Argentina approves law to curb foreign land ownership
Argentine politicians have approved a law restricting the amount of productive agricultural land foreigners can buy in a move to protect ownership from large financial institutions.
The Chamber of Deputies voted 153 in favour and 26 against the new bill which sets a cap of 1,000 hectares in key areas of the country and that no more than 15% of Argentina can be owned by foreigners.
The legislation will go to the Senate later this week where president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's Justicialist Party have a majority.
Chamber of Deputies general law committee head Luis Cigogna, denied the iniative was xenophobic but said it seeked to reserve strategic and non-renewable land for Argentines.
The bill was one of the laws the president asked Congress to pass in her swearing in speech last week.
The new law makes an exception for foreigners who have married Argentines or have lived in the country as permanent residents for more than 10 years.
Americans Douglas Tompkins and Ted Turner, Britain's Joe Lewis, owner of the Hard Rock Café, and Benetton Italian brothers are among large foreign land owners in the country.
The initiative was inspired by existing laws in Brazil, Canada, U.S., France and Italy that have strong restrictions on land acquisition by foreigners.
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