In an effort to stop its dwindling foreign currency reserves from running dry, Argentina on Tuesday announced its restricting online shopping in the country. Specifically, shoppers making purchases from international sites, like Amazon or eBay, will no longer be able to have their purchase shipped to their door. Instead, the BBC reports, “anyone buying items through international websites will now need to sign a declaration and produce it at a customs office, where the packages have to be collected.” That takes a pretty big bite out of the entire point of online shopping—convenience.
Argentina decided to make the move because it’s been difficult for the country’s customs office to keep track of who’s buying what online from abroad. Argentines are, by law, allowed to spend $25 a year tax-free on international goods. But, then the government drops the hammer with a 50% tax on online shopping frivolities purchased internationally. So, you can see why it was hard for custom officials to keep up with online purchases in Argentina—it’s not exactly something you would advertise. Now, by forcing online shoppers to come to a central depot to collect items, the government hopes it will be able to enforce the duty and replenish the country’s cash reserves.