The food processing equipment market in Argentina relies heavily on imports by large domestic food processing companies and food exporters.
Argentina: Food Processing Equipment Overview
The US continues to hold its position as the largest supplier of food processing equipment to
Argentina. While local production figures are almost non-existent, imports are estimated to
account for 70 to 85 percent of the total market. Imports experienced a peak surge in 2011
but are expected to return to more moderate growth levels, due to a weakened demand both
locally and internationally.
The food processing equipment market in Argentina relies heavily on imports by large
domestic food processing companies and food exporters. Market growth is largely tied to
investment in technology and the expansion strategies of these companies. U.S. products are
often sought out, particularly in the higher-end technology segment.
Scarce financing available to the local market is an issue. However, U.S. EXIM Bank
guarantees and lending are available to the private sector in Argentina.
(In US$ thousands) 2010 2011 2012 2013
Total Market Size 175,080 235,840 239,360 243,000
Total Local Production 100,000 105,000 109,200 113,500
Total Exports 49,850 64,560 67,140 69,825
Total Imports 122,200 195,400 197,300 199,300
Imports from the U.S. 26,600 36,000 36,720 37,500
Exchange Rate: 1 USD* 3.80 4.1 4.55 5.05
Note: Statistics are based on Mercosur Common External Tariff (MCET) Codes: 8433.60; 8433.60.90; 8434;
8434.20; 8434.20.10; 8434.20.90; 8435; 8435.10.00; 8435.90.00; 8436.2; 8437; 8437.10.00; 8437.80; 8437.80.10;
8437.80.90; 8438; 8438.10.00; 8438.20; 8438.20.10; 8438.20.90; 8438.30.00; 8438.40.00; 8438.50.00; 8438.60.00;
8438.80; 8438.80.10 8434.80.20; 8438.80.90; 8479.20.00
2011 import market share: United States: 18.4%; Italy: 16.5%; Brazil: 12.5%; Germany: 7.6%
U.S. exports may continue to find opportunities in the following specialized areas: equipment
for fat and vegetable oil extraction and processing, a subsector which had a 37.5 percent
market share for U.S. products in 2011; poultry equipment, which represented a 26 percent
market share; and machines for cleaning, sorting or grading seed, grain or dried leguminous
Food 2 Processing Equipment Overview
vegetables, where imports from the U.S. had a 23 percent market share in 2011. Parts for
food processing equipment are also a good prospect for U.S. exports, given the trend to repair
existing machines due to the rising cost in peso terms of imports, and the virtual lack of local
credit for capital goods.
The main suppliers to the market are U.S., Brazilian, and European companies (Italian,
German, Spanish, and French). Together they supply approximately 85 percent of the
Argentine food processing market. U.S. technology is recognized for its quality. Traditionally,
U.S. suppliers have enjoyed a dominant market share.
Local production equipment has increased, driven by the surge of food exports, and increased
local consumption, and taking advantage of lower costs of production and a devalued peso.
While, in general, it does not compete in the same niche as U.S. higher-end technology, local
equipment has improved in quality and is increasingly being exported to neighboring countries.
Local production also caters to a stronger demand from small to medium sized companies in the
interior provinces of Argentina, since many companies in these areas are not able to face the
expenses involved in importing new technology.
End-users of imported machinery are mainly medium to large private companies. Traditionally
about eighty percent of imports are carried out by a group of approximately 50 companies that
belong to the food sector.
The key end-users can be broken down into seven categories: the meat packing sector; dairy;
milling; bakeries; edible oils and fats, beverage processing; production and refining of sugar;
and other processes.
Generally, sales are channeled through an agent-representative established in Argentina. This
method is changing, largely due to a concentration of large end-users, who buy directly from
foreign manufacturers. However, most companies prefer to deal with an established
representative that can ensure in-country maintenance service and parts. Exhibiting at local
trade shows and placing advertisements in industry magazines are good avenues to test market
potential and identify potential buyers.
The Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce assists exporters in finding the
appropriate partners in the local market. Please contact CS Buenos Aires (see contact
information below) or your local Department of Commerce Export Assistance Center
(1-800-USA-TRADE), for further information on products and services offered.
Market Issues & Obstacles
Recent controls have made exporting goods from any country to Argentina more difficult as the
Argentine government has imposed more processes that Argentine importers must complete in
order to import goods. It is important for would-be exporters to Argentina to confirm that their
Argentine customer has: A) Received the necessary permission to import; B) Received a non-
Food 3 Processing Equipment Overview
automatic import license if required; and C) Obtained permission from the Argentine
Government to purchase foreign exchange to pay for the import prior to shipping goods to
Argentina. For additional information on these measures, please refer to:
The Mercosur common external tariff (CET) applies to imports from countries outside the
MERCOSUR area (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay). Last July, the Government lifted
the tariff exemption on imports of capital goods, and established an extra-zone import duty
averaging 14%. Intra-MERCOSUR tariffs are currently at zero to facilitate trade among the
countries of this economic bloc, including Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay.
Given that most international brand names are already in the market, local companies are eager
to obtain quality products at a more competitive price.
Date: August 6-9, 2013
Location: Costa Salguero Exhibition Center, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Date: Sept. 16-19, 2014.
Location: Costa Salguero Exhibition Center, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Coordinator for Food and Beverage Industries: http.www.copal.com.ar
Association for the Providers of the Food Industry: http://www.adepia.org
Include only the name of contact/resource and a website link. If a website is unavailable, include the
address, phone and fax number, and email address.
For More Information
The U.S. Commercial Service in Buenos Aires, Argentina can be contacted via e-mail at:
Liliana.Paz@trade.gov; Phone: 54-11-57774519; Fax: 54-11-57774630; or visit our website:
The U.S. Commercial Service — Your Global Business Partner
With its network of offices across the United States and in more than 80 countries, the U.S.
Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and
international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services
worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by
Food 4 Processing Equipment Overview
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