Cargill Inc. is among grain exporters that owe the Argentine government $951 million in taxes and won't be eligible for a reduced interest rate under a payment plan introduced by the government Monday.
Argentina will reduce monthly interest charges to 1.35 percent from 2 percent for some unpaid taxes that were due Feb. 28. "Grain exporters have been excluded as they were disingenuous and therefore don't deserve a plan to regularize their situation," Ricardo Echegaray, head of Argentina's Federal Administration of Public Revenue, known as AFIP, said Monday at a news conference in Buenos Aires.
The nation is seeking full repayment with interest of $228 million from Cargill.
A spokesman for Minnetonka-based Cargill, Tim Loesch, said in a statement: "Cargill pays all taxes that are required under the law."
The other companies being sought for tax payments are: Bunge Ltd. ($126.3 million), Molinos Rio de la Plata SA ($197 million), Louis Dreyfus Corp. ($141 million), Nidera SA ($132 million), Vicentin SAIC ($62 million), Aceitera General Deheza SA ($48 million) and Oleaginosa Moreno Hermanos Sacifia ($17 million).
Andres Alcaraz, a spokesman for Camara de la Industria Aceitera de la Republica Argentina, the nation's association of grains exporters, declined to comment on Echegaray's statement.
The second-largest South American economy boosted federal tax collection to 31.8 percent last year from 16.5 percent of gross domestic product in 2002, according to the Buenos Aires-based Center for the Implementation of Public Policies Promoting Equity and Growth.