Argentina’s Senate paves way for grain export duty hike

23 Dec 2019 | Juan Pedro Tomas

Argentina's Senate approved on Saturday an economic emergency bill that paves the way for higher export duties for grain and oilseeds.

The draft bill being advocated by the new wing-left government was approved by the lower house on December 19 and will be in the official gazette on December 23.

The bill, which was approved with 41 votes in favour, 23 against and one abstention, is set to increase Argentina’s export tax for soybeans to a maximum of 33% and for corn and wheat by up to 15%, while also seeking higher taxes on personal property and foreign assets.

The final version of the bill approved by the Senate stipulates differential duties for small rural producers, mainly those located far from the country’s main port terminals, with the aim of improving the profitability and competitiveness of these producers.

The bill also obliges the government to inform any potential change in export duties as part of the approved bill to the Congress and well as the country’s main rural associations.

The bill also stipulates that the new increases in export duties will not be implemented in those districts in which the government may declare an agriculture emergency due to adverse climate conditions.

President Alberto Fernandez was expected to have a meeting with rural associations Sociedad Rural (SRA), Federacion Agraria Argentina (FAA), CRA and Coninagro on December 23 to discuss the effects of the approved bill and to define the next steps for the implementation of higher export duties.

Last week, Fernandez said that the government was aiming to define the final level of export duties through negotiations with local rural associations

Some groups of rural producers have been recently threatened to demonstrate against the duties by blocking logistical routes or withholding sales.