Chilean ag exporters press for currency intervention
Chile's agricultural unions are calling on the country's central bank to intervene on the foreign exchange market in a bid to make the country's exports more competitive, website Df.cl reported.
The main unions led by National Agricultural Society (SNA) president Patricio Crespo, recently met the central bank governor Rodrigo Vergara Montes to discuss lack of the industry's competitiveness due the fall in U.S. exchange rates.
"Over the past nine years, the sector has seen a 89% increase in their costs. This rise together with a sharp fall in the dollar, which on Tuesday reached its lowest level this year, is a cause for concern and threatens the competitiveness of the sector," Crespo was reported as saying.
Crespo predicted during the 2012-2013 season, fruit competitiveness would fall by up to 6%, with a cumulative loss of 36% over the next nine years.
The National Federation of Fruit Producers (Fedefruta), the Association of Wines of Chile, the National Association of Seed Producers (ANPROS) and the Dairy Exporters Association (Exporlac) also attended the meeting.
ANPROS said over the last five years some products' unit prices had trebled, affecting the country's ability to compete with other exporters.
Fedefruta president Cristian Allendes has called on authorities to help the industry.
"The current level of the exchange rate makes the export business unviable. Urgent action is necessary with the Central Bank pursuing a currency intervention. Government measures are not enough," he was quoted as saying.
Crespo said the government's competitive impulse agenda measures were insufficient to help the industry.
"This has a limited impact and without doubt this is why we are here. Coming here would be a waste of time if we were not convinced that it is essential that the State is more involved in solving these problems," he said.
He said the union would probably meet the Finance Ministry and other authorities to raise public sector awareness about the agri-industrial export industry's demands.