The new center-left Argentinian president, Peronist Alberto Fernandez, is tightening export taxes on agricultural products. A measure deemed urgent by the president to straighten finances in the face of the country's serious public deficit.
Customs duties on grain sales abroad will now have a fixed rate of 9% and no longer a variable rate. Until now, it has been pegged to the dollar, which has caused large fluctuations due to the devaluation of the national currency, the peso. For soybeans, the main export product, it remains taxed at 18%.
The objective of this measure taken by the president is to support the agricultural sector which posted strong growth of 46% in the second quarter, according to figures from the National Institute of Statistics of Argentina. The agricultural sector is the only one to fare well in this country in the midst of an economic downturn.
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Argentina is experiencing galloping inflation that exceeds 50%, not to mention that the peso has depreciated by 70% in two years. The unemployment rate, officially over 10%, is actually much higher, with more and more corporate bankruptcies. As a result of the economic crisis, poverty has been increasing in the country for the past three years. A third of the population now lives below the poverty line.