Paraguayan banana and pineapple exporters met with representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to express their concern regarding the delay in payments by Argentina and to request authorities condemn this issue more strongly.
According to engineer Oscar Peña, vice president of the Paraguayan Chamber of Banana and Pineapple (Capabap), they asked the authorities to act in a more decisive way. “We demanded the Foreign Ministry protest more vigorously when claiming reciprocity of trade. The same is being done to us with the issue of toll collection on the waterway,” he told La Nación/Nación Media.
“We don't have a strong position to defend our interests,” he said, noting that losses in the sector reach 60% since small, medium and large producers have fruits that cannot be sold.
Currently, banana exports can be paid in a 30-day period, and pineapple exports in a 180-day period, which is impossible for them to bear. “For example, if a small exporter sends 5 trucks a week in a month that means he'll have to wait for at least a month to be paid US$200,000, and producers just don't have the resources to be able to do that,” he said. “Meanwhile, we receive about 70% of Argentine products, such as peach, apples, grapes, plums, cleaning products, oils, tomatoes, and peppers, and we have to pay for those products to enter the country. We can't tell them that we'll pay them later.”
Peña asked they be allowed to carry out trade calmly, as established by the agreements of the Southern Common Market (Mercosur).