“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”
Without meaning to, Kafka has produced what’s probably the best description of online shopping. You don’t need to go anywhere at all, and better if you don’t. Sit at your computer and watch the world offer itself to you, in an international marketplace the size of your screen.
This free, unmasked, ecstatic world is available (kind of) in Argentina, as “door to door” shopping, or the term for ordering items from abroad to be delivered directly to your house, is available again, providing you’re a large business or factory.
Alberto Abad, the head of the tax collection agency (AFIP) had attempted to reform the online import system back in March, but the flood of still and solitary shoppers overwhelmed the service. Last week, new legislation was announced informing that people can import up to five items a year, for up to US $999 each, as long as they weigh less than 50 kilograms, are no more than three of the same item and were not imported for re-sale. These items are subject to taxation, though it’s unclear how much.
While the new legislation will work to stabilize the level of foreign trade available to Argentines, the Argentine Confederation of Small Businesses (CAME) reported that Argentines are now able to purchase products up to 67 percent cheaper than locally made products sold within the country. The amount of items that can be purchased online is not small — since people are allowed to make five purchases up to US $999 per year, the net amount is around US $5,000, which CAME had indicated was enough to impact the Argentine economy.
“Clearly, it’s not the opportune time to enable this system of online shopping,” CAME had indicated. Local production and commercial sale will most obviously be affected, but indirectly or directly, this policy will also affect the consumers.
Among the products most affected are clothes, toys, light fixtures, leather goods and crockery, reported Ambito, since drastically cheaper items “Made in China” are now available for purchase.
The ability to purchase foreign items online was originally curbed in 2014, after former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner attempted to aid Argentine business and production through legislation that limited the amount of items Argentine people could buy online, and ended door to door service. Without these limits on foreign imports, regulation of business and the primacy of local businesses might not be as possible to maintain.