The European Commission is being urged to suspend anti-dumping duties on imports of liquid fertiliser, urea-ammonium nitrate (UAN).

Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) president, Tim Cullinan, met with the cabinet of Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis to address the ‘crisis’ in the fertiliser sector.

He communicated the COPA request for a suspension of anti-dumping duties on UAN.

Copa (the Committee of Professional Agricultural Organisations) represents over 22 million European farmers and their family members, in a combined effort to promote the best interests of the agricultural sector among the EU institutions and other relevant stakeholders.

Fertiliser prices

According to the IFA, Irish farmers have seen the price of UAN increase by 228% since last year, with urea now quoted at €860/t.

“IFA has consistently pointed out the lack of competition in the European fertiliser market,” Cullinan said.

“This is exacerbated by the commission’s decision to apply anti-dumping measures on nitrogen fertiliser imports, further restricting the market.

“The current high natural gas prices have impacted production and availability, but just when farmers are hurting most, we read about YARA delivering improved returns reflecting higher prices in the third quarter,” he added.

European manufacturing

The farm organisation president claims that the margins earned by the European manufacturing industry in the past few years are “disproportionate” to those earned outside of Europe.

Cullinan has urged commission officials to act immediately and initiate an investigation on the UAN anti-dumping duty.

As COPA first vice-president, Cullinan pointed out that French arable farmers consumed 50% of this fertiliser.

“I welcome the offer from the commission for a public hearing on this issue with COPA,” the IFA president said.

The Directorate General (DG) for Trade representatives reportedly thanked Cullinan for providing new market data during the meeting,

Tim Cullinan said that they reassured him of the urgency with which they are treating the COPA request, but that it was a very “complex” procedure that required due diligence.