The BCRA’s Board has decided that importers must draw, in the first place, on the buildup of their foreign assets for making payments abroad.
The restriction also applies to purchase-sale transactions of sovereign bonds in local currency with foreign exchange settlement over a period that extends 90 days before and 90 days after the date on which access to the forex market is requested.
The Board has also set measures on importers that need to access the Free and Single Foreign Exchange Market (Mercado Único y Libre de Cambios, MULC) for the payment of import of goods. Accordingly, importers are required to ask for the prior authorization of the BCRA to purchase foreign currency in the MULC and can only do so after having resorted to the foreign assets they held abroad as of January 1, 2020.
The National Government has been striving for a solution to ease the financial hardship on companies and individuals as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic by different means, such as the Emergency Assistance for Work and Production Program (Asistencia de Emergencia al Trabajo y la Producción, ATP), a subsidized credit line for MSMEs at a 24% interest rate, and a 0% credit line for individual tax payers and self-employed individuals. These measures seek to foster domestic production and work, and to avoid excessive demand for foreign exchange for making payments abroad.
When applying for the BCRA’s authorization, importers are required to submit an affidavit, which will be cross-checked against the database of the Monitoring System for the Payment of Goods (Sistema de Seguimiento de Pagos de Bienes, SEPAIMPO) and the Exchange Transaction Reporting System (Régimen Informativo de Operaciones de Cambio, RIOC). False statements will entail denial to access the forex market and foreign exchange criminal proceedings will be initiated.
May 28, 2020.