IFA ups the ante in campaign to abolish tariffs on fertilisers

IFA president Joe Healy
IFA president Joe Healy
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

The campaign by the IFA and other European farm organisations against the EU's continued application of anti-dumping duties and customs tariffs in the fertiliser sector is reaching a critical phase.

The Commission will commence separate oral hearings over the coming weeks with Fertilizer Europe, and its members, and a consortium of EU farming organisations led by the IFA.

The hearings mark the latest round in a long-running campaign highlighting the lack of competitiveness in Europe's fertiliser market which has been spearheaded by the IFA.

The IFA is seeking the abolition of anti-dumping duties on ammonium nitrate and customs tariffs on non-EU fertiliser imports which it claims are helping maintain fertiliser prices at artificially high levels for European farmers.

The Commission's DG Trade division launched an investigation into fertiliser pricing in August on the basis of a dossier collated and submitted by IFA on behalf of a number of major EU farming organisations.

The IFA's detailed submission claimed that the dominance of a small number of European fertiliser manufacturers and their ability to manipulate prices in the absence of any meaningful competition meant that the EU's nitrogen market was effectively dysfunctional. In September the Commission undertook on-site visits at a number of major nitrogen manufacturing plants across the EU and the process will now move to oral hearings.

IFA president, Joe Healy, said the Commission should "immediately abolish the anti-dumping duties on ammonium nitrate given the unjustified price increases pushed through by EU manufacturers for nitrogen fertiliser over recent weeks".

Price hikes

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The IFA's John Coughlan said the EU's anti-dumping duties and customs tariffs inflated fertiliser prices across the Union and cost Irish farmers in excess of €36m each year.

Meanwhile, the IFA pointed out that major nitrogen manufacturers have forced through a series of price hikes for CAN and ammonium nitrate since the commencement of the current fertiliser marketing year in June.

"Bulk CAN commenced this season at €169/t, but prices have increased by €46/t, or 27pc, to €215/t.

"This is despite the fact that natural gas, the main input used in the manufacture of CAN and AN, increased only marginally over the intervening months," said Mr Coughlan.

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