Argentina halts the sale of iPhones and BlackBerries [Update]

In a bid to strengthen the local economy, Argentina's government has banned the sale of consumer electronics that are not made within the country. If you're an iPhone or BlackBerry addict in Argentina, your days are numbered, according to a report by the website Manuals.ws.

Unless Apple decides to open a production line in Argentina, they will be locked out of the market. Currently only handset providers with local facilities like Motorola, Nokia, and Samsung will be able to sell to Argentina's electronics consumers. RIM has been rumored to be looking to partner with another company with facilities in the country. Previously, without local manufacturing, the government had forced Apple and RIM to wait 60 to 180 days for approval to sell their devices and that was with an additional 20.48 percent tax on top of the existing 21 percent VAT for certain imported electronic devices.

The government says that the move is temporary and that the restrictions will be lifted after the economy improves.

According to AppleInsider, despite all the previous restrictions, the iPhone and BlackBerry still hold a 60% share of the local market. Given the popularity of the devices, it's expected that the ban will only serve to create a black market where unlocked devices are imported from other countries and sold to the highest bidder. While this will prevent the average consumer from being able to purchase an iPhone, it won't stop the most hardcore fans in the country.

Foxconn, who assembles the iPhone and iPad for Apple, currently has a production facility in neighboring Brazil.

Update: It seems that we've been punked. As The Next Web points out, today is the spanish version of April Fools Day, and the entire story was a very clever hoax. AppleInsider has since pulled their story.

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The update at the end of the article says that it's a prank. Well, it's not. If you know some Spanish you can go to this website and check it out: http://www.lanacion.com.ar/143...s-proteccionistas-del-mundo

La Nacion is one of the main newspapers in that country, and the article is from 12/20. Besides, today is not the Argentinean version of April Fool's Day. Argentina is quickly becoming a left wing dictatorship very much like Cuba or Venezuela, with all kinds of restrictions to free market and individual liberties. In other words, all the crap that they say about Obama here, that he's a marxist, socialist, communist, blah blah blah, which is a load of crap made up by the Republicans to win the next election, is very true in Argentina. Not that I'm too crazy about Obama either, Republicans should spend some time in Argentina if they want to see what a leftist government is really like.

I don't know why should apple care about loosing this market. I'm sure there isn't many Argentinians that can actually afford the devices. The last time I visited that country for a business trip I noticed they are about 5 years behind when it comes to technology. Besides, why would they start a production line in that country when they can do it Chile, a country with stronger economy and way less corruption. Traveling between the two countries was like day and night economy and corruption wise.

That's true, but not what really matters, which is that the leftist dictatorship of Kirschner is steering the country more and more towards the Cuban and Venezuelan models, and eventually it could be worse, such as being a new North Korea. If you knew the kind of brainwashing that the Argentinean government is doing to that country you could see that it's not so far out to think that it may happen.

sebazwin said,
That's true, but not what really matters, which is that the leftist dictatorship of Kirschner is steering the country more and more towards the Cuban and Venezuelan models, and eventually it could be worse, such as being a new North Korea. If you knew the kind of brainwashing that the Argentinean government is doing to that country you could see that it's not so far out to think that it may happen.

Instesting you said that, I mentioned this post to my wife and her first comment was... are they communist or "anti-imperialists" with a smile on her face comparing this kind of extreme ruling to countries like China, North Korea, or Venezuela. I replied to her, its Argentina they aren't communist. She gave me the look and said, they sure are acting the part.

That being said from a non-techy person has a lot to say about the kind of bad reputation Argentina is getting from its government's lack of leadership. Believe me when I say this, I have no much knowledge about Argentina but the last time I heard about them they had lost a president in only a few weeks of being elected.

I don't mean to judge but just head to the corruption index for 2010 and you can see if anybody would like to bring their business to Argentina. Argentina ranks 105 in the same list where Afghanistan is placed 176 and USA ranks 22 in corruption. Coincidentally to what I mentioned earlier Chile ranks 21 outranking even US. I just don't get how things can change so much from one side of the border to another.

The corruption index I mentioned can be found here.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/news...-transparency-international

The real problem here, is that they are denying access to technology, there is a lot of companies here in Argentina that develops solutions for Iphone ecosystem, for example, how do you explain busisiness like Gameloft (hundreds of games for iphone ) or MetroGames (recently close), even Globant (+2000 Developers) , they dont even can test their own products, their only option is to import illegally Iphones. Besides the intellectual property derived from IPhone ecosystem (the more mature one) cant make sinergy.
At the end of the road, that IP will be only for export ... just saying ....

Im so glad a bunch of Argentinians came here to straighten out the story. I know Blackberry opened up a factory in Argentina so i was a bit puzzled by this article.

Banning the devices is violating freedom!

Raising taxes heavily on foreign products, makes much more sense.

I'm from Argentina too. The whole thing is wrong. As it was said, the government first increase the tax for luxury cellphones (iPhone and BB) then, it banned the automatic licences for importation of all the good that are "manufactured" in Argentina. This made notebooks, for example, impossible to be bought online. Dell stopped selling notebooks, same happened to HP and lenovo... after some months, they made an agreement bypassing this idiotic law by "manufacturing" in the south of the country. This "manufacturing" is a lie. What they do is put the phone, computer or whatever in the cardboard box, with it's manual and they say it's made in Argentina. The government and some companies says that the manufacture of the box, manual and put the hardware inside, is part of the manufacturing process so it can be consider "made in Argentina". Companies that didn't get to an agreement with the government, are only sold illegally in this country.

This country does not manufacture CPUs, RAMs, Motherboards, LCDs, etc. and it will never do. All this is useless.

Julián

Hi, I am from argentina. This is old news, because this started in February and the law that started everthing was in 2009... Also please read other sources, in the most recent numbers Android is leading the pack (with Apple and RIM trailing behind). Symbian have some marketshare left wich will be change hands, especially when Windows Phone come in Q1/Q2 of next year.
PS: I love this site, but if you report please plase read other sources (like redusers.com or something else). Thanks

Guys, I'm from Argentina, here's the deal: A few years ago the Argentinean Congress passed a law that doubled the tax for imported phones.

After that the Government started to ban, not the sale, but the importation of cellphones that weren't made in the country.

RIM did reach an agreement with the Government and they started a production line in Argentina and now is possible to buy Blackberries. They tried the same thing with Apple but they didn't want to open a factory over here, so the importation of iPhones is halted.

Sad but true. On the good side, this kind mesures helped the local economy because it created a lot of worked when companies like Motorola, Nokia, and Samsung started to build the devices on the country.

amigokin said,
Guys, I'm from Argentina, here's the deal: A few years ago the Argentinean Congress passed a law that doubled the tax for imported phones.

After that the Government started to ban, not the sale, but the importation of cellphones that weren't made in the country.

RIM did reach an agreement with the Government and they started a production line in Argentina and now is possible to buy Blackberries. They tried the same thing with Apple but they didn't want to open a factory over here, so the importation of iPhones is halted.

Sad but true. On the good side, this kind mesures helped the local economy because it created a lot of worked when companies like Motorola, Nokia, and Samsung started to build the devices on the country.

Oh really, they all started production lines in Argentina? More likely they see Argentina is a toxic business environment and suspend doing any business with it until they come to their senses.

Lol I'm argentinian but live outside and I'm currently visiting here and this seems like total bull**** someone is pulling out of their asses. Bb are the most used smartphones while iPhones are actually nowhere to be seen and has always been like that. People prefer to pay less for phones. At the most the issues are the carriers which none of them is actually local. And lol at the kids who get it all up in their grill with "oh maybe we should do that to them" trololol

Lucas said,
Lol I'm argentinian but live outside and I'm currently visiting here and this seems like total bull**** someone is pulling out of their asses. Bb are the most used smartphones while iPhones are actually nowhere to be seen and has always been like that. People prefer to pay less for phones. At the most the issues are the carriers which none of them is actually local. And lol at the kids who get it all up in their grill with "oh maybe we should do that to them" trololol

well I used to have an iPhone 4, gone in the blink of an eye in the Sarmiento train line, yeah yeah I know, stupid me

interesting. althought the real problem is china's currency manipulation. slap tariffs to balance that and then the world economy will rebound as the main inbalance caused by a 500lb chinese gorilla riding on the backs of western consumers will be over. then again, ask the chinese to play by the same rules everybody else and they throw a temper tandrum.

All other countries should halt sales of products made in Argentina applying the same rhetoric as them.

prohibition has proven successful in the past. I mean look at alcohol prohibition..

Wait... successful for the gangs/mobs, right.

What a dumb move.

Hey the taxing didn't work - people will still spend 40% above retail to get the products....

Well bob, we could banish those devices! Yea! give the mobs and gangs the upper hand!! Let them charge 75% over the retail price as no one can get them anywhere else!

Friggen one stop shop! pirated movies, counterfeit purses, illegal ipads, cocaine... Why shop anywhere else?

While this will prevent the average consumer from being able to purchase an iPhone, it won't stop the most hardcore fans in the country.

You underestimate the average latin american consumer.

NeoNut said,
You underestimate the average latin american consumer.
Are you sure you're not confusing the "average Latin American consumer" with radical Chavistas, Moralistas and Kirchneristas?

Ha! iPhone and BB 60%?? Maybe that's the quota of the imported phones.
You see 10 BBs per iPhone here and BTW, 2 things:
1) BB is already assembling its dumbphones since October
2) They are only assembling, like every other international tv-audio-cellphone-pc-etc brand that supposedly produce them.

Overall, i approve the intention but not the implementation.

thartist said,
They are only assembling, like every other international tv-audio-cellphone-pc-etc brand that supposedly produce them.
No one produces anything. No one can create something from nothing. Everybody only assembles everything they make.

thartist said,
Well, here it's the latest possible level of assembly, you got the idea anyway.

Yeah we get the idea.. the Government is STUPID! There isn't a country on earth that can be 100% self sustaining.. ALL countries MUST import / buy from somewhere else (food, clothes, electronics), so this is ridiculous on it's face.. why are you defending it?

If it is your home.. you can STILL not agree with SOME things, this just makes you look COMPLETELY dumb and ignorant if you support this type of regime.

Beaux said,
No one produces anything. No one can create something from nothing. Everybody only assembles everything they make.

You should probably double check the definition of produce.

Vlad said,

You should probably double check the definition of produce.

Checking the definition of produce, I see mainly 2 ideas. "Create" or "cause to exist" is, as I said, impossible. No one can create something out of nothing. The other idea is just the same as "assemble".

So what I said stands true. No one produces anything. No one can create something from nothing. Everybody only assembles everything they make.

thealexweb said,
Will this get them kicked out of that world trade organisation?

I'm not sure if it'll get them kicked out, but it will probably draw protest from Apple and others.