Argentine officials told executives from about 20 companies to cut their imports of goods made in the UK as a protest over control of the Falkland Islands, said an official who declined to be identified because he isn’t authorised to speak publicly.
Companies including the local unit of Ford Motor Co. were told to find substitutes for imports from the UK, the official said yesterday. The move came one day after President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s government blocked two Carnival Corp. cruise ships that had stopped for a port call in the Falklands from docking in Argentina.
Fernandez is stepping up pressure on the UK to discuss the sovereignty of the islands, over which the two nations fought a war in 1982. The 59 year old leader said Feb. 27 that the UK’s control of the archipelago represented a vestige of “colonialism,” the same description UK Prime Minister David Cameron gave to Argentina’s claim over the islands this month.
Trade between the two countries totaled about $1.5 billion last year, with Argentina having a surplus of $137 million, according to the country’s national statistics institute.
“It’s clearly very sad that Argentina continues with their policy of confrontation instead of cooperation,” Prime Minister David Cameron’s spokesman, Steve Field, told reporters in London today. “We think that’s counterproductive and also completely misreading Britain’s resolve on this issue. The UK is a major investor in Argentina. We import goods from Argentina. It’s not in Argentina’s interests to put up trade barriers.”
Executives from Ford, pharmaceutical company Roemmers SAICF and the local unit of Maintal, Germany based Syngenta Agro GmBH were among those told to cut their reliance on imports from the UK, the Argentine official said.