The price of fertilisers, especially nitrogen solution (UAN), is constantly increasing in all EU countries. This situation is due to rising global fertiliser demand and gas and sea freight prices, as well as insufficient competition in the EU domestic market. However, the main cause of weak competition on the single market is the implementation by the European Commission of an anti-dumping tax in 2019 on UAN imports from the main producing countries.
The measure was implemented in 2019 following a complaint from the EU fertiliser industry for reasons which are no longer relevant. UAN prices in Europe have doubled since 2017-18, the period taken as a reference in the anti-dumping decision. Farmers now pay above 210 million euros every year for a tax that is filling EU fertiliser manufacturers’ pockets who don’t need this
extra income to generate high profits. This unnecessary barrier to imports results in low competition and product shortages that also allows EU suppliers to speculate in unprecedented proportions. Therefore, not only are prices booming but there is no product available for purchase on the market. This situation is unacceptable and Copa and Cogeca filed a suspension request in April 2021 in order to have this measure lifted. The Commission is still analysing the request.
Looking at the situation from a farm level, the European Union have been impacted greatly by the anti-dumping measure, especially as fertilisers represent a large share of European farmers’ input costs and 40% of input costs for grain producers. For users, UAN alone is making up 26% of their operating costs in Europe. The continuation of the anti-dumping measure prevents the operation of a fair and transparent market when UAN could help to overcome sustainability challenges. In fact, UAN also adapts well to precision farming tools and technologies and often allows for a better efficiency.
Copa-Cogeca is not opposed to anti-dumping measures when they are justified and correctly applied. This is not the case with UAN. Faced with this very worrying situation, farmer members of Copa-Cogeca started the hashtag #DumpTheAntidumping on social media to ask the European Commission to reopen the investigation; that is the only solution to end these anti-dumping taxes. The testimonies are personal and aim to explain the importance of this complex but vital debate for the economic balance of many farms across the EU.