Argentine blueberry growers want export tax cuts

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Argentine blueberry growers want export tax cuts

Blueberry growers in the Argentine province of Tucumán are struggling to cover costs, with export and VAT (value added tax) refund delays from the Federal Administration of Public Revenue (AFIP).

Tucumán blueberry producer Francisco Estrada has told while production is going well for local industry, cost pressure is 'strangling profit margins' with increases of up to 30% .

"In addition to all the uncertainties we face we are required to finance the state, with delays in the payment of export and VAT refunds, which represents 20% of our turnover," he was quoted as saying.

"That percentage is just working capital for the next campaign, but producers must wait until 10 months for these reimbursements to become effective.

"In Chile for example, there are no export duties and they return the VAT in a month, allowing the producer to never be 'barefoot. Here, instead we have to wait."

Estrada urged provincial governments to join together and complain about the situation, with calls for greater fiscal flexibility, the story reported.

Tucumán Blueberry Producers Chamber president Salvador Gallo told the newspaper the national government held the tools it could use to favor the blueberry sector, without changing exchange rates.

"Our situation is very easy to understand; the international prices of blueberries are more or less constant, while overall costs do not stop rising," he was quoted as saying.

"If you eliminate taxes on blueberries, it would give a big boost to activity, and would take a lot of labor intensity without harming the national economy."

He added the industry no longer received interest from new investors, while many farmers were selling their fields, often to the lemon industry.


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