On 29 December 2015, the export permit system, known as the Register of Export Operations (ROEs), was eliminated for wheat and grain. The same permit system, but for beef exports, is expected to be cut from government policy soon, with a statement on the matter to follow.
The phasing out of ROEs has been preceded by a move on 17 December 2015, which saw Argentina’s newly-elected government cut taxes on a range of agriculture exports. Only soybeans and its by-products have not had export taxes eliminated – although tariffs have been slashed by five percentage points.
Reforming the country’s beleaguered agriculture industry was a key part of Mauricio Macri’s election campaign and he has wasted little time in driving through the necessary policy.
“There are no more excuses to not produce more,” said Macri shortly after assuming office. “I will sign the decree today for the end of punitive export taxes and government regulations.”
Under previous Argentinian governments, beef exports were taxed at 15%, but the removal of tariffs has been tipped by the International Meat Trade Association (IMTA) to make Argentina’s beef market more competitive by encouraging export sales.
Liz Murphy, CEO of IMTA, welcomed the news and said: “After the turbulent times in this market it looks hopeful that the removal of prohibitive export controls in Argentina will provide an incentive for cattle farmers and increase opportunities for export to the EU and internationally.”
Data from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) tips Argentinian beef exports to rise by 280,000 tonnes in dressed weight terms, its highest level in seven years.
Cattle herd size is also predicted to expand in 2016 as a result of lower slaughter rates and a higher-than-usual calf crop. By the end of the year, the USDA expects Argentina to have around 53.2m head of cattle, the highest level since 2008 when its herd count fell dramatically due to low returns and severe drought.