Closures, layoffs, forced holidays. In Argentina, unregulated import crushes the national footwear

According to Alberto Sellaro, President of the Chamber of Industry Calzaturiera of Buenos Aires, in 2016 the sector lost 4,000 jobs, and other losses loom ahead in the first months of 2017. The fund has grown from a production of 125 million pairs in 2015 to 111 million in 2016, a decrease of 11.2%, of which only 2 million pairs are exports. The remainder was sold on the domestic market which shrank by 6.2% in 2016. The main threat to the Argentinian footwear industry is the Brazilian and Chinese import which grew by 22% in 2016 and 62% in the first 45 days of 2017.

“The government had promised that import quota would have set at 24 million pairs in 2016. It arrived at 27.3 instead” complained many entrepreneurs. The high labour cost which is heavily taxed, smuggling, and the exchange rate of the currency, all weight on competitiveness. “In Cordoba, 70% of the factories closed or suspended production,” said Albano Hugo, leader of the local Chamber of Industry footwear. Sellaro listed as: “The brand Herzo month ago closed its plant in La Rioja, Yaguar Valentin Alsina in Buenos Aires has cut hundreds of employees, as Wyler’s of Alcorta there have been 57 voluntary redundancies and Alpargatas has recently closed two plants“.

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