Thursday, November 15th 2012 - 19:00 UTC

Uruguayan industry criticizes imports policy, labour costs and Mercosur

Uruguay’ Chamber of Industries, CIU, criticized the ‘indiscriminate’ influx of foreign goods, labour costs and Mercosur, and called on government to change the focus of its policies towards manufacturing underscoring that the domestic market represents 55% of industries’ GDP.

Minister Kreimerman and CIU president Burghi and at the industry’s event

The CIU stated its position this week on the 114th anniversary of the organization to which President Jose Mujica, cabinet members and other top officials were invited. The event coincided with the release of stats showing that industrial activity in September had dropped at least 4% over the same month a year ago.

Official government stats, INE, showed that if oil refining was not included in the sector’s activity, overall the industry had contracted and according to private estimates from a local economic research consultancy, Cinve, if the contribution of the UPM pulp mill and Pepsi Cola concentrates plant are excluded industry’s physical production was down 4,1%.

Cinve also showed that “again in September export and import substitution industries have experienced negative growth rates, while retailing remains stable and business among different branches of trade and industry show a slight upwards trend”.

“Industry needs more support because without industry there is no development and with an undeveloped country there is no industry and no jobs”, said CIU president Washington Burghi who suggested local industry and the domestic market should be shielded from excessive imports.

“We need a change of focus regarding national industry because the domestic market also exists and represents 55% of the Gross Industrial product, and it is under constant exposure from indiscriminate imported goods”, said Burghi who then invited the government to look at how countries in the region defend their domestic markets.

Further on Burghi questioned the Uruguayan government for not complying with recommendations from the International Labour Organization, ILO, in what refers to labour relations and demanded a “new salary rounds negotiations system”, which is ‘over balanced towards unions and their strong lobbying’.

Burghi said CIU does not understand the Development Fund, Fondes, criteria and its results since it grants capital and loans to companies that have gone bust and are now run by ‘workers’ councils’, “when at the same time this government support system of capital and credits is not extensive to all the manufacturing industries and companies that need them”.

There was also criticism for the ‘international insertion’ policies and negotiation results that are currently being implemented with Brazil. Burghi demanded that “the opinions of those who generate businesses and jobs in the country should also be heard”, and called on government to avoid making “quick decisions”.

“There is a pattern of bilateral negotiations by our government with innovations and improvisations as they advance and which at the end of the day do not contribute at all to local industry”, said Burghi, and in any case only “generate uncertainty”.

Finally regarding Mercosur it is time Uruguay “looks for new markets since Mercosur has long ceased to exist for what it was originally created”.

Industry, Mining and Energy minister Roberto Kreimerman in his speech said that in Uruguay ‘industry has continued to grow” and will end 2012 with an 3% expansion of industrial production.

“In the first nine months of the year industry excluding oil refining expanded 2.6% compared to the same period in 2011” said Kreimerman adding that Uruguay currently trades with 161 countries, “55 more than ten years ago” and that in last decade 200 new export businesses have been created. Likewise the dairy and bio-fuels have continued to grow sustainedly and strengthening.

As to Burghi’s comments on bilateral relations with Brazil, Kreimerman pointed out that “Brazil is a very strong emerging economy and Uruguay has the chance of establishing a ‘virtuous integration’ with Latam’s largest economy”.

14 comments Feed

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1 ProRG_American (#) Nov 15th, 2012 - 07:34 pm Report abuse
Is Uruguay crying again?
2 KFC de Pollo (#) Nov 15th, 2012 - 07:46 pm Report abuse
Uruguay needs to get out of Mercorsur and enter into agreements with countries that respect those agreements.

Uruguay is full of Argentine and Brazilian products but you'd be hard pushed to find even 1 Uruguayan product on the Argentine shelves as they block everything at the border!
3 TipsyThink (#) Nov 15th, 2012 - 07:59 pm Report abuse
véry normál. !

what Uruguay produce óther than meat/milk.. nóthing.
4 LEPRecon (#) Nov 15th, 2012 - 09:41 pm Report abuse
@3 - Tipsy

What contempt you show your supposed friend. No wonder Uruguayans are questioning if they should stay in Mercosur.
5 redpoll (#) Nov 15th, 2012 - 09:52 pm Report abuse
@3 And tipsy seems to produce a lot of regurgitated hot air to pollute the ozone layer
6 TipsyThink (#) Nov 15th, 2012 - 10:15 pm Report abuse

véry normal..

i fart sómetimes like evéry human does. !
7 British_Kirchnerist (#) Nov 17th, 2012 - 10:20 am Report abuse
“Further on Burghi questioned the Uruguayan government for not complying with recommendations from the International Labour Organization, ILO, in what refers to labour relations and demanded a “new salary rounds negotiations system”, which is ‘over balanced towards unions and their strong lobbying’.”

Did the ILO really say Pepe was too pro-union? Viva Pepe!
8 Jardinera (#) Nov 17th, 2012 - 03:03 pm Report abuse
There is absolutely no incentive for small business in Uruguay, crippling advance costs make a start up for most individuals who have a bright idea difficult if not impossible. As long as Uruguay has a culture of working for others without incentive as opposed to creating your own business the above issues will remain unresolved and the country won't flourish. The average wage here is low, the hours people are expected to work are ridiculous. I think Uruguay really needs to pay attention to keeping kids in school, resolving the problems caused by the tangle of time wasting, expensive red tape produced by an enormous and inefficient bureaucracy and stop making small businesses pay through the nose.
9 troyfreefly (#) Nov 17th, 2012 - 07:26 pm Report abuse
I agree with Jardinera. Uruguay cannot diversify without small businesses. The current system does not work and simply thwarts initiative and encourages unemployment and the black market. Once small business are able to pay taxes after they earn money and not before as it currently stands we will see the national economy grow and Uruguay will be less reliant on foreign multinational corporations who have no social conscience. From what I have seen in this country, the wages are low, the hours are long and there is no incentive for employees to advance which breeds apathy and discontent among workers. The obvious result of facilitating small businesses is that Uruguay would become a nation of employers rather than a nation of employees. It would also give rise to an overall national can-do attitude rather than the hopelessness of not being able to better oneself or one's socioeconomic standing as currently exists here now for so many.
10 redpoll (#) Nov 18th, 2012 - 12:00 am Report abuse
I agree mostly with both of you in broad terms. But its education that should take off this heap
11 Jardinera (#) Nov 18th, 2012 - 09:21 pm Report abuse
Don't get me started 10 redpoll! The number of kids around here who don't bother with high school and girls who think getting knocked up at fifteen is a career move is dispiriting enough but the sheer lack of interest by the schools themselves is astonishing, a few truant officers wouldn't go astray.
12 redpoll (#) Nov 19th, 2012 - 04:31 pm Report abuse
Agreed Jardinera: for any unjustified falta (missing school), the thing is that parents should get a days minimum wage knocked off thier asignaciones familiares = child allowance They have a
duty as parents to educate thier offspring. At the same time what is the matter with the teachers? Perhaps they should be better paid and bad teachers eliminated from the system
From your apodo I presume you are in the profession which I am not. Whats the solution?
13 Jardinera (#) Nov 20th, 2012 - 02:16 am Report abuse
It is a big problem but I would suggest a couple of things, starting with strong penalties for parents who remove their children from school before the age of 15 in order to put them to work or parents who simply allow their children to truant repeatedly. There is a lot of child labour and no-one seems to care. Every town should have Truant Officers to liaise with schools and the community and round up kids who have been marked absent for more than three days without notice. One little boy I know missed six months of school and the headmistress didn't know, her teachers hadn't mentioned that he had been marked absent! His mother didn't even know, he was leaving the house daily, in his uniform and just hung out in the streets with other boys until home time.
I live in the interior and many boys around here can't afford motos but there are plenty with poorly treated half starved horses and a cart who style themselves as delivery men, I chat to them sometimes and ask questions, their ignorance makes me sad. How can someone be a delivery man if he can't ad up or do simple maths?
Education in Uruguay is free but kids actually need to attend school for it to do them any good. Unfortunately for people in smaller centres outside of Montevideo higher education is not accessible, a couple of external university campuses in the more far flung regions would certainly help those hardworking students who can't go to college because of the tyranny of distance or lack of means.
14 redpoll (#) Nov 21st, 2012 - 01:58 am Report abuse
@13 would agree J. I live in the interior too: wont tell you where as the trolls will get our number! Truancy has always been a problem in any society in which there is an underclass who have always lived on welfare and regard thier kids as convenient slaves to aument thier own income.About the horses I also agree, but its people and kids that are more important. Truant officers: well maybe but there is a basic dichotomy between parent and teacher that needs to be sorted first. Dont the teachers have a roll of which kids have attended school? Do they have any parent /teacher liason? No I think that to draw family allowances should be dependent on a certificate of school attendance signed by the head teacher. Flooding the bureacracy with truant officers I dont think really helps at all.
As regards terciary education in the interiorI would agree but first wehave to get primary and secondary education as our first priority

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