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.