The President asked “to be honest” to recognize that people with low purchasing power will choose to buy where it is cheaper.
President Luis Lacalle Pou dismissed the request Chamber of Industries of Uruguay (CIU) to implement a “zero kilo” policy at border crossings with Argentina on the coast of the country. The mandate stated that “nobody wants to go to zero kilo“. In addition, he asked to “be honest” and recognize that anyone with “a small salary” would buy where money pays the most.
The head of state said at a press conference that some low-income people need to feed their families, and asked: “If it costs three times less than the other side, where are we going to buy? Where do you give us the money?“, since we would go to buy “the kilo of rice, the noodles, the oil”.
According to Lacalle Pou, after talking with the mayors Paysandú and Río Negro, the conclusion was reached that no one “reasonably” considers reaching a measure of “zero kilo” on binational bridges. However, he assured that attempts are being made to discourage purchases in supermarkets by those people who have a good economic backgroundand they would not need to cross into Argentina.
The CIU denounces an increase in smuggling from Argentina
The CIU carried out, through its Directorate of Economic Studiesa study that showed that 35% of the industrial companies consulted responded that smuggling increased in 2022 and in the first months of 2023.
While, 35% reported a drop in sales in the border area with Argentinaand 27% with Brazil in 2022 compared to 2021; At the same time, one in three companies reports that contraband contributed to the drop in their sales last year.
An important fact that emerges from this study is that there are sectors that have identified that contraband is supplying up to 40% of their sales, a situation that worsens depending on the region of the territory analyzed and the passage of time.
Lacalle Pou assured that there is “a smuggling industry” in some departments
“It’s very easy to criticize”, but “there is a smuggling industry and when some shops fill up, nobody sees it?“, pointed out Lacalle Pou, and said that the government will not do “zero kilo”, but it will “control that the products that cannot be brought are not brought”.
In the words of the president, some of these products “clearly correspond to the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and fishing (MGAP) and should not be brought”.
Lastly, he pointed out that is “impossible” settle the exchange difference with Argentinaand assured that “the facts show that we cannot run after the Argentine exchange rate.”