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Argentine Farmers to Launch New Strike

Argentine farmers say they will start a new strike this Friday over the government's agriculture policy, renewing a bitter conflict with the administration of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

The farmers say the protest will last for six days and that grain and beef exports will be disrupted during that time. The farmers say the government has failed to respond to their demands, which include calls for lower export taxes. They also are voicing concerns about rising costs linked to oil prices and falling commodity prices.

Argentine Agriculture Secretary Carlos Cheppi has urged the farmers to call off the strike, saying the government wants to continue negotiations with them. Argentina is one of the world's top suppliers of soybeans, corn, wheat and beef.

The farmers held a series of strikes earlier this year to protest the government's decision to increase export taxes on soybeans and other grains. In July, the Argentine Senate narrowly rejected the controversial tax increase that sparked a deep political crisis.

President Fernandez had defended the increase, saying the money would have been used to help the poor. The conflict caused President Fernandez's popularity to plunge.