August 10, 2017 / 3:10 PM / 3 years ago

Argentina cuts tariffs on used oil equipment imports

BUENOS AIRES, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Argentina’s government published a decree on Thursday eliminating or reducing tariffs on imports of used equipment for oil and natural gas companies, a measure long sought by the industry, but it included requirements to buy some locally produced goods.

The new rules would go into effect on Friday and apply through June 2019, according to a resolution published in the Official Gazette.

Developing the Vaca Muerta shale fields, some of the world’s largest, is a key goal of Argentine President Mauricio Macri’s administration.

“In many cases, the goods in question cannot be provided by the local industry, in the time frame and quality required to purchase by the sector,” the resolution said.

Tariffs on the imported equipment will now vary between zero to 14 percent, down from seven to 28 percent previously.

However, companies that import second-hand machinery are also required to purchase a certain amount of nationally produced goods.

That amount ranges from 15 percent of the value of imported equipment up to two years old to 80 percent of the value of some 10-year-old imported equipment, the decree said.

Imports of equipment older than 10 years would not be allowed.

Macri first promised oil companies tariff reductions on used rigs and other equipment during a visit to Houston in April.

But the government, facing midterm elections in October, then negotiated with local manufacturers who feared used imports would put them out of business, Reuters reported last month.

Macri highlighted the upcoming measure in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday.

“We have approved that (companies) can come with used equipment,” he said. “There is left over machinery in the United States. They should bring it.”

Reporting by Caroline Stauffer and Eliana Raszewski; Editing by W Simon

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