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Argentine Congress Approves Controversial Grain Tax


Argentina's lower house of Congress has approved new grain export taxes that farmers have been protesting for months.

House members voted Saturday 128 to 122 in favor of the legislation, after many hours of debate. The bill still requires Senate approval.

The head of the Argentine Agrarian Federation, Eduardo Buzzi, vowed to resist the measure in the Senate and in the courts, if necessary.

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner had asked Congress to debate the measure, in an effort to defuse tension exemplified by the outraged farmers.

A series of farm strikes since March, when the government put the new tax system in place, has caused food shortages in Argentina and has disrupted the country's exports.

President Fernandez has defended the tax increase, saying it will be used to help the poor.

The ongoing dispute has eroded the president's popularity and has pushed Argentina's economy into its deepest crisis in years.