Brazilian Truck Drivers Protest Fuel Tax

As reported in the Wall Street Journal and Reuters, protests against a 15-centavo-per-liter ($0.20/gallon) fuel tax hike in Brazil have entered their seventh day and are spreading across the country.

What originally started as an isolated protest in Mato Grosso, has quickly spread to six other states throughout Brazil.  Truckers are using their vehicles to block commercial cargo from transiting main highways while allowing cars and public transport to pass.

Brazil is the world’s second largest producer and exporter of soybeans, 30% of which originates in Mato Grosso.  The protests are well-timed as soy harvests near peak season.  Soy growers and other industries located further inland have halted or delayed production due to fuel and supply shortages created by the blockade.  A spokesman for the Santos port announced that the protests have not yet disrupted port activities and remain on schedule.

With no central union or organization leading the protests, negotiations with truckers has been difficult.  Transport groups met with local state representatives to present their demands, however have not been successful in reaching federal officials in the capital.

We will continue to closely monitor the situation and advise you of any important updates.