All regulatory hurdles that previously made it difficult for Apple to sell the iPhone in Argentina are set to be removed next month, allowing Apple's suite of smartphones to be legitimately sold in the country for the first time in years. According to a person familiar with the Argentinian government's plans (via Bloomberg), President Mauricio Macri is seeking to lift restrictions placed by his predecessor in 2009 that pressured companies to assemble products locally.
Some companies abided by these rules and opened factories in Argentina, including Samsung, but Apple never did. Now with the restrictions being lifted, Apple will be able to import and sell iPhones created elsewhere to customers in Argentina, although the company will face a hefty import tax. iPhones in Argentina could be "at least 25 percent more expensive" than smartphones assembled locally, according to Bloomberg's source.
One Apple reseller in the country, Hector Goldin, thinks it could cost even more than that. Goldin is already preparing pre-orders for iPhones, even though the customers placing the orders have yet to discover exactly how much they'll be paying for Apple's smartphone. Goldin is set to sell five iPhone models at his reseller location in Argentina beginning April 7, and is said to have been informed of the prices of each model, some of which could run "double the price in the U.S." In the past, Apple devices like the iPad have sold for three times as much in Argentina as they did in the U.S.
He declined to give prices, saying Apple doesn’t like to disclose such details until device goes on sale, but said it will be expensive -- perhaps double the price in the U.S. and 40 percent higher than in neighboring Chile because of sales, import and income taxes. But Argentines who do buy local will have be able to get full service on certified iPhones, he said.
“It’s hard to explain how happy I am,” he said. “I am already receiving the new ones for sale and at the same time getting reservations from clients who still don’t know the final price.”
Despite the steep price of the iPhone, local phone companies have been wanting to offer the smartphone "for high-end users" who aren't bothered by the expensive cost. Monthly installment plans will also be used by carriers in a bid to make iPhones "more accessible" to a wider group of Argentinians. Before the restriction's lift, iPhones found their way into users' hands in Argentina thanks to "gray market" resellers that imported the devices to sell online.
Apple is also expanding into Argentina with a new retail location set to open up in Buenos Aires in 2018, which will become Apple's first official retail location in the country. It was reported last month that a group of third-party retailers will also begin selling Apple products in 2017, including electronics chain Frávega, and with today's news that should begin including the iPhone as well.