EL PAÍS (Spain)

BUENOS AIRES -- Just days after finalizing the hostile takeover of Spanish-owned oil and gas company YPF, the Argentine government got even more hostile, freezing imports of Spain's signature delicacy: ham.

The Cristina Kirchner administration agreed to the measure at the behest of the Argentine meat industry and farmers, who are looking to increase local ham production. The import freeze also affects Italy and Brazil.

"The embargo against ham doesn't discriminate based on its origin," El País reported. "It will affect Spain, which exported 274 tons to Argentina last year, Brazil, with 241, and Italy with 199."

Manuel González, the secretary general of Spain's Professional Association of Meat Packing Factories and Meat Companies, has little doubt that the ban was driven by the conflict over Argentina's nationalization of the 51% stake Spanish oil giant Repsol had in YPF. "It's obviously a consequence of the economic and political conflict."

Argentine meat industry representative Martín Gyldenfeldt defended the import restriction, saying it's not dissimilar to trade barriers the European Union applies to Argentine meat.

Read the full story in Spanish

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