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Argentina's economy minister steps down

  • Story Highlights
  • Martin Lousteau is first of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's team to resign
  • The country's news agency didn't disclose a reason for the resignation
  • Lousteau's departure comes after a crippling three-strike by farmers
  • Public financing specialist Carlos Fernandez will replace Lousteau
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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (CNN) -- Argentina's economy minister has resigned in the wake of a crippling farmers' strike that emptied store shelves and cut exports, the country's news agency reported.

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Martin Lousteau, center, resigns 4 months into President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's administration.

Martin Lousteau's departure comes 4 months into the administration of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. He is the first senior member of the new president's team to step down.

Lousteau presented his resignation Thursday afternoon, according to the Telam, the National News Agency of Argentina. Carlos Fernandez, who specializes in public financing, will replace him, the agency said.

The agency report didn't disclose a reason for Lousteau's resignation.

Farmers in Argentina went on strike last month to protest a 44 percent export tax on products such as soybeans and sunflowers. They suspended the strike earlier this month after three weeks.

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During the nationwide protest at hundreds of locations, the farmers and their supporters blocked more than 400 roads. They were demanding the government repeal the tax, which was implemented March 11.

The bitter lockout left grocery shelves empty and led to major friction between the new government and the country's large agricultural sector E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Carolina Cayazzo contributed to this report.

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