The ceramic industry is working at its capacity and hopes that the clear rules of the sector will be enforced to put its plants back 100%.
The capital city concentrates this activity with five active companies that manufacture flat type ceramics (coatings and finishes) or tableware.
According to data from the Chamber of Industries of Cuenca, between Italpisos, Rialto, Ecuacerámica, Ceramica Andina, Graiman and Artesa, around 2,500 direct and 1,500 indirect jobs are generated. Andrés Robalino, spokesman for the sector, says that they have great potential to grow, since 2014 they have been working at half capacity after the implementation of a technical regulation.
This allowed the import of flat ceramic up to 5,000 square meters supposedly without testing minimum levels of quality. Before 2014 flat ceramics in Cuenca covered 45% of the national market, but fell to 30%. Not everything was bad, since exports grew from 7% to 15%, an important figure but not in the same proportion. In the local economy, the impact of the ceramic sector takes more force with that of construction.
For ware-type ceramics the situation is much more complex, especially because of the impossibility of competing with the prices of Chinese products: if a small plate imported and placed in the port costs 13 cents, the manufactured here exceed the dollar.
That is why, on Thursday, the visit of the Minister of Industries, Eva García, is scheduled, she will be asked to find mechanisms to enforce the rules that establish rules and equality of conditions for all.
Artesa has been in the local market for more than 40 years and its strength lies in hand-crafted products decorated by hand. It employs 56 people. Its manager, Álvaro Crespo, explains that despite everything they have managed to maintain their sales, even at their export level. Of their total production in the year, they export close to 30% to Taiwan, Peru, Colombia or Bolivia, representing them more than $ 200,000 a year.
Due to the lack of a new market, they do not plan to increase workers, nor have they replaced when someone has retired. They intend to enter the food sector with the provision of quality dishes. (I)