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Argentine Farmers Plan Week-Long Tax-Protest Strike
USAgNet - 03/23/2009

Argentine growers will halt sales of grains and livestock for a week, setting up roadblocks and hampering exports to press for lower taxes.

The protests ratchet up the farmersí battle with President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to lower export tariffs and relax trade limits.

"The farmers' situation is getting worse, not just because of the government's policies but also because of drought," Llambias said in Buenos Aires. Parts of the country have been parched by the worst drought in 50 years.

The strike may disrupt shipments of soybeans from Argentina, said Victor Lespinasse, a analyst in Chicago. Protests erupted last year against a proposed export- tax increase, a bid that failed to pass Congress in July. The South American country is the world's third-largest soybean producer after the U.S. and Brazil.

Demonstrations across the provinces of Buenos Aires and La Pampa have already begun, according to a regional farm group, known as Carbap. In a statement earlier today, the organization said it urged the country's four largest farm groups to call for the nationwide strike.

Farmers also suspended grain sales last month to protest a breakdown in talks with the government over taxes. The negotiations resumed earlier this month yet failed to resolve the conflict.

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