Argentina to hike tax on soy products with corn and wheat spared

09 March 20202 min reading
Alberto Fernandez

Argentina’s government is singling out soybean shipments as it looks to raise more revenue to plug budget gaps, pay down debt and kick start the economy, Bloomberg reports. Shipments of raw soybeans, as well as cooking oil and livestock feed made from the oilseed, will be taxed at a rate of 33%, up 3 percentage points from current levels, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The South American country is the world’s biggest exporter of the soy products.

Corn and wheat cargoes will be spared from another tax hike, with the rate expected to stay at 12%, said the people, who asked not to be named because talks are private. A law passed in December allows for corn and wheat taxes to increase to 15%.

The higher rate on soy would be President Alberto Fernandez’s second farm-tax hike since he took office in December amid a severe economic crisis, in a reversal of the agriculture-friendly bias of the previous administration. Fernandez -- who said in a speech on 1st March he was proposing to raise taxes on just one crop, without elaborating -- is targeting a product that isn’t widely consumed by his constituents. The approach is a throwback to measures taken by his deputy, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. When she left the presidency in 2015, soy exports were taxed as much as 35%.

Authorities have already suspended the country’s export-registration system, a move traders said signals the tax changes are imminent. BLOOMBERG

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