July 9, 2021
1. Bill on packaging and social inclusion introduced in the Chamber of Deputies
Frente de Todos legislator Federico Fagioli presented a project based on the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for the management of packaging. It is promoted by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and has the support of various figures and social sectors. Among them are the head of the Frente de Todos coalition Máximo Kirchner and the Federación Argentina de Cartoneros y Recicladores (FACyR), one of the organizations that are part of the Unión de Trabajadores de la Economía Popular (UTEP), led by Juan Grabois. The project’s objectives include increasing the number of materials recovered and minimizing the environmental impact of waste, encouraging producers to assume extended responsibilities for the collection, recycling and design of packaging with a higher level of recyclability. It also seeks to establish minimum environmental protection budgets for the management of packaging and post-consumer packaging, in order to reduce its impact on the environment. The manufacturers of packaged products will have to pay an environmental tax for each package, the value of which may not exceed 3% of the sale price of the packaged product. The project also seeks to value the work of recyclers as the main source of income for many families and the need to recognize them by guaranteeing them minimum rights.
2. The government renewed Precios Cuidados with increases of an average of 5%
In the midst of the implementation of Super Cerca, a recent agreement with business leaders for the creation of a set of essential products, the Domestic Trade Secretariat renewed the price control program and incorporated 32 dairy products, which brings the total products to over 700. The update includes an average price increase of 5%, which will be maintained through October. “This renewal is the first one after the agreement signed with business associations from the dairy industry in which it was coordinated, in addition to expanding production and supply volumes, to add 32 new dairy products to the program,” stated the Secretariat of Domestic Trade of the Nation. The program is one of the government’s tools to contain food inflation, whose prices increased 22.4% between January and May of this year. It is worth mentioning that, at the beginning of June, the government responded to the claim of the businessmen and cancelled the price ceiling program, which had essentially frozen the prices of more than 60,000 items for more than a year. During that period, two increases had been authorized, well below the increase of prices as measured by the Argentine statistical agency (INDEC).
3. Government changes employer healthcare policies
By means of Decree 438/2021 published on Wednesday in the Official Gazette, new workers are required to remain in the social healthcare program corresponding to their occupation for one year before being able to exercise the right of option to change. The decision responds to one of President Fernandez’s promises to union leaders and is aimed at preventing the unions from losing money that comes from mandatory contributions to the private sector. To this effect, legislator Graciela Ocaña (Juntos por el Cambio) stated, “I have no doubt that this is a pact between Alberto Fernández and the unions who are worried about the reform of the health system that Cristina Fernández de Kirchner wants to implement.” From the private sector, Claudio Belocopitt, president of the Unión Argentina de la Salud and owner of Swiss Medical also expressed his opposition to the measure: “The first to be harmed are the people. Let us not confuse this with a fight of interests. It is a question about the people.” In Argentina, private medical companies have some 6 million members, of which 4.5 million derive their contributions from the social healthcare funds.
La Nación: El Gobierno modifica por decreto el sistema de libre elección de la obra social
Infobae: Claudio Belocopitt y las nuevas limitaciones para elegir servicios médicos: “Es un decreto que jode a la gente”
A24: Duras críticas de la oposición al decreto que limita la posibilidad de nuevos trabajadores a cambiarse de obras sociales
4. Elections: The opposition orders its candidates before the closing of alliances
The national president of the opposition PRO party, Patricia Bullrich, announced that she will not compete in primary elections, although she will campaign for the coalition her party leads, Juntos por el Cambio (Together for Change) and will run in the 2023 elections. In a letter published on social media, she announced her decision not to compete against María Eugenia Vidal and Ricardo López Murphy. “I decided to set an example, to give up a candidacy but not to fight. The candidacies in the province of Buenos Aires are still under discussion,” stated Bullrich. These comments are framed in the electoral battle that will be fought over the province of Buenos Aires, where neurologist Facundo Manes announced his candidacy for the opposition UCR and, in this sense, would compete within the Juntos por el Cambio coalition with Diego Santilli, vice-mayor of the city of Buenos Aires.
5. Vaccines: Richmond laboratory completed production of 153,000 doses of Sputnik V component 2
Richmond Laboratories announced that the production of the first 153,441 doses of component 2 of the Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus has been completed at its plant in Pilar, Buenos Aires. Richmond’s president, Marcelo Figueiras, had announced on June 29th that as of Monday, July 5th, 150,000 doses of component 2 of the Sputnik V vaccine, developed by the Gamaleya Research Center of Russia, would begin production at the Pilar plant in Buenos Aires. He also explained that they are waiting for 560 liters of the active ingredient, but they depend on the shipment from Moscow to continue with the production of the immunizing agent. On the other hand, more than three million doses of different vaccines (Sinopharm, Sputnik V and AstraZeneca) are expected to arrive during the week. Regarding the epidemiological situation in the country, 19,423 cases were reported on Wednesday and an accumulated total of 97,439 deaths have been confirmed. Finally, the Chief of Staff, Santiago Cafiero, announced that the government will sign next week a contract with the Moderna laboratory for the provision of pediatric vaccines.