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Financial News: (UPDATE) BRAZIL: Government, Truck Drivers Reach A Deal,

(UPDATE) BRAZIL: Government, Truck Drivers Reach A Deal, But Strike Continues

05/25/2018 - 20:24:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - The Brazilian government has reached an agreement Thursday night with truck drivers to suspend their strike for 15 days. The deal should buy some time for politicians to find a way to cut fuel prices, but part of the drivers rejected the proposal, and president Michel Temer ordered national security forces to clear all of the roads that are currently blocked by the truckers.

In a speech, Temer said that the Brazilian government would not allow the shortage of goods. "Those blocking the roads are hurting the population and will be held accountable. Lots of them [truck drivers] are doing their part, but a radical minority is blocking roads and preventing many drivers from doing their jobs."

Truck drivers stopped working on Monday to protest against high fuel prices and since then several regions in Brazil stopped receiving goods like food and gasoline. In large cities, like S?o Paulo, there is no more gasoline or ethanol in pumping stations.

Twelve airports in Brazil also face fuel shortages and another seven airports - including Congonhas, one of the busiest air hubs in the country - are expected to run out of fuel later today, according to Infraero, the state-owned company that manages the airport infrastructure in Brazil.

During a press conference last night, ministers Eduardo Guardia, Eliseu Padilha and Carlos Marun announced that, in exchange for the truce with drivers, Petrobras would maintain the 10% price cut to diesel oil for 30 days. The oil company will bear the costs of the measure for 15 days, while the government will cover the expenses of the remaining period.

The government will also discuss with Congress diesel oil exemptions from PIS/Cofins, the primary federal tax on fuel, and CIDE-Fuels, another federal tax of lesser importance.

Guardia said that it is also negotiating with state governments to reduce ICMS, a regional tax on diesel, and a potential exemption from toll collection on highways for empty trucks.

The minister said during the press conference that the Brazilian government does not interfere with Petrobras' pricing policy and that it will work for predictability in diesel prices by the end of this year, subsidizing the difference between the prices set by Petrobras and those established by the government.

Of the 11 transport sector entities that took part in the meeting, the Brazilian Association of Truck Drivers (Abcam), which represents 700,000 truck drivers, and the National Union of Truck Drivers (Unicam) have rejected the proposal and said they would remain on strike.

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