EU Commission split on fertiliser anti-dumping duties
A serious spat involving two arms of the EU Commission has erupted over attempts by the fertiliser industry to have anti-dumping duties imposed on liquid urea ammonium nitrate (UAN).
Moves by Eastern European fertiliser interests to have anti-dumping duties of between 16pc and 40pc imposed on imports from the US, Russia and Trinidad and Tobago have been supported by DG Trade which is headed up by Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom.
But these efforts are opposed by DG Agri, with Commissioner Phil Hogan backing the IFA and other European farmer groups in their attempts to block the anti-dumping duties.
Liquid UAN has become increasingly popular with tillage farmers as a nitrogen source, as it is up to 20pc cheaper per kg of nitrogen than CAN. However, the set-up costs for liquid fertiliser – which involved the building of storage tanks and purchase of specialised application equipment – are expensive.
The announcement by DG Trade last summer of an investigation into the importation of UAN has already resulted in the wholesale cost of product increasing from €150-160/t to €200-210/t over the last nine months.
The imposition of anti-dumping duties could add a further €80/t to the wholesale price of UAN, the IFA has pointed out.
The IFA has spearheaded a high profile campaign at EU level to reduce the level of duties that are imposed on fertilisers.
The farmer body claims that European farmers are paying inflated prices for fertiliser because of the high tariffs on cheaper imported product.
Meanwhile, the recent fine weather saw a dramatic upturn in farmer demand for fertiliser.
An IFA survey noted that the keenest quotes for CAN are for €248/t to €255/t, with €6/t to €8/t over this price being paid for big bags of CAN plus sulphur (delivered).
These prices are €15/t down on early-March quotes.