A cross-border guide to Argentine ecommerce, shipping, and importing goods
If you are looking to grow your ecommerce business into Argentina , you’ve come to the right place. In our guide, created by Zonos' cross-border experts, you will find the following:
Ease of doing business 3/5
- Most ecommerce shipments go through a simple entry process.
- Argentina is a World Tade Organization (WTO) member with many trade agreements in place, which is favorable for doing business.
- Argentina’s requirements for qualifying shipments using a formal entry process can be time consuming and costly.
- Argentina requires an import license for formal entry shipments, which can be tedious if the recipient does use a carrier that offers brokerage services (only available for shipments up to $3,000 USD) or does not hire a customs broker.
Landed cost fairness 2/5
- The duty rate range is reasonable, which makes for a fair landed cost.
- The import tax is high, which can make for a higher landed cost.
- There is no de minimis for courier shipments, which means these imports are subject to duty and tax.
The flexibility of legal regulations 2/5
- Certificates of origin from the U.S. must be stamped by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce or authenticated by an Argentine embassy or consulate, which is a difficult process.
Accessibility and variety of payment methods 5/5
- Argentina accepts international payment methods, which is convenient for cross-border transactions.
Market opportunity 4/5
- Over 80% of the population use the internet and more than half shop online, making the market opportunity high.
|Population||46.1 million (2022)|
|GDP||1.026 trillion USD (2022)|
|GDP per capita||12,390 USD (2021)|
|Internet penetration||83% of the population use the internet. (2022)|
|Ecommerce users||59% of the population shop online. (2022)|
|Leading product categories||Food and beverage products; clothing; and home and garden supplies|
|Preferred online payment method(s)||Credit and debit cards, bank transfers, online payment gateways, and digital wallets|
The landed cost for a cross-border transaction includes all duties, taxes, and fees associated with the purchase. This includes:
- Product price
- Fees (currency conversion, carrier, broker, customs, or government fees)
Argentine de minimis, tax, and duty
CIF: CIF (cost, insurance, freight) is a method for calculating import taxes or duties where the tax is calculated on the cost of the order plus the cost of freight and insurance.
Duty and tax de minimis
- Postal shipments
- Tax de minimis: 50 USD
- Duty De minimis: 50 USD
The de minimis for postal shipments is only valid for 12 shipments per year.
- Courier shipments
- Tax de minimis: 0 USD
- Duty de minimis: 0 USD
Applied to the CIF value of the order
De minimis value
Duty and tax will be charged only on imports into Argentina where the total CIF value of the import exceeds Argentina’s minimum value threshold (de minimis). Argentina does not have a de minimis for courier shipments, which means duty and tax fees are charged on all courier imports. The only time goods are exempt from duty and tax on a courier shipment is when they receive preferential treatment through trade agreements.
For postal shipments, however, the duty and tax de minimis is 50 USD and any import exceeding this value will be subject to duty and tax. Once a sender has exceeded the twelve-shipment de minimis threshold, the 50 USD de minimis goes away.
- Standard rate: 21%
- Speical rate: 10.5% and 2.5%
Applied to the CIF value of the order
VAT - Value-added tax
The standard import VAT rate for Argentina is 21%. Certain products, like living bovine animals and certain capital goods (depending on the HS code), are subject to a reduced rate of 10.5%. Certain newspapers and magazines are subject to a reduced rate of 2.5%.
Duty rate range
Applied to the CIF value of the order
Argentina’s duty range is 0-35% and is applied to the CIF value of the order. Some products have specific duty rates, meaning their duty is based on the quantity of the goods in the shipment, e.g. 0.7 cents per kilogram.
Duty fees should not be paid as long as the postal value limit of 12 shipments with a total of 50 USD per shipment annually or 600 USD annually is not surpassed.
Do not pay duty on postal shipment…
- If the value of your postal shipment does not exceed 50 USD.
Required to pay duty on postal shipments…
- If the value of your postal shipment exceeds 50 USD, you will pay a 50% duty fee on the surplus.
- For example: If your postal shipment has a value of 80 USD, it exceeds the 50 USD de minimis by 30 USD. You will pay a 50% import duty fee on that surplus of 30 USD. In this case, the duty fee is 15 USD (50% of 30 USD).
- If you exceed 12 personal shipments in a year or ship over 600 USD worth of postal shipments, then you will pay a 50% duty fee on the total value of your shipment.
- For example: If your postal shipment has a value of 80 USD, then you will pay a 50% duty fee on that shipment. In this case, the duty fee is 40 USD (50% of 80 USD).
- If it is your first time surpassing the 12 postal shipments with a 50 USD value or the 600 USD limit, then a 50 USD franchise dollars can be discounted, and then a 50% duty fee is charged on the rest of the value.
- For example: If a product is purchased for 550 USD, taxes must be paid for 250 USD (550 USD-50 USD=500 USD) and (50% of 500 USD=250 USD).
- This discount will not be applied to subsequent purchases.
Landed cost examples
Below is a sample landed cost breakdown for a courier shipment (most common) to Argentina calculated using Zonos Quoter. Since there is no duty or tax de minimis, duty and tax will always apply:
Landed cost for a courier shipment to Argentina:
Argentina is part of at least 20 trade agreements that offer a zero or highly discounted duty rate for goods manufactured in participating countries.
Argentina is a member of the World Trade Organization
As a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Argentina must abide by the most-favored-nation (MFN) clause, which requires a country to provide any concessions, privileges, or immunities granted to one nation in a trade agreement to all other WTO member countries. For example, if one country reduces duties by 10% for a particular WTO country, the MFN clause states that all WTO members will receive the same 10% reduction.
Argentina’s customs authority
Customs refund in Argentina
Talk to your carrier about customs refunds.
Top courier services:
- DHL Express
Depending on the courier, additional shipping fees may include:
- Fuel surcharge
- Remote delivery charge
- Signature fee
- Overweight or oversized fee
- Special handling fee
- Dangerous goods fee
Documentation and paperwork
Commercial invoice (three copies and must be in Spanish)
The recipient’s Código Único de Identificación Tributaria [Unique Code for Taxpaying Identification] (CUIT) number
- This number should be provided by the recipient and present on all shipping documents. This will be collected upon import. If the carrier is clearing the shipment, they will contact the recipient.
- This is needed only for maritime shipments if the exporter purchased insurance coverage.
Certificate of origin
Certain items, like clothing, footwear, chemicals, bicycle parts, air conditioning equipment, toys, wood fiberboard, and flat-rolled iron or steel require a certificate of origin for import. This can be to claim preferential tariff treatment or due to other factors such as:
- Anti-dumping duties
- Countervailing and safeguard measures
- Import quotas and trade statistics
Certificates of origin from the U.S. must be stamped by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce or authenticated by an Argentine embassy or consulate.
Prohibited, restricted, and controlled imports into Argentina
Government agencies regulate imports.
Restricted items are different from prohibited items. Prohibited items are not allowed to be imported into a country at all. Restricted items are not allowed to be imported into a country unless the importer has approval or a special license. Controlled goods have military or national security significance.
- Some types of used motor vehicles
- Certain used machinery
- Used tires
- Certain chemicals
- Dangerous substances and residues
- Medical products containing nimesulide
- Telephone terminals
- Raw cotton
- Used clothing (unless donated to a government agency)
- Certain food additives and dyes
- Shipments containing any dangerous chemicals or substances
- Pet food containing ruminant-origin material
- Certain incandescent light bulbs
- Toys and childcare products containing phthalates
- Alcoholic beverages (except wine)
- Food products
- Health supplements
Legal regulations for businesses
Shipments entering Argentina go through one of two clearance types depending on the criteria they meet.
Courier and postal system
Shipments go through the courier and postal clearance system when they meet all of the following criteria:
- Shipment value: Less than 1,000 USD
- Shipment weight: Less than 110lbs
- No restricted items present in the shipment
The courier clearance system is a simple entry process that allows the carrier to clear the package and delivery it to the recipient’s door.
Shipments go through the formal clearance system when they meet any of the following criteria:
- Shipment value: Greater than 1,000 USD
- Shipment weight: Greater than 110lbs
- Restricted items are present in the shipment
The formal entry process requires the recipient or other appointed individual (like a third-party customs broker) to clear the package. On the day of the shipment’s arrival in Argentina, the carrier will notify the recipient of the formal entry requirement and they will need to pick up the paperwork and pay the necessary charges to clear the package. Argentina only has one entry port and it is in Buenos Aires, so if the recipient is in another location, they should appoint someone, like a customs broker, to clear the package on their behalf. Upon request, the carrier may provide transit of the shipment to the recipient’s location. The recipient must arrange this transportation within a specified amount of days shipment’s arrival (varies by carrier) in Buenos Aires.
When a recipient’s products meet the formal entry criteria, they also need an import license, which they can obtain through Argentina’s comprehensive import monitoring system/ Sistema Integral de Monitoreo de Importaciones (SIMI). This system monitors imports into Argentina and processes import licenses in advance and free of charge. If the recipient does not have a brokerage license, they should enlist a customs broker’s service to obtain the license and clear the package.
The requirements and information for SIMI registration can be found here.
Package labeling and marking requirements
When exporting to Argentina, your package labels and markings must adhere to the following rules:
- Labels must be in Spanish except for foreign phrases that wouldn’t translate well into Spanish.
- Measurements must be in metric units.
The label must be on the package printed with the following information:
- Name and description of the product(s)
- Country of origin
- Quality, purity, or blending description
- Net weight
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When do I need an import license to ship to Argentina?
If your goods meet the criteria for formal entry outlined in this guide, you will need an import license. If you do not have a brokerage license, you should use a customs broker’s services.