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France to cut farmers' taxes by 500 million euros

Staff writer |
France will cut social security taxes paid by farmers, a measure worth $556 million, to help ease financial pressure of persistently low dairy and meat prices, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said.

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The government has been trying to defuse weeks-long protests by farmers over depressed prices for their products, partly the result of a Russian embargo on European Union foodstuffs.

The tax cuts were flagged last week by President Francois Hollande in a televised interview where he pledged support for farmers, a sign of how serious the situation has become for the government in the EU's biggest agricultural economy.

"Livestock farmers and the livestock industry in France are going through a crisis that is unprecedented in its intensity and its duration," Valls told parliament. "The government wants to take action in relation to social charges, which is vital in view of competition farmers face from other European countries."

The tax cuts, in addition to hundreds of millions of euros in aid granted by France to livestock farmers since last summer, would benefit all farmers and take immediate effect, Valls said.

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