22 March 2023

Argentina and Brazil met in Novo Hamburgo to discuss the future of their industries reports CueroAmérica.

Representatives of the Brazilian Association of the Footwear Industry (Abicalçados) and the Argentine Chamber of the Footwear Industry (CIC) met in the city of Novo Hamburgo to discuss bilateral trade in the sector. The highlight of the agenda was the importance of maintaining the Mercosur External Tariff (TEC) to avoid a possible “invasion” in both countries of Asian products.

Representing Abicalçados, Haroldo Ferreira, executive president, the president of the Deliberative Council and project manager of the entity, Caetano Bianco Neto and Cristian Schlindwein participated in the meeting. On behalf of the CIC were the businessmen Horacio Moschetto, Secretary, Nestor Corbera, Treasurer, and Damián Gravagna, Director.

The elimination of the Mercosur External Tariff is demanded by Mercosur countries that do not have a developed and thriving industry, as in the case of Brazil and Argentina. That is why during the meeting concern was expressed about the case of China. Since this country made the Covid Zero policy more flexible and returned to the market with force, both Argentina and Brazil have had a very strong increase in imports from that origin. This creates big problems for the industries of both countries.

According to data prepared by Abicalçados, last year almost US$50 million worth of Chinese footwear entered Brazil, 34.6% more than in 2021. In Argentina, the result was even more worrying, with the entry of products worth US$ $88.7 million in footwear from that same country, 438% more than in 2021.

“The end of the TEC, which is currently 35% for footwear imported from countries outside of Mercosur, would pave the way for a Chinese invasion of the shelves of Brazilian and Argentine companies,” Ferreira warned, emphasizing that it is not a question of protectionism. , but trade defense. “The indiscriminate entry of Asian shoes would cause a crack in the sector, generating a wave of unemployment. We cannot compete on equal terms with a country that practices dumping -export prices below those practiced in the domestic market- and does not respect labor and sustainability legislation”, added the Brazilian official.

The meeting also discussed the creation of a possible single currency for exchange, which is being discussed by the governments of both countries, the normalization of payment flows for imports in Argentina and the growing importance of sustainability in the chain. production of footwear.

The executive president of Abicalçados pointed out that Brazil presented ‘Sustainable Origin’, “the only ESG certification program for the footwear chain in the world”. In this sense, the Argentines highlighted its importance, even as a way to compete with Asian footwear, which does not have the appeal that consumers around the world demand.

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