BUENOS AIRES, July 15 (Reuters) - Argentina does not plan to
increase grains export taxes despite the government's need for
revenue as the coronavirus pushes the country into a deep
recession this year, Agriculture Minister Luis Basterra told
Reuters on Wednesday.
Farmers in the vast Pampas grains belt had worried that the
cash-strapped government, embroiled in a complicated
restructuring of $65 billion in sovereign bonds, might raise
taxes on international shipments of wheat, corn and soy.
Asked if the government was planning to increase those
levies, Basterra said: "No. We have to deal with our need for
dollars by increasing production, not by increasing taxes. We
need growers to increase planting area and increase investment
in order to increase crop yields."
Basterra spoke on the sidelines of an event in Buenos Aires.
"Higher export taxes would have meant less investment in
inputs like fertilizers, fungicides, machinery and technology in
general. So this is good news," said Santiago del Solar, a
farmer in the bread basket province of Buenos Aires.
Argentina is a major wheat, corn and soybean exporter as
well as the world's No. 1 supplier of soymeal livestock feed
used to fatten hogs, poultry and cattle from Europe to Southeast
Wheat exports from Argentina are currently taxed at 12%,
corn at 12%, soybeans at 33% and soymeal also at 33%.
The government is gasping for revenue as the Argentine
economy is expected by private analysts to shrink by about 12%
this year, pressured by a lockdown that began in March against
the coronavirus pandemic.
(Reporting by Hugh Bronstein in Buenos Aires
Additional reporting by Maximilian Heath in Buenos Aires
Editing by Adam Jourdan and Matthew Lewis)