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Monday 10 December 2018

EU faces new pressure to end duties on Russian fertilisers

Sarah Collins

Pressure is growing on EU trade officials to end long-running anti-dumping duties on Russian ammonium nitrate fertilisers.

Irish farmers and diplomats have long been lobbying the EU to end the measures, in place since 1994.

The bloc says Russian companies had been flogging exports at lower prices than at home, and renewed the duties in 2014. They come up for review in November.

EU sources say it is no longer just an “Irish issue”, while news magazine Politico reported this week that farmers’ unions across the bloc are supporting the call.

But some EU commissioners and many big producers — such as the UK’s Grow How, global agri-giant Yara and Poland’s Grupa Azoty Zakłady Azotowe — fear ending the duties would allow Russian companies to undercut them again.

Fertiliser is the second-largest expenditure on Irish farms, with prices rising at twice the rate of other farm costs, according to the IFA.

New EU limits on cadmium in fertiliser imports could further raise costs for farmers, as the only country where cadmium levels in soil naturally respect the limit is Russia.

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