Argentine farmers protest tax hike

Dan Grech Apr 2, 2008


Doug Krizner: There’s a food crisis growing in Argentina. Farmers there have been on strike for the last three weeks. They’re protesting higher export taxes on soybeans and sunflower seeds. Now to emphasize their point, farmers blockaded roads across the countryside.

Yesterday, Argentina’s government tried to cultivate a truce,
Subsidies were offered to smaller farmers so they wouldn’t feel the full effect of these higher taxes. That was rejected. Dan Grech has more from the Americas Desk at WLRN.

Dan Grech: Inflation in Argentina is at 20 percent.
To bring it down, the government has used price controls, energy subsidies, even manipulated the official data. Now it’s hiking export taxes on farmers. Economist Bertrand Delgado is with IDEAGlobal.

Bertrand Delgado: They are discouraged to export and increase the amount of products and food in the economy.

President Cristina Fernandez took office four months ago. Larry Birns with the Council on Hemispheric Affairs says how Fernandez responds to this crisis will set the tone for her presidency.

Larry Birns: If this show of economic might on the part of the soy plant growers is not effectively stood up to, there will be other sectors of the country that will make comparable demands.

The four biggest farm associations meet today to discuss whether to continue the blockades.

I’m Dan Grech for Marketplace.

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