Brazil to let import taxes fall to battle inflation -source

BRASILIA, July 31 Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:52pm EDT

BRASILIA, July 31 (Reuters) - Brazil will not renew higher duties due to expire later this year on 100 imported goods, a government official told Reuters on Wednesday, in a move that aims to lower inflationary pressures stemming from a weaker local currency.

Last September, President Dilma Rousseff's government temporarily raised levies on imported products that include iron pipes, bus tires, steel bars, glass, and aluminum cables, in an effort to protect local producers.

The increase in tariffs sparked complaints from trade partners, including the United States, about growing protectionism in the commodities powerhouse.

The government plans to let the higher duties expire in two months to prevent more expensive imports from pushing up consumer prices.

"We are adopting this measure to mitigate the effects of a stronger dollar on inflation," said the official, who asked not to be named in order to speak freely.

The real has depreciated more than 11 percent versus the U.S. dollar this year, pushing up the value of imports. The real weakened to four-year lows earlier on Wednesday.

A drop in transportation and food prices helped ease inflation in the 12 months to mid-July, but the consumer price index remains near the official target ceiling of 6.5 percent.

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