Authorities say that April will show some improvement in the supply of toiletries.
As of May and June the situation should be stable in the country.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Based on the current conditions of the national industry, the conciliation in terms of production and the assigned financing, the toiletries -such as soap, toothpaste, liquid detergent and others that are sold in the retail stores-must start to show a greater availability in the market, even from this month.
This was announced by Betsy Diaz Velazquez, head of Domestic Trade (Mincin). She explained that now in March, the levels of presence and assurance of these products will show better performance compared to previous weeks, which should go to stability once they begin to recover inventories.
In this regard, she added, April will also show some improvement, and from May and June the situation of sanitation should be stable in the country.
As to why these items are not marketed through the system of the ration book, perhaps as an emerging measure in the face of hoarding and re-sellers, the Minister explained that the toiletries can not be included in the basic family basket, as it would become a controlled product and, therefore, acquire rights.
If we do not have enough to put, for example, one soap per person, and ensure that it reaches the population according to the established cycles, then we can not assume control measures in the register of consumers, said Diaz Velazquez.
“What we can do, and do, is give the authorities of the territory the power to apply regulatory measures in the sale of products in high demand and with insufficient supply on the market. We are not talking about the administrator, but a power of governments and municipal administrations,” he said.
In addition, he insisted, there are certain items that can only market the units of MINCIN, such as Lis and Nacar soap, or liquid detergent Limtel. No one else is authorized, and anyone who incurs in this type of sales is acting illegally.
AT THE SUCHEL COMPANY
Carlos Miguel Boggiano Sánchez, Managing Director of the company Suchel, agrees with the words of the head of MINCIN, telling Granma that “in May they will start to gradually improve deliveries, after achieving sustainability in their production and marketing”.
And more than goodwill or an optimistic attitude to support the announced stability, the company has, since February, “all the financing required to respond to the planned levels of laundry and toilet soap, liquid detergent and toothpaste”, products that showed sensitive deficits during 2019 and at the beginning of the year.
This guarantee, stressed Boggiano Sanchez, “marks the difference with respect to previous periods and ensures compliance with contracts for raw materials, as well as their arrival.
To get an idea of the recovery trend shown by the industry, it is appropriate to review the production indices for the first quarter of 2019 and those contemplated for the same stage in 2020.
During the first three months of the previous year, this entity delivered to MINCIN 7,806 tons of cleaning supplies, a figure that represented 16.1% of the 2019 plan.
However, at the end of March, the company must deliver 8296 tons, equivalent to 16,5 % of the forecast for 2020, a schedule that shows growth in the four families of products mentioned.
“From the raw material already available in the market, it is projected to exceed the production of the quarter by 380 tons of washing soap and 500 tons of liquid detergent”, said the CEO of Suchel.
It is precisely this last product, together with toothpaste, that has shown the greatest impact at the beginning of the year. It is estimated that it will recover, as of May, in the following order: detergent, although demand continues to exceed supply; laundry soap, toilet soap and toothpaste.
He said that, so far, the most significant deliveries are concentrated in the provinces of Havana, Matanzas, Villa Clara and Camagüey.
He stressed that as with the stable arrival of raw materials and the continuity of production, the industry, composed of six business units with a productive base, will put its capacities above 95% of use. This is the goal for which all the strategies are designed, from the availability of personnel to the organization of the required work shifts.
And it cannot leave out, from any productive analysis, as Boggiano Sanchez says, the impact of the hostile policy of economic, commercial and financial blockade of the US Government, whose tentacles press each sector of the economy.
The production of shavings, a fundamental raw material for making soap, requires imported oils and fats which, during 2019, in the words of the director, did not reach the country. This is, in addition to financial restrictions, due to the impossibility of tankers to touch Cuban ports, because of the pressures resulting from the unilateral and illegal U.S. sanctions against Cuba.
Of the 21,000 tons of shavings planned in 2019, barely 6,625 were obtained. This year no manufacture has been achieved, since the same constraints persist, not counting the increase in the price of the final product, which involves both the import of shavings and the import of fats and oils in different formats.
Although it might seem an excess, perhaps because of the reiterated nature of the subject, even in the production of soaps the economic blockade wags its tail.
IN DEVELOPMENT NEW LINE OF ECONOMIC PERFUMERY
By 2020, most of the demand of the mixed company Suchel Camacho s.a. is redirected to the network of stores in MINCIN, according to Caridad Estévez García, its sales manager.
In that sense, he said, the range of products is expanded with two new additions to the Daily line: cologne and deodorant. Other existing ones are consolidated, such as soap, children’s dental gel and [insect] repellent. In addition, there are also hair products such as professional dye and shampoo, conditioners and peroxides in large formats.
Likewise, he continued, “we are working on the development of new economic products of perfumery, cosmetics, and cleaning, which contribute to the substitution of imports, and guarantee the relation quality-price-opportunity”.
Together with the MINCIN and the governments of the territories, Suchel Camacho will participate, in the words of Estévez García, in the setting of personalized spaces, with adequate furniture for the positioning of such products.
In a first stage, the work will be done in stores located on Galiano and San Rafael streets in the capital, to be later extended to other establishments in the country.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
Philippe Waechter, Chief Economist with French Company Ostrum Asset Management, published on May 17 last year an interesting analysis of the current tensions between China and the United States.
The French expert explains that Donald Trump’s tweets of May 5 increased tension between Washington and Beijing and re-launched new discussions on the terms of a trade agreement between the two powers.
Chinese retaliation against US imports in response to the new U.S. tariffs calls into question the lengthy period of calm begun after the G20 meeting on December 1st last year.
Trump’s desire to impose new restrictions on China reflects his desire to repatriate jobs, especially in the manufacturing sector, and also to reduce US dependence on China.
In 2018, the U.S. external trade balance with China showed a more than $400 billion deficit.
The counterpart of this Chinese surplus with the United States reflected Chinese financing of the U.S. economy through the purchase of U.S. federal bonds. The logic was that the Chinese products in the U.S. market financed the U.S. economy to compensate for the lack of savings there.
The functioning of the Chinese-American trade was on the basis of complement, but this balance is now changing in nature because China’s weight in financing the US economy has been declining.
In March 2019, the weight of U.S. financial assets in the hands of China as part of the total U.S. foreign funding had fallen to the low level observed in June 2006.
The balance of the relationship between the two countries is changing and the United States no longer has the capacity to influence China as it did in the past. China now has more autonomy, says Waechter.
The White House is impatient over Chinese unwillingness to respond to its requests. By taxing Chinese imports, Washington wants to influence Beijing’s economy by creating strong social tension there that would force the hand of the Chinese authorities who do not wish to take this social risk.
The slow pace of Chinese activity indicators since the beginning of the year could validate Washington’s analysis and encourage it to further harden its commercial tone.
At the beginning of 2019, the weight of the United States in Chinese exports slowed significantly. China’s dependence on the United States is being reversed and, at the same time, the Chinese are re-launching the New Silk Road initiative, whose objective is, among others, to further diversify Chinese markets.
China is now expanding market opportunities and effectively limiting the influence of the U.S. on its internal economic situation.
The other major point of disagreement between Washington and Beijing concerns technology. “It seems to me that this is the main point of the differences between the two countries,” says Waechter.
The Chinese have updated technologically very quickly in the last twenty years. This has been the case both in technology transfers as in resources to facilitate it. And this has worked so well that the Chinese are now considerably ahead of the U.S. in 5G and Artificial Intelligence, among other significant developments.
In this question of technological supremacy, there is a radical change because the Chinese have the means to develop these technologies without American support.
This situation could have arisen with Japan a few years ago, but the Japanese always opted for remaining in the US fold, which is not the case in Beijing –says Waechter– because China has a very large internal market and this them to create conditions for autonomous technological dynamics.
The stakes are simple:
Whoever sets the standards for these new technologies will have a considerable comparative advantage. It will be easier to develop innovations using these technologies. That’s why this is where the negotiations get stuck.
The Chinese have devoted significant resources to achieving this technological advantage and will not fall naively under U.S. control.
This technological stagnation will not be resolved spontaneously, and the possibility of an agreement between the two countries seems unlikely.
“The dynamics of the world economy are changing. This is the first time in modern history that a situation occurs that makes it likely that the world economy moves to a new region due to criteria related to technological innovation.”
When the core of the world economy moved from the United Kingdom to the United States, there was a continuity that does not exist in the current situation. This will alter the dynamics of the world economy and will inevitably redistribute the cards among the regions of the world,” concludes Philippe Waechter.
May 22, 2019.
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