During the IFAJ Congress, I was very surprised to learn that Argentina has export tariffs on a number of agricultural commodities, including corn and soybeans. I understand import tariffs, but export tariffs would seem to do nothing but hurt a country’s agricultural industry.
“Argentina has export taxes on almost every product that we export, but in the case of grain the taxes are really high,” said Patricia Bergero, who is an economist with the Rosario Board of Trade (Bolsa de Comercio de Rosario). By really high, she means REALLY high, especially for soybeans, which have a 35% tariff while soybean meal and oil exports are taxed at 53%. Corn and wheat are taxed at 23 to 35%. “This kind of tax is really a burden for farmers when we are facing lower prices,” she said. No kidding!
Despite the high taxes, Patricia says Argentina exports continue to boom. “In the case of corn, depending on the market year, Argentina has 20% of the market share of the world,” she said. “In the case of soybean meal and soybean oil, definitely Argentina is a leader because they have a share of 55% of the world trade.” For soybeans as a raw product, Argentina’s market share is about 15-25%.
Patricia says the export taxes have not always been so high, just since the early 2000s and farmers would definitely like to see them lowered. Early this summer, farmers actually went on strike to protest the high taxes.
Patricia was really a wealth of information about Argentina’s agricultural industry – from exports and GMOs to the nation’s policies on renewable fuels. Listen to my conversation with her here: Interview with Patricia Bergero, Rosario Board of TradeCoverage of the 2013 IFAJ Congress is sponsored by Novus International and Dupont Pioneer