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Argentine Farmers to End Grain Tax Strike, Open Talks


Farmers in Argentina are expected to begin exporting grain again Monday, after pledging to end a nearly three-month-long strike that has shaken the country's economy.

Leaders of Argentina's farm groups are expected to meet today with a national ombudsman who has offered to broker talks on controversial new taxes on soy and other grains.

The government has not yet agreed to join the discussion, however, and some farmers who are not unionized say they might continue striking until the state opens negotiations.

Several previous attempts at dialogue have failed.

Argentina's farm groups agreed to stop striking Sunday, days after grain truck drivers blocked major roads, disrupting traffic and threatening renewed food shortages.

The strike has seriously damaged the popularity of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who says the taxes would help the poor.

The president says the taxes would help Argentina's consumers combat rising food prices by keeping grains inside the country, where they could be sold for affordable prices.

She has proposed concessions such as subsidizing the cost of shipping grain, but farmers have rejected the offer.

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