Colombian mining group says tax bill will attract foreign investment

BOGOTA – Colombia's main mining industry group said on Monday it was optimistic a new tax bill that includes a cut to corporate taxes will help attract more foreign investment, allowing companies to boost exploration and output in the coming years.The financing law helps to guarantee the competitiveness of the industry that competes with countries like Peru and Chile for attracting investments

The bill, known as the financing law, proposes a gradual reduction in taxes on businesses to 30 percent by 2022 from the current 35 percent, as well as a new sales tax refund of 19 percent for capital goods such as machinery.

President Ivan Duque's plan to reduce taxes on businesses, while increasing them on the middle class and adding duties to basic foodstuffs has provoked strong criticism by opposition lawmakers and may get diluted as it goes through Colombia's Congress."

This law, which was a campaign promise, helps guarantee the competitiveness of the industry that competes in the region with countries like Peru and Chile for attracting investments," Santiago Angel, head of the Colombian Mining Association, told reporters in Bogota.

High taxes, legal insecurity and social protests have for years been an impediment for expansion in the mining sector, which is responsible for 33 percent of the value of country's total exports.

Colombia produces coal, nickel, gold and copper.

(By Luis Jaime Acosta and Helen Murphy; Editing by Paul Simao)