Mendoza Struggling To Adapt Land Ownership Law to Local Realities

Andeluna Cellars

Local officials believe foreign investors only own 3% of rural land in Mendoza, well below the new 15% cap.

The first major deadline for Argentine provinces to comply with the new national law limiting the sale of Argentine land to foreign investors is fast approaching, and Mendoza authorities will definitely need more time, according to MDZOnline.

Veronica Gordillo says there’s no way Mendoza can comply with the new law’s first mandate in the 60-day window allowed: the compilation of a provincial registry of the total area of all rural and urban land owned by foreign investors. While the deadline expires next week, Mendoza’s Director of Rural Development says this foreign hectare homework assignment (FHHA) could last the whole year.

The challenges in Mendoza are twofold: the high concentration of farms and vineyards already under foreign ownership coupled with the moving target of foreign investors scrambling in regions like the Uco Valley to buy large tracts for future agriculture and real estate development before the new law becomes a reality.

Law 26.737 establishes a cap of 15% on foreign ownership of rural land in any Argentine province. The measure, which became law February 29 of this year, is not retroactive, so property rights for rural land, farms and vineyards purchased prior to 26.737 will not be impacted. Gordillo says that is good news for some of Argentina’s largest rural land owners including The North Face founder Douglas Tompkins, CNN founder Ted Turner, British currency trader Joe Lewis and the estate of the late Ward Lay. (Full Story in Spanish)

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