New Argentinian President Macri slashes taxes on exports

Newly elected Argentine President Mauricio Macri eliminates taxes on wheat and corn exports as well as brings tax cuts for soybean and industrial products

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Handout photo released by the Argentinian Presidency of Argentinian President Mauricio Macri (C) speaking during a meeting with farm producers in Pergamino, Buenos Aires province, Argentina on December 14, 2015

Updated Dec 16, 2015

Newly elected Argentinian President, Mauricio Macri, announced on Monday that he is cutting or eliminating export taxes on a string of agricultural products to revitalise the country’s economy.

The right-wing politician, who ended over a decade of leftist populism by winning the presidential elections in late November, eliminated taxes on wheat and corn, and also cut taxes on soybean from 35 to 30 percent.

"Today, as I promised during the campaign, I am betting on the farm sector's ability to increase production," Macri told a group of growers gathered at a farm in the town of Pergamino, in the heartland of country’s agricultural production.

"We can double Argentina's food production," he said, calling for "more corn, more beef, everything we're capable of."

The taxes on corn and wheat, 23 and 20 percent respectively, were introduced by former President Cristina Fernandez-Kirchner in 2008.

The introduction of taxes led to large scale protests and turned farmers against Kirchner and her party, playing an important part in their loss of popularity and eventual loss of power.

This was the first major step Macri took to reverse Kirchner’s economic policies, as he promised during his campaign, after his inauguration last week.

Tax cuts for Argentinian farmers are expected to decrease global food prices, as the South American country ranks third in soybean production, third in corn exports and seventh in wheat exports.

The farmers already have 17 million tonnes of soybeans, 20 million tonnes of corn and 10 million tonnes of wheat in stock, as they were expecting more favourable conditions to sell their products.

Macri also urged farmers to sell their stocks as fast as possible to help bring in foreign currency, which the economy needs urgently as the reserves are running short.

Shortly after meeting farmers, Macri also met industrialists and announced export cuts for them as well.

Argentinian President Mauricio Macri waves as he arrives for the closing of a conference organized by the Argentine Industrial Union in Buenos Aires, on December 14, 2015.

"We have to reward exporters. As of today there will be no more taxes withheld on industrial exports," Macri said in his meeting with businessman from the Argentine Industrial Union.

Argentina is an important player in export markets for automotive, steel and aluminium industries.

Marci is also expected to bring in a floating currency policy, as he pledged during his campaign to encourage exports even further.

Such a move can lead up to a 50 percent devaluation as Argentine peso is traded at less than 10 to the dollar with government imposed rates, but it is exchanged about 15 to the dollar in the black market.

TRTWorld and agencies