BUENOS AIRES - Argentina said on Monday it would introduce a new optional tax regime for copper producers that could potentially lower export duties in an effort to jumpstart national production.
The measure, announced by Economy Minister Martin Guzman at a mining forum, follows conversations with provinces and companies involved in the sector, the ministry said in a statement.
"The measure is voluntary and incorporates progressivism and flexibility into the mining tax regime, providing greater certainty to investors," the ministry said.
The regime will permit the substitution of the current 4.5% export duty for new copper investments by a variable rate with a range between 0% and 8% based on the copper price, the ministry said. It did not give further details.
Argentina's neighbors Chile and Peru are much larger copper producers and exporters.
"Argentina has a high potential to produce and export copper, there are several projects in advanced stages that will place our country again as one of the leading producers in the world," the ministry said.
Latin America's third-largest economy is trying to cut its fiscal deficit and replenish depleted foreign currency reserves by boosting exports.
Argentina already has a variable rate for export duties for hydrocarbons, based on international oil prices.