Global Business GuideArgentina

From Global Connections

This is one of a series of Global Business Guides designed for businesses wishing to expand into another country/territory. This Global Business Guide was produced in January 2016. The materials contained in this document provide a snapshot at that time and were based on the law enforceable and information available at that time.

Argentina is the sixth largest recipient of FDI inflows in South America; FDI inflows reached USD6.6 billion in 2014.

Argentina ranked 121st in the World Bank's 2016 Doing Business rankings, falling four places from 117th in the year prior. Argentina's best rankings were in the Enforcing Contracts and Protecting Minority Investors categories, where it ranked 38th and 49th in the world, respectively. Its lowest rankings were in Dealing with Construction Permits and Paying Taxes, where it ranked 173rd and 170th in the world.

Key facts about starting a business in Argentina:

  • It takes 14 procedures and approximately 25 days to start a new business in Argentina; this process is detailed in the Doing Business in chapter
  • The processing fee for a permanent work visa is USD200; employment regulations are discussed in detail in the Labour chapter
  • Requesting and obtaining final authorisation for a construction permit takes approximately 173 days and costs ARS3,923
  • Public companies must compile and file their accounts using IFRS. Private companies can voluntarily adopt full IFRS, IFRS for SMEs or local professional accounting standards; further details can be found in the Audit chapter
  • There are no minimum trading record or working capital requirements for companies that wish to list securities on the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange; this is discussed further in the Finance chapter

Argentina's attractiveness as an investment location can be attributed to a number of factors, including its highly qualified labour force and large reserves of minerals and precious metals. Nevertheless, in order to make an informed decision, it is critical to understand the nuances of any local regime. The manner in which people conduct business in Argentina may differ from the home countries of investors. Furthermore, variations on these distinctions may exist depending on the region and industry in which a company operates.

Argentina's official language is Spanish, although many other languages are spoken, including English and Italian. Argentine Spanish is heavily influenced by Italian and is dissimilar to Spanish spoken elsewhere in South America. Dress codes in the workplace are typically conservative but stylish; Argentinians place high value on good appearance. A handshake is the typical business greeting. Punctuality is expected. There are no expected formalities when exchanging business cards. Gift giving is not expected as part of business interactions.

Those looking to establish a business in Argentina may look across South America for alternative options. However, Argentina can be differentiated on the following factors:

  • Argentina is the world’s 25th largest economy and the second largest in South America
  • Argentina has an abundance of natural resources; it is a top five world producer of agricultural commodities such as soya and maize and has the world’s third largest deposits of shale gas and fourth of shale oil
  • According to the World Bank, the quality of Argentina's judicial processes (12/18) ranks significantly higher than the Latin American and Caribbean Average (8.4/18)
  • The government provides tax incentives to promote exports; the tax regime is detailed in the Tax chapter
  • Argentina has 21 international airports, offering flights to more than 40 destinations; further details can be found in the Infrastructure chapter
  • Argentina is a member of the MERCOSUR trading bloc; discussed further in the Trade chapter

While there are significant opportunities for investment in Argentina, a number of challenges remain. The country has one of the highest inflation rates in the world providing for a challenging business environment. It also has complex import and export restrictions in place that are difficult for many businesses to navigate. Furthermore, restrictions on currency remittances continue to discourage new investment in the country.

This guide has been developed to provide businesses with an overview of Argentina, its legal regime, start-up and market entry considerations, tax and customs requirements and a general summary of the factors that may affect the decision to do business in Argentina. However, the information contained in this document is generic in nature and you should not act or rely on it without obtaining specific professional advice.

Please note that the Global Business Guides may only be available in English.

Useful Links

1 Public Registry of Commerce
2 Federal Administration of Public Revenue
3 National Immigration Office
4 National Institute of Industrial Property
5 National Directorate for Personal Data Protection
6 Invest in Argentina
7 Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security



1 FDI Statistics – UNCTAD World Investment Report
2 Doing Business Rankings
3 Work Visa
4 Economy Size
5 Top 5 producer agricultural commodities


Download Global Business Guide - Argentina (3.52MB, PDF)


This document is issued by HSBC Bank plc. (the Bank). This guide is a joint project with Grant Thornton. It is not intended as an offer or solicitation for business to anyone in any jurisdiction. It is not intended for distribution to anyone located in or resident in jurisdictions which restrict the distribution of this document. It shall not be copied, reproduced, transmitted or further distributed by any recipient. The information contained in this document is of a general nature only. It is not meant to be comprehensive and does not constitute financial, legal, tax or other professional advice. You should not act upon the information contained in this document without obtaining specific professional advice. Whilst every care has been taken in preparing this document, the Bank and Grant Thornton makes no guarantee, representation or warranty (express or implied) as to its accuracy or completeness, and under no circumstances will the Bank or Grant Thornton be liable for any loss caused by reliance on any opinion or statement made in this document. Except as specifically indicated, the expressions of opinion are those of the Bank and are subject to change without notice. The materials contained in this document were assembled in January 2016 and were based on the law enforceable and information available at that time.

Grant Thornton refers to the brand under which the Grant Thornton member firms provide assurance, tax and advisory services to their clients and/or refers to one or more member firms, as the context requires. Grant Thornton International Ltd (GTIL) and its member firms are not a worldwide partnership. GTIL and each member firm is a separate legal entity. Services are delivered by the member firms. GTIL does not provide services to clients. GTIL and its member firms are not agents of, and do not obligate, one another and are not liable for one another’s acts or omissions. This publication has been prepared only as a guide. No responsibility can be accepted by GTIL for loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from acting as a result of any material in this publication.

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