The U.S. signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with Argentina during President Obama’s trip to the country on Wednesday.
The new TIFA launches a formal dialogue that could pave the way for the two countries to work toward a more comprehensive trade arrangement.
U.S. Ambassador to Argentina Noah Mamet and Argentina’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Susana Malcorra signed the TIFA in Buenos Aires.
“Today’s agreement provides a vehicle for strengthening U.S.-Argentina trade and investment relations at an important time,” said U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman. “It reflects President Obama’s strong interest in improved bilateral relations with one of the most important economies in the Western Hemisphere and to promoting increased economic opportunities between us.”
Two-way trade in goods and services between the U.S. and Argentina reached $23 billion in 2014, according to the most recent data available. The U.S. had a $5.4 billion goods trade surplus with Argentina in 2015.
Argentina is a small supplier of textiles and apparel to the U.S. Combined imports from Argentina were $3.7 million last year.
The U.S. won a case against Argentina at the World Trade Organization in January 2015 that could help U.S. companies boost exports to the South American country.
As part of the case, the U.S. challenged widespread licensing restrictions maintained by Argentina on the importation of goods, including $3.5 million worth of U.S. apparel products. The U.S. exported nearly $11 billion in goods to Argentina, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said. Apparel, textile and footwear exports were impacted by the import licensing restrictions imposed by Argentina, according to industry groups.
A WTO appellate body upheld the findings of a WTO dispute settlement panel that was in favor of the U.S. under certain provisions of a global trade statute stating that Argentina’s import licensing requirements and other import restrictions breached international trade rules. The European Union and Japan were co-complainants with the U.S. in the case.