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Salmon, fruit exporters complain about big losses due to Chilean customs strike

SANTIAGO, Chile – Chilean exporters are complaining of big losses due to a nationwide customs strike that is halting shipments of fruits and salmon, and the government called Tuesday for talks to resume.

Customs workers began the stoppage on May 20, demanding improvements in infrastructure and more staff over the next three years. Unions representing the workers rejected a government offer Monday and the national customs service urged reopening of dialogue.

The SalmonChile group said the strike has halted exports of about 11 metric tons of salmon and has caused more than $30 million in losses for the industry.

Chile’s ASOEX fruit exporting association is calling on the government and customs workers to urgently reach a solution and prevent more losses.

“So far we have about $16 million in losses in fresh fruit due to the shipping problems,” said ASOEX president Ronald Bown, who added that “the main problem here is not the fruit losses but the impact on the country’s image and credibility.”