Argentine Land Law Limiting Foreign Ownership Remains Unclear

Patrick Archer agribusiness, competitiveness, foreign investment, real estate

Almost three years after being approved, an Argentine law meant to quantify and limit foreign ownership of land is not being enforced due to the fact that provincial governments never completed their territorial audits.

Law 26.737, the Law of Lands (Ley de Tierras) approved by Congress in February 2012, sought to cap the total foreign ownership of national land at 15%. All provinces were given 60 days to complete an inventory of their territories divided into cities, counties, and what percentage of that total was owned by foreign investors. 

960 days later, the provincial governments of Argentina’s main agricultural regions still have not completed the inventory process, so foreign investors wanting to purchase large tracts of Argentine farmland must play a waiting game before moving forward with their investments, according to iProfesional.

The Argentine Chamber of Rural Real Estate (CAIR) says 26.737 is hurting not only the public coffers but also the future of the country. In a press release, CAIR laments “that national authorities, who are not experts on this topic, continue to turn a deaf ear to this problem.”

Cordoba, Santa Fe and Buenos Aires, the three most important agricultural provinces in Argentina, together with Catamarca, Corrientes, Jujuy, La Rioja, Neuquen, Salta, Santa Cruz and Santiago del Estero “still have not presented their (territorial audits) to conform with the Law,” says CAIR.

While lamenting the status quo, the Chamber remains optimistic that 26.737 will be overturned under the next administration: “Without a doubt, this Law should be revised by the next government.” (Full Story in Spanish)

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