Truck Drivers Protest at Brazilian Port of Santos

February 17: Brazilian truck drivers were protesting since early hours of Monday at Latin America’s largest port in Santos, demanding a reduction of ICMS tax on gasoline and diesel, the port’s management said, adding that no roadblocks were reported so far.

The move comes before President Jair Bolsonaro’s government sends to Congress a bill aiming to change the ICMS, a state-level tax, on gasoline and diesel, as recent price cuts at oil refineries by state-run oil firm Petrobras had not been reflected at the pumps.

ICMS is a tax on sales and services and applies to the movement of goods, transportation, communication services and other supplies.

The price of diesel is a sensitive issue for truck drivers, whose national strike in 2018 had a huge impact on Brazil’s economy. Bolsonaro had the support of truck drivers’ leaders in the 2018 presidential election.

There were no reports so far of potential impacts to the flow of goods such as soybeans. Santos is the No. 1 export port for Brazilian soy, corn and sugar, among other products.

Source: Reuters / Roberto Samora & Gabriela Mello

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