Exclusive: Brazil to ease foreign land ownership with restrictions: minister

Article originally appeared in ReutersBrazil should push through a bill in the first of half of this year to ease limits on foreign purchases of agricultural land in a bid to rekindle economic growth, the agriculture minister said in an interview, adding it would be accompanied by measures to prevent speculation and ensure farms are not left idle.

The bill, which is with the president’s chief of staff and must go before Congress, is part of a broad series of reforms from oil to airlines as the new government seeks to unwind 13 years of protectionist leftist policy and reverse Brazil’s worst recession on record.

In 2010, former leftist former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva effectively banned foreigners from owning large farms. Reversing that move has been eagerly anticipated by international investors who are keen to move into one of the world’s largest agricultural markets that has continued to grow while the rest of Brazil’s economy languished.

Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi provided new details on the timing of the bill and the restrictions his ministry was seeking.

“There will be changes,” Maggi said in an interview in his office in Brasilia on Wednesday. Asked if the bill could pass in the first half of 2017, he said “it could.” …

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