Uruguayan federal authorities Monday conveyed to mayors of Salto (Andrés Lima), Paysandú (Nicolás Olivera) and Río Negro (Omar Lafluf) that the reopening of land crossings with Argentina will take at least two more months.
Only Argentine nationals and foreign residents can enter the country, which for the time being keeps away Uruguayans eager to cross the river to do their shopping and take advantage of a currency exchange situation most favourable to them.
The mayors fear that a reopening would cause serious damages to local businesses unable to compete with Argentine prices.
Lima said his district will need these two months to prepare for when it happens and that a working group made up of the national government and the departmental authorities had been set up to generate proposals.
The group will be formed by two mayors, one representing the departments bordering Brazil and another representing the ones bordering Argentina, together with dignitaries from the Economy Ministry of Economy and the Secretariat of the Presidency.
The Salto mayor also explained that the discount of the Specific Internal Tax (IMESI) of 24% on fuels will continue “for as long as there is a price disparity between Argentina and Uruguay” in addition to the 9% VAT discount on tourism, which expired in September.
Among the ideas the group is considering was that the VAT is deducted from basic products, in addition to discounts to purchases through credit and debit cards, as well as the increase in manning to the Customs posts on the border crossings.