April 20, 2014

Effective from january 6

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Gov’t to unveil price freeze list tomorrow

Consumers will soon know which basic supermarket products will have their prices capped, with the government set to release tomorrow the list of around 200 products that are included in its price agreement with the county’s major supermarkets and retailers.

The list — which will be significantly smaller than last year’s 500-strong list — includes food and cleaning items that make up two-thirds of typical low-income household purchases, the government confirmed last month.

The announcement will be made tomorrow morning at Government House, with the participation of Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich, Economy Minister Axel Kicillof and Trade Secretary Augusto Costa.

The price agreement was confirmed December 20, and was expected to be enforceable as of January 1.

But on Tuesday, the spokesman for the Argentine Chamber of Supermarkets, Fernando Aguirre, revealed that the relevant parties involved in the deal were still working “product by product, company by company” to finalize the list.

The price schedule, which the government has described as a “voluntary agreement”, will now begin on January 6 in Greater Buenos Aires, before extending to other parts of the country once shipping costs have been applied to prices.

The 200-product list will likely include many of the same items as last year, such as bread, dairy products (milk, yoghurt, cheese), beef, chicken, fruits, vegetables, juice, soft drinks and perfumery. But last year’s list was heavily criticized

The Domestic Trade Secretariat headed by Costa will be in charge of monitoring that there is sufficient supply of the products as well as the price of the basic food basket. Costa last month emphasized that his office will be in charge of imposing sanctions against those who do not comply with the agreement.

Over 1,500 companies originally signed into the agreement, which was later supported by the country’s Chinese-owned supermarkets, which total more than 10,000 nationwide.

This year’s pact is thought to be different from those designed by former Domestic Trade secretary Guillermo Moreno, in large part because it establishes a system to monitor the increase and decrease of prices.

The price cap system recently came under scrutiny, after pro-government activists found that suppliers had bypassed the agreement by releasing near-identical products at much higher prices.


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