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Sales on the coast fell 40%

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Sales on the coast fell 40%

The president of the Chamber of Commerce and Services of Uruguay (CCSU), Julio Lestido, together with the Head of the Department of Economic Studies and International Trade, Ec. Ana Laura Fernández, participated in the Special Border Commission with the Republic of Argentina of the House of Representatives, the objective of the instance was to exchange regarding the exchange difference with the neighboring country and its impact on trade.

The Chamber has carried out a series of visits to shopping centers on the north coast to follow up on their complex situation. “In what has to do with the volume of sales – this is how they have told us – it has fallen by around 40%, and trade is being greatly affected. Obviously – as was already mentioned here and it is not something new for the Commission – this is due to the difference in prices that we are experiencing with Argentina”, Lestido stated during the meeting.

He also added that the entry of illegal merchandise, which is reaching significant numbers, is viewed with concern. “This is generating high levels of informalism at the borders. In short, at the end of the day, informalism ends up harming the worker, and we reach levels of unemployment in some departments that are approaching 14%”, he affirmed.

For her part, Ec. Ana Laura Fernández stressed that the price difference ceased to be something temporary to be something structural and permanent over time. “At least in the medium term, one should not expect a sudden change in this situation, hence the need to think about strategies and measures,” the Economist contributed during the meeting.

He also mentioned that “According to the last data from November, Salto is 122% more expensive than Concordia, there are some products or groups of products in particular, such as personal care, food and beverages, which are baskets of products where the price difference are higher. This reality today not only affects -and clearly with a greater impact- border departments, but also at the country level.”

During the exchange, together with a report with different data that was processed from the Chamber, the general situation was analyzed taking into account some reference figures. Part of this information describes that in Salto, in the last month, 168,000 people crossed over to the Argentine side. On the other hand, in what has to do with the volume of sales -according to what was stated in exchanges with shopping centers- it has fallen by around 40%. Added to this is the concern about smuggling and informalism.

It was reported that an Informalism Commission operates in the Chamber, which works to control merchandise that enters the country illegally and its sale on the main avenues of commercial areas. Work is carried out in coordination with Customs, with the National Director of Customs and with his comptroller team and, in the specific case of Montevideo, also with the Municipality of Montevideo, as well as with different sectoral unions and trade associations.

Regarding the work of the aforementioned commission, a meeting was held in July with the participation of authorities from the CCSUy, as well as different sectoral unions impacted by said reality. In addition, weeks ago, a new meeting was held at the National Customs Directorate for the traditional festivities, given the concern about the increase in informal sales on the main avenues, as well as to discuss matters related to the digital sales channels of merchandise that enters the country smuggled, in these border cases.

From the CCSUy, it is expected to continue contributing on these issues that are of great concern to merchants throughout the country. A reality that impacts companies in the trade and services sector, but also the economy in general, employment, consumption and sources of national income.

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