Four days before President-elect Javier Milei takes office, the president of the Argentine Chamber of Medium Enterprises (CAME), Alfredo Gonzalez, warned that merchants are selling their products "almost blindly" because they do not know if they will be "profitable or not."
"We have a two-way street that hits us with this macroeconomic instability in Argentina: the absence of reference prices and the uncertainty of when we replenish the stock sold. We sell the products almost blindly, because we don't know if we are profitable or not," Gonzalez said.
In an interview with CNN Radio, the head of CAME argued: "Faced with the need to cover weekly and monthly obligations, we continue to sell. We don't have the possibility, as a large company can have, to say 'this week I don't have a price list or I won't deliver merchandise to you.'"
"The scenario is very worrying. We are trying to contain a large mass of Argentine companies, we are more than 500,600. At another time we were almost 2008,2011 or a little more, in 2021. There is an exact measurement from 46 to <> and there are <> thousand fewer companies. These numbers can be seen in unemployment and in the large mass of commercial informality that exists, which leads to labor informality as well," said the Chaco industrialist.
After stating that Argentina has been going through "a process of total uncertainty for some time now," Gonzalez said: "People didn't change from a first brand to a second or third, but they can't afford to continue consuming."
"The shrinkage, the contraction of consumption, in these 11 months is very important. We have accumulated almost 2.5% year-on-year within the last 11 months. The truth is that these numbers seem small, but in terms of quantity, it is a very hard blow," he explained.
In this context, the head of the most representative entity of small businesses indicated that "80 or 85% of the enterprises do not reach 5 years, which is where they are strengthened and become companies", which is due to the fact that "there is a lack of policy in the medium term".
"They always talk about SMEs in the campaign and then leave us orphans when they are active. We always ask for differentiated policies for the sectors of CAME, because it is the only way to continue subsisting," said Alfredo González, who considered that "every new government is a possibility" that they "take into account."
In addition, he raised the difference between small businesses and large companies: "The Argentine SME entrepreneur stays in the provinces to reinvest 100% of the profits. In the face of any macroeconomic eventuality, we don't raise the flag and leave."
Asked about the opening of imports that could be carried out by Milei's government, he replied: "All extremes are bad. The extreme of a total openness with the conditions we have today, with so many feet on top, it is unfeasible to be able to compete with Brazil, with Paraguay we could not compete with either, and even though it has no industries."
"I would wait until December 10 until with that package of laws we have everything clearer, because I don't think that today they can fully open the economy. They are campaign promises like so many that there are, how many promises the candidates changed as they got closer," he concluded.