By Adam Jourdan, Aislinn Laing, Maria Cervantes and Diego Oré
(Adds details on levies, table)
By Nicolás Misculin and Adam Jourdan
BUENOS AIRES, Oct 2 Argentina's main farm
association said on Friday that government measures to
temporarily cut export taxes on grains were inadequate and
failed to address issues facing local farmers amid a grave
economic crisis and strict capital controls.
The center-left government said on Thursday it would cut the
export levy on soybeans by 3 percentage points to 30% to
stimulate sales and bring in much-needed foreign currency. The
levy would rise again to 33% by January.
Soymeal and soy oil levies would be cut further to various
levels, also rising again incrementally in coming months.
Farmers in Argentina, the world's top exporter of processed
soy, have held back on selling their soy harvests, a concern for
the government as foreign currency reserves dwindle amid the
coronavirus pandemic. There is also low confidence in the peso
as the country heads for its third straight year of recession.
Argentina is also just emerging from a sovereign default
after restructuring over $100 billion in foreign-currency debt.
The Liaison Commission of Agricultural Entities, which
incorporates the four main farming bodies, called the
government's plans "insufficient" and "isolated measures, which
look like patches" rather than a comprehensive strategy.
"The lack of dollars is a consequence of the terrible export
policies that have been taken, looking only at tax collection
and discouraging growth of exportable production," it said in a
statement, adding it had not been consulted on the measures.
Argentina's powerful farm sector has clashed with various
governments before over taxes. Current President Alberto
Fernández resigned from his position as then chief-of-staff in
2008 amid a fierce dispute with the industry over tax hikes.
The farm body said the temporary reduction of some taxes was
of little help to farmers themselves, who have said many of the
benefits will be soaked up by grain processors rather than
Argentina is the world's largest exporter of soybean meal
and oil, the third-largest of unprocessed soybeans and one of
the most important sellers of beef, corn and wheat.
ARGENTINA SOY TAX RATE SCHEDULE:
Product Current Oct Nov Dec Jan
Soybeans 33% 30% 31.5% 32% 33%
Soy meal 33% 28% 29.5% 30% 31%
Soy oil crude 33% 28% 29.5% 30% 31%
(Reporting by Adam Jourdan, Nicolas Misculin and Hugh Bronstein
in Buenos Aires
Editing by John Stonestreet and Matthew Lewis)
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