Ireland calls on Commission to review EU fertiliser tariff regime

Ireland is now calling on the European Commission to review the tariff regime on fertilisers in Europe, the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has said.

Coveney told the recent Dairy Forum of the Irish 10-point plan his Department has submitted ahead of Monday’s EU Council of Minister’s meeting.

However, he said that along with the 10-point plan, he will also be asking about the fertiliser tariff regime.

“We have, in fact, added one point in the meantime in response to the IFPRI analysis on the fertiliser sector where we have called on the Commission to review the tariff regime currently in place in response to the findings of this study which I am hopeful will be delivered.”

A recent report found that existing trade barriers are costing European farmers nearly €1 billion in import duties.

The IFA-commissioned report by the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute examined competition in Europe’s fertiliser industry and alleges that fertiliser cartels and price fixing may be operable within the EU.

The report concluded that the long-term impact of the removal of all European import duties on fertilisers could result in €481m in welfare gains and more than 17,245 jobs created in the European Union.

It also says that the complete removal of all duties on fertiliser appears to be a beneficial reform for the European economy.

The report found that prices of fertilisers in Western European countries increased by 123% between 1970 and 2002, while prices in other countries like Brazil decreased by 65%.

It said the removal of import duties at the European border could result in an average decrease of 5.3% in domestic fertiliser prices in Europe.

Sinn Fein MEP Matt Carthy welcomed the report and has called on the European Commissioner for Agriculture, Phil Hogan, to take action to protect the interests of Irish Farmers on this issue.

“The price of fertiliser is an issue of great concern to Irish farmers – the price of fertiliser in western European states has increased by 123% while prices in other countries have fallen by 65%.

“The fact that the steep fall in energy prices over the last two years has not been reflected in retail fertiliser prices to farmers is an issue of huge concern and raises questions as to the impact of protectionist measures.”