‘Levies designed to protect member states with indigenous fertiliser industries.’
Political intervention ‘does not have widespread support.’
Sligo News File Online.
The EU is forcing up the cost of Irish farming with sweeping import tariffs and taxes on fertilisers.
Nitrogen prices have increased by up to seven times within the space of the last nine months alone, Cork Independent TD Michael Collins has told the Dail. As a result, nitrogen is around €60 per tonne more expensive than last summer.
Collins, a livestock farmer, said that currently tariffs and taxes are costing the country’s farming industry €32 million annually.
“This is making Irish commodities uncompetitive against imports from outside the EU. It is also affecting dairy farmers, who had a desperate year last year because of low milk prices, and grain farmers, many of whom are in danger of going out of business. Beef and sheep farmers are badly affected too, as are the 8,000 or so GLAS farmers who are still awaiting their payments from the Department.”
Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed said that a report published by the International Food and Policy Research Institute in 2016 “concluded that the protection afforded to EU manufacturers by the application of anti-dumping duties and customs tariffs is costing farmers up to €1 billion per annum.
“Against this background, I asked the Commission to consider a temporary suspension of customs tariffs and anti-dumping duties on fertilisers in the lead-up to the March 2016 meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council. I actively pursued this issue at Council level throughout 2016 with the Commission and in
consultation with Council colleagues. I raised the issue again at the January 2017 meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council, when I asked the Commission to address the significant overpricing of fertilisers in the EU brought about by the imposition of anti-dumping duties on imports. Commissioner Hogan acknowledged the desirability of bringing about lower prices but indicated that it was proving difficult to achieve, despite considerable efforts on his part with other member states and internally within the Commission.”
Creed said that “Commissioner Moscovici, rather than the
Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Hogan, is responsible for anti-dumping tariffs because it is a competition issue. Obviously, this issue has been raised by Commissioner Hogan at Commission level.
“I would be less than honest if I failed to acknowledge that this initiative does not have widespread support. There are member states with significant indigenous fertiliser industries that are protected by these tariffs and anti-dumping levies. That adds a cost to agriculture. Nonetheless, I am personally committed to continuing to raise this matter. I do not think it would be accurate to say this issue lends itself to an easy solution.”