After another unsuccessful meeting with businessmen from the mass consumer sector, the Secretary of Domestic Trade, Roberto Feletti, announced that the national government will freeze almost 1,500 products through an official resolution. The measure will be published in the Official Gazette tomorrow.

“It does not seem like a great effort for a number of companies, which will be about 60, to maintain the prices of about 1500 products for 90 days,” Feletti shot, in the framework of a brief press conference.

Feletti met with the Coordinator of the Food Products Industries of Argentina (Copal), an entity that brings together 14,500 companies and 35 sectoral chambers of the food and beverage industry, and representatives of supermarkets. “It will be a broader ‘careful prices’”, considered the official, who remarked that “posters will not be changed”.

The Secretary of Internal Commerce remarked that the Copal statement “did not help”, although he stressed: “Neither the head of Copal nor the head of the large commercial chains rejected the resolution outright.”

“The resolution contains 1500 products with prices as of October 1 with an obligation to comply; the form of monitoring will be through dialogue with governors and mayors “, said Feletti, and remarked:” I appeal to corporate responsibility. “

The measure will be mandatory throughout the national territory. “We are not going to produce a break in their business plans,” he warned when addressing businessmen. “What we are doing is an expansion of consumption and that they gain by volume,” he added.

According to Feletti, “there was a need for intervention. “The Indec numbers support me,” he assured.

The Copal statement

Before Feletti’s announcement, Copal issued a statement rejecting the government’s position on the price freeze. In the text, it was stated that their proposals were not taken into account and that there was a lack of conditions for dialogue. This occurred hours before a meeting held this afternoon by the Secretary of Internal Trade and the head of the entity, Daniel Funes de Rioja, who is also president of the UIA.

The president of Copal was forceful about the government’s attitude towards companies. “Faced with the threat of the application of the Supply Law and the manifestations of greed, it must be recognized that the industry is not the cause but suffers its consequences,” he said.

The norm mentioned by Funes de Rioja dates from 1974. The “law of supply and repression of agriculture”, as it was called 47 years ago, originally authorized officials to establish maximum prices and profit margins; raiding businesses or companies, which may require police support; to seize documentation; intervene infringing merchandise; close establishments and preventively detain those presumed responsible for the infractions. In 2014, some points of the law were reformed, although new tools were incorporated with which the Executive Power could control prices and the supply of products.

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