Ecuador: Over 100 businesses close in border town Huaquillas in 2015

Posted on December 1, 2015 • Filed under: Business, Ecuador

salvaguardias blamed for low sales and the closure of businesses Paspuel reported commercial activity along the only street that leads directly to the neighboring cities of Huaquillas, in southern Ecuador, and Aguas Verdes, in northern Peru, shows a different picture, depending on which side of the border in which the visitor is located. On the Peruvian side, trade bustles with shoppers walking dodging cars, motorcycle taxis and trucks, to enter the open-sided business. The Christmas items and promotional date for this fight for attention of visitors to this Peruvian town of 22,000 inhabitants, whose economy is based on retail, according to the Chamber of Commerce. The scenario looks different from the Ecuadorian side. The bustle of shoppers ends as soon as the international bridge, which connects to the center of Huaquillas. In this town of 45,000 inhabitants in the province of El Oro, the business is now little crosses. The five blocks of the avenue Republic of Ecuador, the largest commercial city, look with indoor and others with half-empty shelves. Last October, about 20 local closed due to low sales, mentions Mario Chamba, director of the Chamber of Commerce of Huaquillas. The official estimated that so far this year have shut down more than 100 businesses, from a universe of about 2000 open establishments in this border city. “The situation worsened since mid-year. If some businesses with low sales remained at the end were forced to close “. There are streets as October 19, three blocks away from Aguas Verdes, which of its 15 stores, eight remain closed, and two others in the process of liquidating its merchandise. This is the case of Mayra Avila boutique, which showcases small signs that offer merchandise in liquidation. Inside, remain naked mannequins, shelves gathering dust and cartons with merchandise that nobody wants to buy are stacked on the floor. Local Avila opened five years ago, but over the past watched their sales began to decline. “Everyone who comes to Huaquillas goes directly to Aguas Verdes. Here no longer buy anything, just ask and go to the other side. ” Avila says he used to bill an average of USD 300 per day, which at the end of the month amounted to cancel the lease of the premises and the two employees. “This year I started putting clothes with more discounts to offer combos, then to sell goods of lesser value, nothing worked, I finally had to dispense with the employees and put the merchandise on clearance, because no coat or for lease “.


The huaquillenses traders believe they have found a culprit for the decline in sales: the imposition of safeguards on imports in Ecuador, governing since last March. “How can we compete with that here shirts cost $ 25, while just one block in Peru, worth less than $ 10,” says Carlos Ruiz, representative of the pre Minorites Merchants Association. He adds that because of the increased customs controls, the local merchant chose to buy in Guayaquil. “We can just cross to Aguas Verdes or Tumbes (15 minutes of Huaquillas), bringing the merchandise over there cheaper and sell it here. No, now the clothes, for example, we buy in Guayaquil importers, surcharged “. Clothing, footwear and electronics products are considered more susceptible Customs smuggling, and they point to the operations. Entity data indicate that between January and merchandise was seized last October for $ 33.2 million. Only in textiles (clothing) and footwear goods was apprehended by USD 12.4 million. Cristian Aponte remains leaning on the door of his shop, the store Santa Martha, a family business that sells fabrics and garments for educational institutions. Customers no longer come as before, he laments. To try to attract buyers, into the business he placed a sign with the promotion of USD 1.99 meter fabric. Without customers to attend to, take the time to report that sales started to decline from six months ago. “They fell almost 60%. As things stand, I am already thinking of liquidating the merchandise or live rent the premises, thanks to God’s own “. To lift the ailing trade in Huaquillas, the municipality proposed the construction of a large binational mall where expendieran products without paying duties. The proposal was unsuccessful, indicating Joseph Arambulú, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Aguas Verdes. “There is political will of our governments.” The Ecuadorian side, the Chamber of Commerce of Huaquillas could not calculate losses. Chamba considers it difficult to compete with Peru in prices and blames safeguards. “We do not want a temporary solution, as was done in Tulcan, we want the safeguards are eliminated immediately.” Read Article

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