The most important business chambers in the country met for the first time in the year to share the current situation of foreign trade in the face of the historical lack of reserves. They agreed to request an emergency meeting of the Government in case of unexpected changes in the access to foreign exchange for importsthe freight situation, and deadline extensions, in what is known informally as “the 365 club”, which are the sectors that are receiving approvals for a year from now.
The meeting was held on Wednesday of this week at the Customs Brokers Center (CDA) and brought together 15 business chambers. “Very bad weather,” described one of those present. These meetings are not part of any institutional framework, they function in an inorganic way, as described by participating businessmen, and they meet at times when they fear that “uncertainty will lead to paralysis,” said one of the members.
Important chambers participated, such as the Chamber of Commerce (ACC), the Argentine Industrial Union (UIA), the Chamber of Exporters (WAX) and the Confederation of Medium Enterprises (CAME), the General Business Confederation (CGERA) and the Dispatch Center (CDA).
In a statement, they indicated the reasons for the meeting: “The entities expressed their concern and conflict generated by the new procedure for the payment of freight, and the situation of the SIRAS and the terms of 365 daysmaking import and export operations more complex”.
Informally, some businessmen speak of the “365 club”, in reference to the fact that they indicate that most of the SIRAs in the case of capital goods are coming up with deadlines for access to foreign currency from now until May 2024. They even said that this occurs in the cases in which the Central Bank regulation provides for items with shorter terms. In an automotive company they told that the deadline was 365 days, but they were told that “it was a mistake” and they were going to correct it.
Basically, the biggest concern, in addition to the freight, the 365-day terms and not knowing what exchange rate they will have to pay for that import in such a long term, is not knowing if you are going to default with the supplier because the stipulated period will not be met.
“There is no rule that says so, but companies know that if a certain item is one term, due to the size of the company it is another, and these unwritten criteria were being replaced. But in recent days there were companies that had to access foreign currency according to the payment schedule and they were they suddenly altered the stipulated deadlinesso there is fear of falling into default with suppliers and subsequent paralysis of production”, explained one of the foreign trade experts from an important business union, who preferred not to be mentioned.
Data on SIRA approvals that are made privately circulate among the business chambers. The file that was released is titled “XL weekend with few approvals”, referring to the last long weekend. The activities with the highest approval were trade and manufacturing. The document that they disseminate through WhatsApp ensures that the levels of approvals with yuan also fell.
In addition, the law firm that filed the most protections against the previous import system (SIMI) revealed that this tool used by companies can no longer be used. “There is no precautionary measure against SIRASeveral of us tried, but none had a resolution, not a single pronouncement has come out of the 12 contentious administrative courts, ”revealed a lawyer who preferred not to be mentioned. “We are in an economic emergency situation and I doubt that the judiciary will assume a position that could endanger the State as an institution,” he added.
Other entities present at the meeting on Wednesday were the Association of International Cargo Agents (AAACI), the Association of Importers and Exporters (AIERA), the Chamber of Fiscal Warehouses (CADEFIP), the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CACIPRA) , the Center of Customs Transport Agents (Catara), the Navigation Center, the Federation of Foreign Trade Chambers (Fecacera), the Association of Freight Transport Entrepreneurs (PAETAC) and the Industrial Union of the Province of Buenos Aires ( IUPBA).
The objective is to urgently hold a meeting with the so-called SIRA Monitoring and Evaluation Committee, where in practice sit the head of Customs, Guillermo Michel; Germán Cervantes, Matías Tombolini’s right-hand man in the Ministry of Commerce; and Sergio Woyecheszen, vice president of the Central Bank. The business unions will meet again next Tuesday to “continue planning joint actions.”