industry Argentine electronics recovered half of the tariff protection it enjoyed until before the previous government brought them to zero. For businessmen, this is encouraging and enough to start thinking about new investments.
So pointed out to Scope Juan Ponelli, CEO of Positivo BGH -one of the leading companies in the national market in terms of consumer electronics-, referring to decree 136/2023, published in the Official Gazette last Tuesday.
The measure implied a partial revision of Decree 117 of February 2017, by which the Government of former President Mauricio Macri reduced the import tariff of a series of computer products to zero, decision that was extended in 2021 for another seven years by the current administration.
Specific, The measure raises the tariff for computers under 3.5 kilograms -notebooks- from 0% to 8% and from 0% to 16% for those under 350 grams -tablets.
“A 16% tariff for this type of product allows us to get out of the exception that represented the 0% that it had until now, and the exception of 35% that we had in the past,” explained Ponelli, who considered that “It is a mature measure and a very healthy balance point for all players in the Industry”. The BGH manager added that “The decree reflects a request that the Industry had been making for a long time.”
The government measure puts the local industry in line with its Brazilian counterpart, in the sense that they now share the same level of extra-zone protection. “That imported computer products return to the common external tariff of Mercosur allows national manufacturers to return to a much more sustainable business model,” indicated the Argentine businessman.
The measure adopted in 2017 meant that Complete production lines for computers and tablets will be dismantled in Tierra del Fuego. Those that are assembled in the continental territory remain standing.
Entrepreneurs in the sector point out that the increase in tariffs does not necessarily imply that internal prices rise because they consider that they are not the only variable to take into account. “Currently, a Lenovo computer, with 0% import duty, has a value of $249,999, 25% more than what it costs in the United States, where it is available for $523 with an exchange rate of $380 per dollar. “, say industry sources. On the other hand, they say that a “locally manufactured” cell phone like the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra “has a final price of $499,999, 11% less when compared to its value in the United States where it is achieved at $1,476 with taxes included.” .
Among the businessmen it is pointed out that if there is a greater share of imported products in the local market, prices would be at the mercy of exchange rate fluctuations, something that would be counteracted with a greater presence of local factories.
In the Argentine Association of Electronic Terminals (AFARTE) They trust that with the new tariff scenario for local manufacturers such as Asus, Banghó, CX, Exo and Positivo BGH brands such as Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo and Samsung that already have production plants for notebooks and tablets in Brazil, and that they will be affected by the tariff increase by directly importing the finished products and not having, on their own account or in association, local assemblers.
While, the tax adviser Ramón Gallardowho works with electronics companies in Tierra del Fuego, pointed out that “the measure is good for the national industry”, although he raised some doubts as to whether notebook and tablet assemblers can be re-installed on the island. “You have to see the detail of how the tariffs will be according to the tariff positions,” Gallardo explained.