Buenos Aires—Only in Argentina. Porsche exports olives and Malbec wines. Mitsubishi has a hand in peanuts, and BMW, after an eight-month hiatus from Argentina, agreed last October to swap rice, leather, and auto parts.

Argentina’s tough import restrictions, designed to help the central bank maintain a stable exchange rate by controlling the amount of foreign currency in circulation, require companies to send out as much as they bring in. Since her re-election in October, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has forced companies to repatriate profits and pay higher taxes on imported materials, interrupting the production chain and reducing trade, according to a July note by Goldman Sachs.

A policy line that favors domestic goods with punishing tax rates for foreign suppliers and bureaucratic delays in customs has Research in Motion, Hewlett Packard, and Sony setting up assembly lines in Patagonia. Global...

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