Export & Import Business in Argentina

tourist2townie

Registered
Hello All,

I was just wondering if anyone has worked in the export/import business here in Buenos Aires (or Argentina in general) and could lend me some advice. I have been stewing over many product ideas lately regarding exporting (wine) and/or importing (electronics) among many other things and have heard a lot of positive and negative things regarding the procedure and profitability.

I have funding state side to start a project but am currently working on the details of shipping, taxes, legal, etc.

Any advice, warnings, comments or concerns in this area would be greatly appreciated.

Best Regards,
 

citygirl

Registered
Shipping costs are outrageously expensive, taxes/duties/tariffs are as well. Proceed with *extreme* caution.

I have a friend who makes custom leather boots. Beautiful. If you buy them here, they are give or take about 300 dollars. If you buy them here & then want to ship them to the US (personal transaction) it's about 150 USD per pair to ship. When they sell them in the US, the same boots that are $300 USD here sell there for $900 USD. Yes, some of that is profit but the vast majority of it goes to cover the costs involved in overseas sales.

300% markup should give you some idea of the difficulties/expenses involved.

PS - Shipping electronics into Arg? :eek: I assume you are aware of all the difficulties?!
 

steveinbsas

Registered
citygirl said:
PS - Shipping electronics into Arg? :eek: I assume you are aware of all the difficulties?!

If you bring electronics ino Argentina you will pay 50% duty on the cost as well as the shipping. Even then, if the items are not sold through an authorized dealer in Argentina (with a factura that shows the buyer has paind the 21% IVA) the "worldwide" warranty will not be honored. If they are North American models (110V as opposed to 220V) they probably would lose the warranty protection here, even if everything else was in order.
 

arucamba

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So what you're saying is that people can buy these beautiful leather boots for half price, shipping included from your friend? What is his website?
 

steveinbsas

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If you aren't fortunate enough to be able to have boots custom made in Argentina, I suggest Lucchese boots and Grapevinehill.com is the best place to buy them (at a substantial discount from retail). I had a western wear store in Park City, Utah for 15 years. These boots are fantastic. Grapevinehill also sells on ebay. I bought several pair from them and had them brought to me by a friend.

Here's one example from their website:

http://stores.grapevinehill.com/Items/1004780-p?sck=5472832&caSKU=1004780-p&caTitle=Lucchese 'N8352' Calfskin Cowboy Boots Mens - Cigar Brown
 

Ailujjj

Registered
I did some research into export myself at one point. I do think there are some interesting opportunities however it only becomes interesting once you are dealing with a fairly sizeable scale and if you can find the right product.

Something like custom boots - shipped individually - would be a difficult model to sustain however, buying significant quantities of manufactured boots at wholesale prices, shipping them in bulk and to a buyer with an existing distribution setup could be interesting. But, in the example of boots, you are entering into a competitive market segment bc you compete with boots of all types (leather and non), from all kinds of countries (Italy to China). So you'd need to be quite selective. The custom-made model is a difficult one that few have been able to do well (although some truly have, men's shirts and suits come to mind).

Ultimately, it really depends on the scale of what you want to do. Export smaller amounts to existing contacts and see what happens naturally - or really start something sizeable, invest in structuring it, planning it. Yes there will be a lot of duty and shipping hassle, but for the right product and the right price, it could very well be worth it. I think wine could be a little tricky - it's something that is done, and quite well, by people who really know the industry - but I think there are other potential products. I have an acquaintance who has been doing rather well in clothing from here, actually (just simple, inexpensive trendy stuff and perhaps some shoes, IIRC).
 

argsteve

Registered
somebody import me some pancake mix... peanut butter, syrup, ranch dressing, real bacon, and what the hell .... newcastle beer!!!!! hahaha

I would think it would be also just toooooo damn difficult.... but I hope your import/export works for you.... I will come back and look at this thread later see what others tell you!!! ...I would also love to find something to do here other than drink wine and eat steaks..but I am not complaining!!!! cheers...
 

citygirl

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arucamba said:
So what you're saying is that people can buy these beautiful leather boots for half price, shipping included from your friend? What is his website?
Yes, but you do need to be in BsAs to get measured.

Felipe doesn't have a website - he's a professional rider but also makes boots (for many of the riders here). If you're interested, send me a PM and I'll pass along his info. (These are riding boots just to clarify).

I also would recommend Waltons and Casa de las Botas for boots - they do a really nice job. Waltons tends to be more traditional styles, CdlB will work with you to design something special if you want. I haven't bought boots in a while but I would guess they're around $350 or $400 these days (maybe less).

And in both stores, they have fantastic customer service. With Waltons, I know a girl who had bought boots from them 2 years before and then left and forgot about them/forgot to give them her shipping info (her mistake). She went back to Waltons 2 years later when she returned to BsAs to ask about them. They no longer had the boots but gave her a new pair for free. With Casa de las Botas, they made a pair for a friend of mine, custom designed them and when they finished, they had made them about a half-inch too short. They re-made the boots for her at no cost and let her keep the first pair.
 

ElQueso

Registered
I have an acquaintance from Australia who does export business here. He buys antiques here and ships them out to Australia and other countries to sell. he's been doing this for quite a long time. He fills containers (usually a couple per year I believe) and tries to do everything above-board, with all of his i's dotted and t's crossed.

He has lots of horror stories to tell about the greedy folk in Aduana. They always want money. He has a local expediter that helps him here and pays all of the coima to the right people that are required to get shipments out. He's not doing anything illegal, it's just a matter of greasing palms to actually get something out in the current year, for example. Without paying the coima, it would sit for months and months. He knows, because he's tried to do it without paying any money, bitching to those above the person he has a problem with, so on and so forth. He learned long ago you either cough up the coima or your stuff sits in the warehouse waiting for export approval.

That is just one of the problems. He has to deal routinely with people who just don't give a shit, people who regularly try to cheat him, so on and so forth.

He doesn't import, so I can't speak to that directly, but I would be surprised if that is any better, and probably is worse, considering how protectionist Argentina is related to importing goods. Aside from the high tariff rates on most things imported, you also have the coima issue with the aduaneros.

I'm not saying you can't make money at it. My acquaintance makes a decent living doing something he absolutely loves - he just wishes everything was a bit more efficient and predictable and less costly.

Just be prepared to spend probably ten times more than you figured before you get things figured out and start making money.
 

gouchobob

Registered
ElQueso said:
I have an acquaintance from Australia who does export business here. He buys antiques here and ships them out to Australia and other countries to sell. he's been doing this for quite a long time. He fills containers (usually a couple per year I believe) and tries to do everything above-board, with all of his i's dotted and t's crossed.

He has lots of horror stories to tell about the greedy folk in Aduana. They always want money. He has a local expediter that helps him here and pays all of the coima to the right people that are required to get shipments out. He's not doing anything illegal, it's just a matter of greasing palms to actually get something out in the current year, for example. Without paying the coima, it would sit for months and months. He knows, because he's tried to do it without paying any money, bitching to those above the person he has a problem with, so on and so forth. He learned long ago you either cough up the coima or your stuff sits in the warehouse waiting for export approval.

That is just one of the problems. He has to deal routinely with people who just don't give a shit, people who regularly try to cheat him, so on and so forth.

He doesn't import, so I can't speak to that directly, but I would be surprised if that is any better, and probably is worse, considering how protectionist Argentina is related to importing goods. Aside from the high tariff rates on most things imported, you also have the coima issue with the aduaneros.

I'm not saying you can't make money at it. My acquaintance makes a decent living doing something he absolutely loves - he just wishes everything was a bit more efficient and predictable and less costly.

Just be prepared to spend probably ten times more than you figured before you get things figured out and start making money.
I think this is good advice. I had a small business in another country in South America buying and restoring collectible cars which I then exported back to the states. I did it on a small scale over a couple of years and made decent money considering it only took a few hours a week to do, plus I enjoyed doing it, a definite plus.

When I moved to Argentina I decided against continuing do to all the problems, i.e. finding reliable workers, problems as mentioned above in exporting items.

If you want to try this start very small with as little investment as possible. If it works out you can ramp up or if it doesn't work you don't want to be out a bunch of money.
 
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