IFA welcomes Hogan’s fertiliser dispute intervention

The intervention by the EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, in the escalating fertiliser dispute has been welcomed by the president of a farm lobby group.

President of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) Joe Healy outlined that the fiasco “has seen the recent imposition of temporary anti-dumping duties on certain non-EU urea-ammonium nitrate (UAN) fertiliser imports by the directorate-general for trade”.

Continuing, Healy said: “Commissioner Hogan’s request of Competition Commissioner [Margrethe] Vestager to take swift action to ensure the proper functioning of the EU’s internal fertiliser market, in light of questionable business practices with respect to competition rules, represents a key turning point in this case.

Anti-dumping duties and customs tariffs imposed by the EU Commission on certain non-EU fertiliser imports were costing farmers €1 billion per annum.

“Commissioner Hogan’s assessment of the malfunctioning of the EU’s fertiliser market mirrors many of the conclusions raised in the IFA-commissioned study into the sector, carried out by the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

“Indeed, he rightly points to the need for price transparency and the operation of fair pricing mechanisms to create a properly functioning market.”

An anti-dumping duty is a tariff that a government imposes on imports that it believes are priced below what it believes is a fair market value.

Concluding, Healy said: “[Trade Commissioner] Cecilia Malmström and [Commissioner] Vestager must pay heed to [Commissioner] Hogan’s request as it is in the EU’s interest to ensure that we maintain the competitiveness of the EU’s farming sector and support family farm incomes.”