Pretty soon, you may not have to wait for someone to travel abroad to replace that laptop that has been on its last legs for months. That is at least according to an article by Ámbito Financiero, which reported today that the government will be launching measure to nix import tariffs on laptops and desktop computers as of November. The ultimate goal of the effort is to lower the cost of buying computers by no longer assembling them in Argentina. The government is adamant that this will not lead to mass firings because the workers will be reassigned to other products.
This is good news for consumers: as anyone who has ever had the misfortune of having to buy a laptop, buying laptops in Argentina is way more expensive than many other countries in the world. The cost for some models can be so prohibitive that it can be cheaper to buy a plane ticket to Miami and purchase a laptop there (and sneak it through Customs, of course). By opening up the imports, the idea is that the domestic market will receive high-end laptops that are cheaper and better quality than those produced in the country. The government allegedly considers that the supply of good computers is essential for heightened productivity of businesses and individuals.
Another facet of this plan is directed at the workforce. The government’s objective is to increase productivity without losing jobs with an “industrial restructuring.” This means reassigning the workforce that would assemble laptop parts — about 1,000 people, mainly in southernmost Tierra del Fiego province — to assembling other products in which Argentina is more competitive, such as household appliances and electronic devices.
The only laptops that will still be assembled nationally are those that are given out through the Connecting Equality (Conectar Igualdad) government plan, an initiative that seeks to bridge existing gaps in the quality of education throughout the country, principally by putting an accent on improved technology in the classroom.
If it goes well, the idea is to extend this initiative to other economic sectors in which the products are necessary but national production is too costly to maintain.