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Wednesday, August 2nd 2000 - 21:00 UTC
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Aid for farmers.

Argentine farmers will have access to cheaper fuel and lower interest rates, as well as soft loans to overcome climate calamities. The measures were announced last weekend by President Fernando De la Rúa during the official inauguration of the Palermo Agriculture Show which for over a century has been the showcase of Argentine agriculture and livestock. Mr. De la Rúa, standing next to Uruguayan president Jorge Batlle, also said that his government will enforce an aggressive world campaign to promote Argentine beef and cereals in an attempt to counter balance "American and European subsidies to farm exports". "The time of candour is over for those who attack the pillars of our economy", underlined president De la Rúa during the inauguration speech, adding that "from now on we will not favour those who discriminate Argentine produce". Admitting he shared many of the farmers concerns, Mr. De la Rúa said that gas oil price will be reduced 27% and interest rates in the Banco Nación (Development Bank) will drop from 9 to 7%. Besides farmers will have access to soft loans to insure crops against meteorological phenomena such as floods and droughts that have ravaged Argentine farmers during the last two years. And in an example of the new aggressive and reciprocity policy president De la Rúa announced that imported pork will begin paying a 35% tariff instead of the current 13%. It is estimated that the Banco Nación holds mortgages on 25% of Argentine farm land because of mounting debts.

Repsol-YPF in Brazil.

Repsol-Ypf the giant Spanish-Argentine consortium became this week the second most important oil refining company in Brazil behind Petrobras, following an agreement between both companies to exchange a billion US dollars in assets. According to the new conditions Repsol-Ypf will be refining 60.000 barrels per day, up from 4.000, and will acquire 500 gasoline stations. "Our medium term goal is to reach 20% of the Brazilian fuel distribution market, similar to what Texaco and Esso have currently", said Joao Carlos de Luca, CEO of Respsol-Ypf Brazil. Petrebras on the other hand takes control of EG3 the fourth most important Argentine refinery that

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