Argentina's Supreme Court ruled as unconstitutional a Ministry of Economy resolution imposing export taxes on the overseas sale of produce from Camaronera Patagonica. Following the ruling the Patagonia shrimp company should be able to recover the levies on exports charged between March and August 2002.
The Court determined that Resolution 11/02 is invalid in the period from 5 March, 2002 (date on which it came into force) until 24 August of that same year, when it was ratified by the bill 25.645.
This implies that the Argentine State should only return the money collected during the first six months of validity of the ministerial resolution.
In the Court judges’ opinion, 'levies' are taxes and according to the Argentine Constitution, only Congress has the power to create them, informed the Judicial Information Centre.
This High Court decision could prompt other companies and producers to make similar demands regarding the export levies that have been charged to them by decree and not by law.
According to the financial newspaper Ámbito Financiero, the Argentine Central Bank (BCRA) is believed to be drafting a law to be rushed into Congress to shield the bank against a possible wave of lawsuits.
Since last week several leaders and officials have been studying what 'taxes' imposed by decrees and resolutions must be converted into law to avoid compensation demands.
In 2010, the company Camaronera Patagonica, located in the Rio Negro province town of San Antonio Oeste had 135 workers at the processing plant and another 40 in charge of unloading products on the dock plus crew members.
Earlier this year, the company announced that it was closing the doors of its fish processing plant arguing a combination of factors. The impact of the global market crisis, the sharp fall in international product prices, lack of credit (domestic and international) and the absence of labour rules adapted to the situation of the fishing industry were some of the reasons appealed for such drastic decision. (FIS).-