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Argentine Farmers Step Up Tax Protest, Curb Shipments

June 16, 2008
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According to Bloomberg.com, Argentine farmers intensified protests against higher export taxes, halting the flow of grains nationwide and threatening to prompt food shortages in supermarkets, after police arrested some of their leaders.

Farmers began their fourth strike in three months yesterday, withholding crops and blocking roads. The protest resumed after border police arrested 19 farm leaders, including Alfredo De Angeli, one of the most outspoken critics of the government''s tax. He was later released.

The roadblocks, reduced agricultural sales and a related strike by truck drivers may slow growth in South America''s second-biggest economy, which is still recovering from a credit default in late 2001, said Jose Luis Espert, an economist who heads the Espert & Asociados research company in Buenos Aires. The disruptions are affecting gasoline supplies as well.

Roadblocks are creating fuel shortages in some provinces, Raul Castellanos, the head of Argentina''s Confederation of Gas Stations, announced in a broadcast on television channel Todo Noticias. He said the protests may soon lead to gas shortages in Buenos Aires.
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