The Santiago Chamber of Commerce (CCS) asked President Sebastián Piñera to entrust the Ministers of Finance, Ignacio Briones, and Economy, Lucas Palacios, to promptly conduct and resolve the debate on the essential nature of the products that can be marketed during the period of restriction of displacement established by the health authority. This as a way to bring order and settle a debate that has been widespread for too long, creating “uncertainty and confusion” between economic operators, consumers and the supervisory authorities themselves.
The chairman of the trade union, Peter Hill, noted that “in times of crisis one of the great contributions that authority can generate is the clarity of the rules, which unfortunately has not happened in this case, in which the contradictions, uncertainties and lack of precision among the various authorities that have referred to the matter have prevailed.” Hill added that “most seriously, this indefinition has allowed many middle supervisory authorities, mayors, municipal and health inspectors to interpret from their own personal opinions or intuitions what is considered essential product, generating wide margins of discretion and, in many cases, arbitrariness and even illegal conduct.”
The holder of the CCS assured that there was no definition in Chilean law of what is considered to be well essential, either in times of normality or in states of emergency, so that all infringements that have been carried out have no legal basis. “So obvious is this, that it is public knowledge that the authorities have announced, successively, that they will define a list, then a catalogue, then criteria and subsequently guidance,” Peter Hill said, for whom this indefinition has been provided for huge abuses against companies that, with effort and good faith, try to continue to provide their services and maintain the sources of employment that the country so much needs. “An example of the above was the decision of a municipality that committed an infringement to a store that sold soaps, to contain these products a certain perfume. So absurd is that in the view of the prosecutor, if the soap had not been scented I would have considered it well essential,” he said.
The president of the Santiago Chamber of Commerce publicly asked the President to commission Ministers Ignacio Briones and Lucas Palacios to take charge of this issue and seek an appropriate and balanced solution to resolve it. “They are people who have the necessary skills and knowledge of the complex and sophisticated way in which the world of production, distribution, logistics and marketing works, as well as the effects that measures taken intuitively and hasty can generate on consumer employment and sourcing,” he concluded.
“Not necessary, ” says the CNC
While Santiago asked for a sharps, the National Chamber of Commerce (CNC) issued a statement referring to the same topic. They said that in the face of the various initiatives that appear from time to time calling for the regulation of essential goods, they “have remained in the line of work together with the government and resolving with the authorities the problems that have been presented.”
In this regard, they clarify, there is no need for further regulation or new rules to solve the specific problems that we know exist. The important thing is that the control officials properly implement the protocols and regulations that the government has been constantly issuing and updating through the Ministry of the Economy,” they said.