Argentina planning temporary cut on soy export taxes

Farm industry sources say the move should spur more exports from the Latin American nation

Argentina plans to temporarily cut soybean and soymeal export taxes by three percentage points to 30 per cent to help stimulate export revenue as the country struggles with recession and dwindling foreign reserves, a local industry source said Oct. 1.

The tax cut would last until the end of the year. The export levy would be restored to 33 per cent in January, said the person, who has direct knowledge of the situation.

“The government is working on different measures but there has not been any negotiations with the farm sector in this regard. So the government will take unilateral measures on soybeans and soy byproducts,” the person said.

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“They will reduce export taxes by three per cent (points) for the rest of this year and restore export taxes to their current levels in January,” the Buenos Aires-based source said. “The government is expecting that this will induce farmers to increase selling but we are not sure about that.”

Gross domestic product, shrinking since 2018, has been dented further by a lockdown against the coronavirus pandemic first implemented by the government in mid-March.

The central bank has tightened capital controls in a bid to shore up reserves as Argentines dump the local peso currency in favor of safe-haven U.S. dollars.

Soybeans are the main cash crop of Argentina. The country, also a major exporter of corn and wheat, is the world’s top supplier of soymeal livestock feed used to fatten hogs and poultry from Europe to Southeast Asia.

Last year Argentine soy and its derivatives fetched US$15.7 billion in export dollars.

Local media were filled with reports about talks between farmers and government officials regarding a possible export tax cut. But the Argentine Rural Confederation, a major growers’ organization, issued a statement saying it had not participated in any discussions.

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