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"These strikes could cause irreparable damage to Chile's reputation"

Strikes and agriculture
Given the failed negotiations between the Chilean government and the unions, it was announced that the strike of civil servants would be extended until Thursday, meaning that there have already been three weeks in a row of strikes and marches. This strike is taking a toll on the country as a whole, and especially on the fruit sector, as the work of Customs and the SAG (Agricultural and Livestock Service), which are important offices for the trade of fresh fruit abroad, has been seriously affected.

Luis Schmidt during his speech at PMA Fruittrade 2016

"Fortunately, it is a partial strike, but these delays have been negatively affecting the quality and flow of exports. If we take into account that the cherry, blueberry, nectarine and apricot campaigns are currently in full swing in Chile, the problems with the delivery to ports and the delays in customs and the export process are causing enormous economic damage for all parties involved in this process," affirmed Luis Schmidt, president of Fedefruta.

Damage to reputation, a bigger problem than economic losses
Highlighting the damage that this situation could cause to the cherry market, since 85% of the fruit is intended for China, Schmidt said: "We are losing out, because while a box of cherries costs about 200 dollars when shipped by air, by resorting to other modes of transportation, such as maritime shipments, the price can drop to about 50 dollars. In any case, this is not the biggest problem, but the extent to which the situation could affect our reputation as a reliable and serious country, which would have a much more destructive impact than the economic losses we are suffering at the moment."

Luis Schmidt in conversation with the president of Chile

"I ask for good sense and for the problem to be solved as soon as possible, for the good of the country. What if, as we already saw in the past, these mobilizations took a toll on other sectors, such as our ports? It would have a broad-spectrum impact, since 92% of Chile's international trade is carried out by sea. We need to adopt preventive measures. It is necessity for us to have a law that strictly regulates the rules for perishable products, so that the trade of these products cannot be affected," concluded the president of the association.

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