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BUENOS AIRES: Argentine farmers made good progress sowing corn and soy crops following recent abundant rainfall, the Buenos Aires grains exchange said on Thursday, as industry groups prepare to fight government plans to hike export taxes on their produce.

The South American nation is one of the world’s top exporters of corn, soybean oil and soy meal, but its last harvest was devastated by a historic drought.

Faced with a severe economic crisis, Argentina’s new government is looking to the sector to boost its tax take. The grains exchange said in a weekly report that soybean planting is 78.6% complete after advancing 9.5 percentage points in seven days, while corn planting has also progressed well and is now 69.9% complete.

Argentine farmers should plant some 17.3 million hectares of soybean and 7.1 million hectares of corn this season, according to the exchange’s estimates. Wheat farmers have meanwhile harvested some 70.9% of an estimated 14.7 million-metric-ton harvest, it added, noting it had not yet assessed the extent of damages from strong winds and hail that swept farmlands alongside the recent rains.

The report comes a day after the government of President Javier Milei sent a package of economic reforms to Congress, including a proposal to hike export taxes on the country’s key grain products, sparking backlash from the sector.

Argentina’s CAA agro-industrial council said it would alert lawmakers about this “erroneous decision,” arguing the measure goes against the new right-wing government’s pledges to boost employment, production and exports.

“We will seek to have the duty hike corrected and eliminated,” the council said in a statement.

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