During a press conference held yesterday, Mr. Nicolás Dujovne (Minister of the Treasury) announced different measures to tackle the issues that are currently affecting the Argentine economy. Although the information is still limited, please find hereinbelow a general overview of the information available:

1. Export Duties on Goods and Services

Minister Dujovne announced new export rights that will apply to the definitve exportation of both goods and services.

1.a. Goods

Decree No. 793/18 was published today in the Argentine Official Gazette. This is the first regulation issued to implement the new measures that were announced. The Decree establishes the following:

a) General Export Duties: a 12% export duty rate for all products included within the Mercosur General Customs Tariff Code.

b) Caps: Such export duties cannot exceed AR$ 4 for each United States Dollar of the taxable amounts or FOB value. For goods included within Annex I of the Decree, the cap will be of AR$ 3 per each United States Dollar of the taxable amount or FOB value, as applicable.

c) Addition: In the case of goods whose export is already taxed, the export rights indicated in a) will be added to the existing export rights (i.e. soybean exports).

d) Delay payment: The 15-day waiting term established by the regulatory decree of the Customs Code (Decree No. 1001/82) will not be applicable for these new export duties.

1.b. Services

Decree No. 793/18 did not include any provisions regarding exportation of services.

1.c. Constitutional Concerns

Decree No. 793/2018 brings back to live the debate on the Executive Branch's power to impose export duties without prior legislative approval. This issue has already been analyzed in 2014 by the Supreme Court in the precedent “Camaronera Patagónica SA v. Ministerio de Economía y otros o. amparo”.

In such precedent the Supreme Court ruled that Resolution No. 11/02 issued by the back-then Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure was unconstitutional. This Resolution reintroduced export duties -which were abolished in the nineties- in the midst of the 2002 crisis.

In this precedent the Supreme Court ruled:

  • That export duties must be considered as taxes;
  • Hence, export duties enjoy all the constitutional guarantees, especially the requirement that they can only be imposed by the Congress, which has the power to define the taxable matter, the applicable rate, the subjects of the tax and the exemptions; and
  • That Resolution No. 11/02 created new taxes that did not comply with such requirements and, thus, it was unconstitutional.

We are of the opinion that this precedent allows the filing of legal actions against Decree No. 793/2018 as well as the filing of reimbursement requests on effectively paid export duties.

2. Social security contributions

The federal administration also announced that the Government would suspend for one year the reduction of social security contributions expected to be implemented in 2019.