ar/
Expo Transporte: https://www.expotransporte.com.ar/
Feria Internacional de Turismo: https://fit.org.ar/en/