Businessmen from the private sector consulted by Ámbito reject that the State can intercede on prices through measures such as freezing, as was done with food. They consider that, on the contrary, it is a “very fragmented” sector, with more than 10 thousand establishments between the textile and clothing industries. “It is impossible,” they anticipate.
They recall measures such as “Clothes for All” or the clothing price freeze program that was applied in supermarkets during the time of the former Secretary of Internal Commerce, Guillermo Moreno. “It did not go well,” considered a source. The problem of applying these freezes in the final sale price passes through the inputs, they explain, since “the value chain is not controlled backwards.” In that case, they will ask to observe what happens in the prices of the spinning mills, a “concentrated” sector, said another source. Brand-owning entrepreneurs will ensure that they do not cover even a third of the consumer market.
For weeks, Desarrollo Productivo has been seeking to hold a meeting with the textile sector due to the evolution of prices. The former Secretary of Internal Commerce, Paula Español, had already held meetings and had even determined to remove Now 12 from clothing in retaliation. But Guzmán’s meeting with Kulfas and Schale this Monday triggered the express call.
In the Ministry of Economy they carried out an investigation on the evolution of prices from 2016 to here. They observed that between December 2016 and April 2020, the drop in production, with the increases in wholesalers, went hand in hand with a decline in retail prices, so there was a “absorption of costs” by the final trades. Meanwhile, since May 2020 they have observed a recovery in production, with an increase in prices from retailers, greater than what wholesalers rose, with a “recomposition of profitability”.
In the portfolio headed by Guzmán, they coincide with the ProTejer foundation, which groups together textile entrepreneurs, that part of the increases are explained by increases in raw materials, such as cotton, increased freight, bottlenecks in production and the formalization of sales through digitization. Although they assure that many of these increases were also experienced in other industries, and they absolutely reject the questions that the sector made to the Indec measurements.
The analysis they do is that in the last year the sector recovered the production values of the prepandemic, although it still does not reach the employment and sales levels of 2019. In Economics they assure that it is necessary to analyze how non-automatic licenses are used to import, in a sector with a trade deficit balance. In any case, they believe that it is a sector that needs protection, because the consequences of an opening of imports do not lead to lower prices, and they increase unemployment in an intensive employment sector.