The president of the Retail Trade Association (Acdet by its Spanish acronym), Iván Báez, said he disapproved of the agreement between the government and the island’s truckers, following the latter’s strike in favor increase in the land freight rate.
According to Báez, “having bowed to pressure from the leaders of various transport groups and formalized regulations that will further increase costs on the island, instead of enforcing law and order and the rule of law, puts us in an alarming and vulnerable situation. as a country. He felt that “there was no negotiation here – they signed a decision which is flawed from the start and people will be the most affected”.
As reported by THE WEEKLY NEWSPAPER, a study commissioned by Acdet revealed that the new land freight rates of an estimated 35% increase, decreed by the Bureau of Transportation and Other Utilities (NTSP by its Spanish initials) represent an additional 45 million dollars per year. year for households and businesses, and an immediate loss to society of approximately $2.4 million per year in terms of “deadweight loss”.
Báez reported that prior to the meeting with the truckers, La Fortaleza’s chief of staff, the NTSP president, and the secretaries of Agriculture, DACO, and Economic Development met with leaders from the Chamber of Commerce, MIDA, Acdet and Made in Puerto Rico to discuss the support they needed from the government to break the stalemate with truckers, work toward a fair rate increase for all, and honor the private business-to-business contracts that for decades , govern the industry.
“Why regulate what does not need to be regulated? Why enter to control what the market and free enterprise manage most effectively? Only in socialist countries does the government control the price and cost of everything in the private sector, and we live in a democracy, a country of free enterprise and progress. We are very concerned that the decisions of the government are based on threats and pressure and not on the well-being of the population,” he argued.
Báez added that what “transcended as an agreement was not new – it was to leave the same problem with the same proposal that there was, which is challenged in court in several lawsuits, the [Financial Oversight and Management] The board of directors opposed it and therefore does not resolve the situation. In a negotiation, there are two parties, and we, those who rent the services, have been excluded from the negotiation, our demands have not been taken into account and the people of Puerto Rico will be the biggest loser.
Meanwhile, in accordance with the agreement between the government and the truckers, NTSP Chairman Jaime Lafuente filed the third phase of the Code of Regulations with the State Department last Friday. “We are doing the right thing, emphasizing above all the tranquility and stability of our citizens,” Lafuente stressed, stating that “once again, in the government of Puerto Rico, we have given priority to our people”.
As reported by THE WEEKLY NEWSPAPER, after a two-day strike, many truckers in Puerto Rico reached an agreement with La Fortaleza on the night of July 22, garnering support from the central government. Truckers had gone on strike over the proposed new rates and to whom they should apply. The new tariffs came into effect once the documents were filed with the local authorities.
As part of the deal, the truckers have ended their strike and if the Financial Supervisory and Management Board (FOMB) takes legal action, the central government will defend them. It is not known what the reaction or the next moves of the FOMB will be. At the time of going to press, the Council had not issued any official comments.