Foreign Trade and Exchange Regulations

The Free Foreign Exchange Market is set out in Executive Order No. 260/02, Section 1, as amended by Law No. 27,444, Section 132. Section 2 of such executive order provides that foreign exchange transactions are to be conducted at a freely agreed exchange rate, following the requirements and regulations of the BCRA. Also, according to Section 29 of Law No. 24,144 (BCRA Charter), the BCRA is empowered to adopt regulations on the foreign exchange system according to the laws in force, and oversee compliance therewith. In turn, Executive Order No. 609/19 (published in the Official Gazette on September 1, 2019), as amended by Executive Order No. 91/19 (published in the Official Gazette on December 28, 2019), provides that foreign exchange proceeds from exports of goods and services shall be transferred to Argentina's financial system and/or exchanged in the market under the terms and conditions that the BCRA may establish.

In addition, it vests the BCRA with powers to regulate the cases of transfers abroad, as well as purchases of foreign currency and precious metal coins which require its authorization before having access to the market. The BCRA is also empowered to lay down regulations to avoid practices and transactions intended to circumvent the provisions of the executive order through sovereign bonds or other instruments.

At present, foreign exchange regulations are included in the Consolidated Text on Foreign Trade and Exchange issued by Communication “A” 6844 as supplemented.

Such rules basically provide the following:

Transactions must be made through an institution licensed to trade in the foreign exchange market. Such institution will request the client to submit any information and/or documents necessary to ensure that the transaction involved is genuine and agrees with the stated type of transaction.

• The exchange ticket issued for every purchase or sale of foreign currency shall be taken as an affidavit.

• Any breach will be punished as provided for in the Foreign Exchange Criminal Regime.

• Any proceeds from exports of goods and services, and from the sale of non-produced non-financial assets shall be transferred to Argentina's financial system and exchanged in the market within the required periods. The transfer and exchange of foreign currency obtained from financial borrowings is a prerequisite for the subsequent access to the foreign exchange market for the repayment of principal and interest.

• Residents may access the foreign exchange market for payment of imports of goods, services provided by non-residents, earnings and dividends, and financial borrowings, as long as all the requirements are fulfilled.

• However, they are not allowed to access the foreign exchange market for the repayment of debts or other liabilities in foreign currency to another resident, except as permitted.

• Resident individuals may access the foreign exchange market for the build-up of foreign assets, transfers for family support and for derivatives transactions, subject to a monthly cap and under certain conditions. For this purpose, the BCRA implemented an online system that allows participating institutions to verify that clients are authorized to buy foreign currency, either because they have not reached the limits on purchases in the month or because they have not exceeded them in the previous month.

• Legal persons’ access to the foreign exchange market for the build-up of foreign assets and for derivatives transactions requires prior authorization by the BCRA.

• Non-residents require the BCRA’s prior authorization to access the forex market except in the case of international organizations, diplomatic or consular representatives, pension beneficiaries, among others. Moreover, non-resident tourists staying in Argentina can buy back up to USD100 as long as the institution verifies through the online system that they have sold in the forex market—within the previous 90 calendar days—an amount greater than or equal to the one they wish to buy.

All inquiries or requests of prior authorization to the BCRA must be made through a licensed institution. They must be addressed to the Foreign Trade and Exchange Senior Management Office and submitted at the front desk of the BCRA. The financial institution involved must attach a review on the inquiry or request under consideration along with any necessary information for the analysis of the BCRA.

Exchange Transaction Reporting System (RIOC in Spanish)

On a daily basis, financial institutions report information to the BCRA, such as the foreign exchange purchases and sales they arrange with their clients, through the Exchange Transaction Reporting System, which includes a list of heading codes for the transactions made in the foreign exchange market.

In August 2016, the simplification of rules establishing the procedures to perform foreign exchange transactions was accompanied by a review of the heading codes used to record the purchases and sales of foreign currency by clients.

As a result, the list of codes was reduced from 315 headings to around 70 new codes as from September 1, 2016.

For more information, download the Illustrative Guide of New Headings.

Survey of External Assets and Liabilities

Communication A6401, implemented a survey of external assets and liabilities, which superseded the surveys established by Communications A3602 and A4237, based on the information as of December 31, 2017.

The new survey of external assets and liabilities involves all individuals and legal persons, estates, and other vehicles not covered by the definition of General Government contained in the Sixth Edition of the International Monetary Fund's Balance of Payments Manual.

Communication A6594 exempts individuals from disclosing external assets.

Survey of Private Sector Issues of Securities and Other External Liabilities

This applies only to the submission of information prior to December 31, 2017.

Survey of Direct Investments

This applies only to the submission of information prior to December 31, 2017. Click here for a history of the validated presentations made by the reporting companies.