WASHINGTON – US Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced the US is requesting consultations with Argentina under the dispute settlement provisions of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Meanwhile, Argentina is preparing its own WTO case against the US on claims of unfair trade barriers, according to news reports.

Kirk said Argentina has employed restrictive trade measures such as arbitrary and broad licensing requirements that are keeping more than 600 US made items out of Argentina. Argentina also requires importers to agree to export as much as they import or make other burdensome commitments in exchange for authorization to import goods.

“Argentina’s protectionist measures adversely affect a broad segment of US industry, which exports billions of dollars in goods each year to Argentina. These exports support jobs and businesses here at home,” Kirk said. "The Obama Administration insists that all of our trading partners play by the rules and uphold their WTO obligations so that American workers receive the benefits negotiated in our agreements.

"The Interagency Trade Enforcement Center (ITEC) was established by the President earlier this year to strengthen further the United States’ ability to enforce trade agreements. The ITEC provided key support for this enforcement action and will continue to do so,” he added.

In response to Argentina’s trade restrictions, the US has implemented restrictions on imports of beef and lemons from Argentina. Reports have surfaced that Argentina plans to challenge those restrictions.