New Period of Fixed Prices for Basic Products Announced

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Domestic Trade Secretary Guillermo Moreno (photo: Wikipedia)

Former Domestic Trade Secretary Guillermo Moreno (photo: Wikipedia)

Members of government, the food industry and CEOs of supermarkets met yesterday to strategise and organise a new frozen price list for a range of basic products.

The list of products is to be decided by the 20th December and the frozen pricing of these products is to be enforced on 1st January 2014.

Head of the Committee of the Industry of Foodstuffs, Daniel Funes de Rioja, stated, “the idea is to shorten the agreement to between 100 and 120 products” as the previous list had 500 products, set out at the start of the year.

The principal idea behind the freezing of  prices is to slow inflation. The changes will be in effect for a provisional period of three months.

The price freezing will use pricing ideals of former domestic trade secretary Guillermo Moreno but in a “perfected” manner. The basket of products will be accompanied by a renewal of the administrative price scheme and will take into account the obligation of firms to consult the Secretary of Internal Commerce if they wish to change prices.

The inauguration of the new list is defined as a tripartite negotiation between supermarkets, the industry and the government.

Yesterday saw the first meeting of the new cabinet, led by Axel Kicillof, in which food producers and supermarkets discussed the list, later announcing price agreements and a basket of products with frozen prices.

The morning session saw talks between the government and a supermarket delegation led by Alfredo Coto, Frederico Braun (La Anónima), Horacio Barbeito (Walmart), Laurendt Cadillat (Casino Group), Leonardo Scarone (Carrefour) and representatives from Jumbo and Día.

The second session involved supermarkets from around the country, which form part of the Argentine Chamber of Supermarkets (CAS), chaired by its president Ricardo Zorzón. Finally, the government’s economic team spoke with representatives from the food production industry, led by Funes de Rioja.

Talks continue on Friday, with a meeting scheduled between cleaning and toiletry firms that are part of the Argentine Chamber of the Cosmetic and Perfume Industry (Capa). One topic of discussion will be how to avoid the launch of certain products, produced for the sole purpose of eluding price agreements. Most recently baby oil, dulce de leche, and yerba mate have arrived on the shelves, aimed to avoid price freezes.

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