World Trade Organization chief Pascal Lamy said on Thursday the WTO would probably issue a ruling by year's end on European complaints on Argentine protectionism.
"The WTO will say whether or not the Argentines have breached areas they are required to uphold under WTO rules, as the Europeans say," Lamy told AFP on the sidelines of the Rio+20 summit.
"We will probably have the result within six months," he said.
In May, the European Union (EU) filed a challenge against Argentine restrictions on imports, escalating a trade war sparked by seizure of Spanish oil assets.
The complaint focuses, among other things, on procedures to obtain an import license and a requirement for companies to balance imports with exports.
In other comments, the WTO director general voiced fresh concern about rising protectionism in the world, which he said began with the 2008 financial crisis.
G20 leaders, at their summit in Los Cabos, Mexico this week, made a vow not to put up new trade barriers before the end of 2014.
"It's fine to make statements, but it would be even better if they were adhered to fully. Right now, this is not the case," said Lamy.
The UN summit on sustainable development ends in Rio on Friday.
It has seen leaders and ministers from several poorer countries, including China, voice fears that the drive for the green economy could lead to barriers against goods deemed to come from environmentally destructive sources.
"So far we haven't seen a complaint of this kind" filed with the WTO, said Lamy.
"It remains a fear, a concern, among developing countries," he said, adding though, "we are able to distinguish whether a trade measure that is made in the name of defending the environment is protectionist or not."