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Colombia: Small Businesses demand freeing up competition

 |  July 7, 2015

Colombia’s new anti-smuggling laws, now awaiting the President’s ratification, have brought thousands of Colombia’s informal business owners to the streets in protest over what they see as an attack on small merchants which largely passes over the larger smuggling groups.

The merchants’ anger stems from proposed ‘state monopolies’ on importing certain products considered prone to contraband. Under the proposal “We as small business owners can’t import liquor or perfumes […] what we’re asking for is freedom to import and freedom to compete.” said Cristian Villabona, manager of La Isla, an informal market, known in Colombia as ‘Sanandresitos’.

The Trade Ministry has already announced they will remove certain import barriers. The anti-smuggling law includes efforts to regulate vendors in popular informal markets, which are the leading opponents of import monopolies.

Source: Vanguardia

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