European Union Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht yesterday announced that Argentina may face retaliatory measures following the nationalization of Spanish energy giant Repsol’s majority stake in YPF, Argentina’s largest oil and gas company. De Gucht’s comments were delivered during a seminar in Brussels, Belgium, on “Strategic Challenges in the EU–Brazil Relationship.”
“We will soon be moving forward with a response to Argentina’s action in the Repsol case,” said De Gucht, adding, “There has for many years been a debate about open markets in the region[…] In recent weeks, we have seen that debate heat up again with Argentina’s move against a Spanish company’s stake in YPF.” Although De Gucht did not specify what actions the EU is considering, any moves would presumably be in addition to the European Community’s plans to file a WTO complaint over Argentina’s alleged use of protectionist policies, such as the use of non-automatic import licensing for commonly traded goods.
On Friday, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner signed into law the expropriation measure and named Miguel Galuccio as its chief executive. He promises to have a five-year plan ready within 100 days.