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Mon Dec 16, 2019, 06:10 PM

Leading Argentine small farmers group supports increase in export taxes

The National Agrarian Forum (FAN), whose members employ 54% of all farm labor in Argentina, issued a resolution today in support of agricultural export tax hikes announced Saturday by President Alberto Fernández.

The additional 5.3% withholding on grain and soy exports, and 4% on most other farm and seafood exports, is expected to raise an additional $2 billion in annual federal tax revenue for Argentina - currently reeling from a debt crisis inherited from the right-wing Mauricio Macri administration that left office on December 10.

"The National Agrarian Forum supports redistributive measures such as export withholdings," the FAN resolution stated, "especially in times of a Social and Food Emergency."

Consumer prices quadrupled during Macri's four-year term - causing a 23% fall in real pay and a doubling in hunger to 8.9%.

Over 2,000 small farmers went out of business amid soaring costs and interest rates.

FAN distanced themselves from larger landowners in the Argentine Rural Society (SRA)-led Mesa de Enlace roundtable - which expressed opposition to the tax hike while remaining "open to dialogue."

The new policy, according to President Fernández, "restores rates to those applied by Macri" last year - in the early months of the debt crisis.

Two agricultures

"There isn't one agriculture," the FAN recalled.

"On one hand, there is concentrated agriculture that gains through financial speculation and devaluation, which evicts rural and indigenous families, and is not concerned with the destruction of native forests or pesticide contamination."

"On the other hand, we in cooperative agriculture have been harmed by devaluation."

FAN and the Mesa de Enlace agree on segmented withholding, which would reduce withholding for smaller and less profitable farm exporters.

At: https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&tab=wT&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.biodiversidadla.org%2FNoticias%2FRetenciones-el-campo-que-si-las-apoya

Leaders of the Mesa de Enlace (Liaison Roundtable), representing larger landowners, following a meeting with Argentine Agriculture Minister Luis Basterra.

The National Agrarian Forum, representing smaller farmers - over half the total - distanced itself from the roundtable by backing higher export taxes - but has expressed the need for "segmented withholding" proportional to profitability.

"Let those who have more, pay more."

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Reply Leading Argentine small farmers group supports increase in export taxes (Original post)
sandensea Dec 16 OP
Judi Lynn Dec 16 #1
sandensea Dec 16 #2
Judi Lynn Dec 17 #3

Response to sandensea (Original post)

Mon Dec 16, 2019, 06:59 PM

1. It's about time the people of the FAN got a national, international hearing.54% shouldn't be denied.

Their experience and continuous contributions are vital, central to daily life, they should have always been treated with at least the respect shown big agricultural producers, who have had the upper hand all this time through corruption, and aggressiveness.

Will be looking for their initials in the news as time goes by, now. Hoping President Fernández will be able to respond positively and quickly to put their interests in the forefront where they belong.

Best wishes to the F.A.N.

Thank you for sharing some of their ideas, sandensea.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #1)

Mon Dec 16, 2019, 09:12 PM

2. Glad you liked it Judi.

The big Mesa de Enlace boys get most of the attention because, while they represent just 12% of farmers, they account for 80% of the harvest.

Such is the concentration of farmland in Argentina, as in most of the region.

In fairness to them though, their leadership stopped short of calling for a massive lockout, as they did in 2008. And they took the decision to maintain dialogue with the administration, rather than create conflict, despite intense pressure from right-wing politicians and media.

That, needless to say, took guts.

My impression is that they reacted prudently also because, after all, this tax hike was actually somewhat smaller than Macri's own in September 2018.

As Fernández pointed out, this merely brings export taxes back to slightly above their Sep-Dec. 2018 level (these had been eased somewhat during Macri's last months in office, to try to win back rural voters).

They know it's a similar rate. When Macri hiked export taxes last year, they accepted it as "necessary given the crisis."

So it made no sense to stage a tantrum over pretty much the same tax rate now, just because the president is from another party.

It would've been the kind of destructive childishness we so often see from the GOP here in the U.S.

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Response to sandensea (Reply #2)

Tue Dec 17, 2019, 03:18 AM

3. The right wing there sounds so much like the U.S. right wing.

Pressure is applied by both politicians and media, Clarín there, like Fox here, only with a few decades more experience and power-wielding.

What a horror story!

There's a lot of work ahead before the world is livable again.

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