In September 1992, the then Secretariat of Industry and Trade included into the Argentine legal system, by means of Resolution 306/92, of the Common Market Group (GMC) 18/92, which in its Annex I set the mandatory net contents of different packaged food, which free exchange was favored within the scope of the South American Common Market (MERCOSUR).
The food reached by the limits in their package sizes then imposed were butters, vegetable margarines and cream, pasta, oils (including olive oil), rice, wheat flour, beans, sugar, coffee beans or solid coffee, toasted or roasted, salt (table salt and coarse salt) and “yerba mate”.
Hence, for example, it was provided that butters, vegetable margarines and creams of up to 1 kg could only be sold in the following net contents: 100 g, 200 g, 250 g, 500 g and 1 kg.
Said Resolution 306/92 set forth as regards what concerns us here, in its section 1st, that the Member States of the South American Common Market (MERCOSUR) could neither forbid nor restrict the commercialization of packaged food complying with the net contents provided for each one of them in is Annex I for reasons related to net contents.
A “contrario sensu”, the commercialization of said products in net contents other than those set forth in the Resolution – restrictively set forth, at least for certain ranges of net contents.
In September 2001, the then Secretariat of Competition, Deregulation and Consumer Defense (Secretaría de la Competencia, la Desregulación y la Defensa del Consumidor), with the declared purpose of easing trade between the countries that executed the Treaty of Asunción, included to the Argentine body of laws, through Resolution 117/2001, the Common Market Group Resolution (GMC) 18/2001, which in its Annex I provided for the net contents of some products, basically cleaning and body care products, certain insecticides, repellents and safety matches and modified the list of allowed sizes for olive oil, adding in this case, containers of 750 cl.
Subsequently, on December 11, 2007, the Common Market Group issued in addition Resolution GMC 31/2007, to set the net contents of different products, which derogated its similar Resolutions Nº 18/92 and 18/2001, but was not in force in the Argentine Republic, because it was not included in our body of laws.
Finally, the Common Market Group, by means of Resolution 14, dated December 17, 2020, which derogated Resolution GMC N° 31/2007, approved the new South American Common Market Technical Rules (MERCOSUR) on “Net Contents of Pre-packed products”, that was included in the national body of laws by the recent Resolution of the Secretariat of Domestic Trade 1126/2021 (issued on 12/17/2021 and published in the Official Gazette on December 21, 2021).
The Resolution of the Secretariat of Domestic Trade 1126/2021, that will be effective on June 19, 2022, one hundred and eighty days following its publication in the Official Gazette, derogates its similar Resolutions Nº 306/92 and 117/2001 (Resolution 1126, section 3rd), mentioned above.
The Resolution of the Common Market Group Resolution (GMC) 14/2020, after approving in its section 1st, the “fro on net contents of pre-packed products”, sets forth, in its section 2nd, that it shall be applicable in the territory of the Member States, to the trade among them and to intra-zone imports.
The Rules contain a list of industrialized products, food, cleaning and body care products, that will replace, as from next June 19, the lists in force up to now and which will be commercialized only in the Member States of the South American Common Market (MERCOSUR) in the net contents set forth in it.
In the new list of products contemplated in the brand-new Rules, the bar of washing soaps, fabric softeners, washing powder / saponaceous, disinfectants / deodorants, liquid detergents to wash china manually with a maximum of fifteen percent (15%) of active matter based on linear sodium dodecylbenzene sulfonate nor toothpastes, that were regulated before, are not included. Household insecticides, repellents or safety matches, which – as I mentioned above – were also subject to regulation by the South American Common Market (MERCOSUR) on net contents are not included either.
All said products may be sold as from next June 19, 2022 in the presentations that their manufacturers may consider proper, without the limitations imposed before by the MERCOSUR resolutions mentioned above.
It would seem that the legislators of the Common Market Group have modified their previous standpoint – fortunately, in my opinion – and that now they consider that to set the manufacturers of said products free will not hinder free trade that is favored within the South American Common Market (MERCOSUR).
However, the following food will continue to be subject to the restraint imposed by the obligation to be commercialized in certain sizes of containers– and not in others –:
(i) edible oil (excluding olive oil and cooking oil spray),
(ii) rice (excluding ready meals),
(iii) white sugar,
(iv) Coffee (all of them, excluding instant coffee),
(v) dry pasta or spaghetti (excluding stuffed pasta, ready meals and dough for lasagna),
(vi) cassava flour, wheat flour and self-rising flour,
(vii) fluid milk of animal origin (excluding flavored milks),
(viii) butters, margarines and other vegetable fat-emulsions, excluding butter product or bottle butter),
(ix) beans (excluding bean preserves),
(x) edible salt, table salt and coarse salt and
(xi) yerba mate.
The only cleaning products now subject to commercialization in certain container sizes are the liquid solutions of sodium hypochlorite, for domestic use.
And the only body care product restrained by the new Rules is the toilet paper in rolls.
I have not found an answer as to why the Common Market Group has decided that said products must be commercialized in certain net contents and not in those freely decided by their manufacturers.
For example, toilet paper in rolls, as set forth in the Rules, must have a minimum width of ten (10) centimeters and a minimum length of twenty (20) meters and the rolls having more than twenty (20) meters must add multiples of ten (10) meters.
It could be thought that the ten (10) centimeters width are in line – let me doubt it – with an anthropometric study. But I cannot figure out the reason why to prevent the commercialization of a toilet paper, for example, in rolls of 74 meters, as announced “in old times” the advertising of the then best-known toilet paper of the Argentine market or in another length other than a multiple of 10 and that seems proper to one or more businessmen who manufacture it.
As regards food, for example, wheat four must be commercialized in containers of 500 g, 1 kg, 2 kg and 5 kg (if the weight is higher than 5 kg the net content is free).
On the other hand, cassava flour must be commercialized in containers of 250 g, 500 g, 1 kg and 2 kg (if the weight is lower than 250 g or higher than 2 kg the net content is free).
Again, I have no answers to the reason why it is forbidden to commercialize flours, in both cases, for example, of 750 g, 1,250 kg, 1,500 kg, 1,750 kg or any other size that a businessman considers proper for the intended public.
I have not found an answer either as to why the products included in the Rules were those selected to limit the size of their containers and on the other hand others that are widely consumed also, like soft drinks, mineral waters or mineralized waters, marmalades, “dulce de leche”, tea and countless others that have been excluded from the regulatory burden.
I guess that we, human beings, are capable of discernment and I believe also that the most important human right is – after life, of course – freedom.
I am inclined to think, thus, that many regulatory measures, such as the one subject matter of this brief comment, are not only unnecessary and useless, but also harmful for society as a whole because they restrict the consumers’ and businessmen’s freedom.
The regulators of the Common Market Group or ours do not seem to think so.
Be aware on this respect that infringements to the provisions of Resolution 1126/2021 issued by the Secretariat of Domestic Trade (SCI) shall be punished in accordance with Decree 274/2019, on Fair Commercial Practices, that provides – among other penalties – fines that, for last year 2021 could reach up to AR$ 552,900,000,- (Five hundred and fifty-two million nine hundred thousand pesos) and for infringements incurred during year 2022 they will reach up to a maximum amount of AR$ 830,000.000, roughly- (eight hundred and thirty million pesos).
In other words, those who dare to commercialize the products included in the Annex of the Resolution in net contents other than those set forth by the regulation shall expose themselves to be punished with fines which – to say the least – are exorbitant.
Forget it, then the 74 meters of toilet paper; shall be 70 or 80. And if you need 250 grams of wheat flour, you should buy a package of 500 grams and you will learn what to do with the remainder. Magister dixit. You will see things that will surprise you for
 Bar of washing soap, fabric softener, washing powder / saponaceous, disinfectants / deodorants, and liquid detergents to wash china manually with a maximum of 15% of active matter based on linear sodium dodecylbenzene sulfonate.
 Toothpastes, excluding medicinal ones, and toilette paper.
 Edible oil excluding olive oil and cooking oil spray, rice, excluding ready meals, White sugar, coffee (all of them, excluding instant coffee, dry pasta or spaghetti, excluding stuffed pasta, ready meals and dough for lasagna, cassava flour, wheat flour and self-rising flour, fluid milk of animal origin, excluding flavored milks, butters, margarines and other vegetable fat-emulsions, excluding butter product or bottle butter, beans, excluding bean preserves, edible salt, either table and coarse salt and yerba mate.
 Liquid solutions of sodium hypochlorite, for domestic use.
 Toilet paper in rolls.
 Pursuant to adjustment by Resolution 151/2021 issued by the Secretariat of Domestic Trade, dated February 18, 2021. These amounts must be automatically adjusted, in 2022, according to the variation of the Consumer Price Index, prepared by the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INDEC).
 Dictionary of the Spanish Language (Spanish Royal Academy, on line edition) “magister dixit: Latin expression.; literally ‘the master has said it’, words used by the scholastics of the Middle Ages when they quoted as an irrefutable argument the opinion of Aristotle. 1. Ironic expression to reply to those who boast to always be right. In words of Alphonse VI, in the “The Poem of the Cid”, repeated afterwards by Don Quixote in “The ingenious gentleman don Quixote of La Mancha”. For those who do not know the expression – if any among the readers of this work – I point out that it denotes perplexity.