MONTEVIDEO, April 5 Uruguay's left-of-center
government sent a bill to Congress on Friday to tax major farm
holdings, including land, machinery and herds, revamping a
previous proposal that was struck down by the Supreme Court.
President Jose Mujica, a former guerrilla fighter, aims to
discourage concentration of land ownership in the hands of a
few. His government also wants to finance infrastructure
The bill targets agricultural assets worth more than $1.6
million and would tax them at a sliding-scale rate of between
0.75 percent and 3.0 percent.
The proposal would bring in more than $60 million in revenue
a year and affect roughly 1,200 landowners, a government source
said on condition of anonymity. Governing-party lawmakers are
expected to pass the bill by July.
Agriculture and cattle-ranching are the traditional
mainstays of Uruguay's economy. But the new tax would also
affect forested lands planted to supply the burgeoning pulp
industry, which has drawn investment from companies such as
Finland's Stora Enso and Chile's Arauco, a unit of
the Copec industrial conglomerate.
In February, Uruguay's Supreme Court threw out a 2011 tax on
large land holdings, saying it was unconstitutional and
overlapped existing levies collected by local governments.
The country's farm lobby criticized the earlier tax, and
more than 100 companies from the farm sector presented
complaints against it to the judiciary.
(Reporting by Malena Castaldi, writing by Hilary Burke; Editing
by Peter Galloway)