The call for arbitration escalates a dispute between Argentina and its major trading partners - the European Union, the United States, Japan and Mexico - who say its import licensing rules discriminate against foreign goods.
"Argentina's import restrictions violate international trade rules and harm EU exports," EU trade chief Karel De Gucht said in a statement. "Today's decision ... is the EU's last resort to see Argentina's unfair trade practices lifted."
Trade tensions with Argentina have worsened since President Cristina Fernandez seized control of oil firm YPF from its parent, Spain's Repsol, in April, and De Gucht said efforts to resolve disputes amicably at the WTO had failed.
The row centres on import restrictions that many WTO countries say break the global body's rulebook.
The European Union says its exports affected by the restrictions range from luxury cars and mobile phones to clothes and food.
The European Commission, which handles trade issues for the EU's 27 countries, says that since the restrictions were tightened earlier this year they effectively amount to a barrier to all exports to Argentina, which were worth 8.3 billion euros in 2011. (Reuters)