#DumpTheAntidumping: the European Commission (finally) opens an investigation on import duties on UAN fertilisers

For several months, Copa and Cogeca have been questioning the usefulness of the anti-dumping measures applied at European level on UAN fertilisers. With record prices this winter, and the situation becoming increasingly untenable at farm level, DG Trade has decided to open an investigation on the actual impact on those anti-dumping duties. Copa and Cogeca welcome this first step which could lead to the removal of anti-dumping taxes and ask the European Commission to act swiftly.

Since the beginning of 2021, nitrogen fertiliser prices have tripled. They now represent 55% of the input costs of crop farmers in Europe. In addition to this increase, the volumes offered in the off-season have been lower than usual and already distributors are not sure they will be able to meet all farmers' demands by the spring-use period in many Member States. These conditions greatly compromise the production capacities of crop farmers, who are exposed both to the volatility of the international crop market and to distortions of competition with other farmers worldwide on an excessively protected European fertiliser market.

The price of fertilisers, especially nitrogen solution (UAN), is connected to rising global fertiliser demand and gas and sea freight prices, as well as insufficient competition in the EU domestic market. What is less often understood by the public is that the customs barriers on nitrogen and anti-dumping taxes on UAN in place at EU level, have become a major obstacle for farmers and expose them to excessive prices and a real risk of supply shortages. Meanwhile European fertiliser industries, who experience both high production costs and high selling prices, continue to make excessive margins.

Reacting to the opening of the investigation by the European Commission on import barriers protecting the fertiliser sector, Tim Cullinan, Vice-President of Copa, said, "This is a first step, the Commission has decided to listen to the concerns expressed by the farming community about the overprotected fertiliser market. With UANs prices of over 750€/t, there is a clear need for rapid action as the situation remains tense in several Member States. We therefore hope that the investigation launched by the European Commission can be concluded within a timeframe that considers the critical situation on farms."

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