The Government of Argentina has become less involved in the promotion of individual commodities through the National Grain Board and National Meat Board because these boards have been privatized. The government of Argentina also continues its involvement in market promotion through trade missions and public/private sector partnerships. The chief government-assisted programs include PROMEX (Non-Traditional Agricultural Exporters' Program) and PROCAR (the Beef Export Promotion Program of the Argentine Secretary of Agriculture). Together, promotion funding for these programs is estimated at $10 million for 1996. Major markets for export promotions are in Southeast Asia, Europe and the United States. Information on private sector funding is not available.
In the past few years, the Government of Argentina initiated two export promotion programs. PROMEX, a branch of the Argentine Secretariat of Agriculture, was created in March 1992 with the purpose of increasing Argentina's exports of non-traditional agricultural products in foreign markets. PROMEX is financed by the InterAmerican Development Bank (IADB) and by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). PROMEX helps companies fund participation in exhibitions and/or fairs to boost non-traditional agricultural products. The products that can be included in the program are those whose total annual export value, as a recent 3-year average, is less than $10 million, FOB value, and from producers that have exported less than $1 million, FOB value. However, those producers that start in the export market as joint-ventures or in combination with cooperatives with new products that are included in the program are also welcome. The program includes products such as: fish, fresh and processed aromatic spices, fresh and processed fruit and vegetables, flowers, and non-traditional meats and animal products, including hair and skins. For overseas travel, PROMEX pays 50 percent of the air fare and 50 percent of the per diem; the other half is paid by the producer-exporter.
PROMEX is directed by an Executive Commission composed of six members: a President and five directors. Three members are represented by the Government: the Secretariat of Agriculture, the Secretariat of Industry and Commerce, and the Argentine National Bank. The other three members come from the private sector and represent the canned peach and tomato industries, the fresh and processed potato industries, and the President of the Exporters' Chamber.
PROCAR, the Beef Export Promotion Program of the Argentine Secretary of Agriculture, was created in 1993, with the objective of expanding Argentine beef exports through the opening of new markets, strengthening old ones, product diversification, and the launching of new products by emphasizing their natural, excellent quality. PROCAR's estimated annual budget is financed both by the government and the Inter-American Development Bank. Since its creation, PROCAR has participated in various international food shows including Anuga, Green Week (Berlin), Foodex, Foodexpo, Sial, and Fisa; and has organized trade missions to Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and South Africa.
PROCAR offers the following services: market information, participation in international fairs, organization of trade and promotional campaigns. Private industry representatives who participate in PROCAR's activities generally pay their own expenses. PROCAR organizes each trade event, but pays only the expenses of its own officials. In the future, PROCAR could improve and somewhat expand its activities, although budgetary restrictions remain a problem.
The Ministry of Foreign Relations administers EXPORT-AR, a program to promote Argentine exports from small- and medium-size companies. However, no information on market promotion expenditures or activities is available for this program.
Although the government of Argentina does not use direct export subsidies to subsidize its agricultural exports, it does administer a form of transportation subsidy to promote investment in the poor and desert-like region of Patagonia. However, the total amount of this subsidy is unknown.
The government of Argentina also offers credit lines for production, export pre-finance, and trade fair participation. Interest costs of government-offered loans are not subsidized. Other credit lines encourage the production of forest plantations. Information on program levels for export financing are not available.
Some Argentine agricultural product exports are taxed to encourage domestic production (peanuts, soybeans, linseed, sunflowerseed and cottonseed). All products exported (with the exception of those going to Mercosur members) benefit from tax rebates. Rebates vary from 1.5 to 15 percent. The total value of these rebates also is not available.