Argentina grains ports hit by strikes for second day, industry officials say

By Thomson Reuters Apr 30, 2024 | 10:20 AM

By Maximilian Heath

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentina grains ports were being impacted by strike action against government reforms for a second day on Tuesday, industry officials told Reuters, hitting shipments of soy, corn and wheat from one of the world’s top grains exporting countries.

“The strikes are affecting the ports of Rosario. They are affected by the strike measures taken by SOEA and the oilseed federation,” Guillermo Wade, manager of the Chamber of Port and Maritime Activities, told Reuters.

Gustavo Idígoras, head of the CIARA-CEC chamber of grain exporters and processors, told Reuters that “there are no operations in the ports”.

Argentina’s oilseed and maritime worker unions kicked off a strike on Monday to protest a labor reform bill backed by radical libertarian President Javier Milei, which lower house lawmakers approved on Tuesday.

Argentina is one of the world’s main exporters of processed soybeans and revenue from grains exports are a major source of foreign currency needed to pay down debt and finance imports for the cash-strapped government amid a prolonged economic slide.

The SOEA oilseed union, which operates in the key farming and export hub of Rosario, said it would evaluate the outcome of the Congress vote on the reform bill ongoing in the lower house, with individual articles being voted on.

“The measure is until the session ends and then we’ll evaluate how we continue,” said Daniel Succi, secretary general of SOEA.

Milei took power in December pledging to slash public spending and stave off hyperinflation, but his reform push has faced stiff resistance from center-left opponents.

The bills up for debate include provisions to lower the threshold for salaries subject to income tax, part of a slimmed-down version of an earlier Milei-backed package.

(Reporting by Maximilian Heath; Writing by Adam Jourdan)