The European Union may renew quarter-century-old trade protection on Russian ammonium nitrate, risking a backlash from EU farmers opposed to the import curbs.
The European Commission began a probe into whether to reimpose tariffs on the fertilizer from Russia for another five years. The duties, which are as high as 32.71 euros ($36) a metric ton, are meant to protect EU ammonium-nitrate producers such as Poland’s Zaklady Azotowe Pulawy SA from alleged unfair price undercutting known as dumping.
The inquiry “will determine whether the expiry of the measures would be likely to lead to a continuation or recurrence of dumping” and “a continuation or recurrence of injury to the union industry,” the commission, the 28-nation EU’s executive arm in Brussels, said on Monday in the Official Journal.
While EU anti-dumping protection against Russian ammonium nitrate has been in place since 1995, the duty rates initially were variable because they amounted to the difference between a minimum import price and any imports below that price. A fixed maximum rate of 47.07 euros a ton was set in 2002 and renewed most recently in 2014.
Last November, after a number of farmers’ associations in Europe called for the suspension of the duties, the EU lowered the maximum rate to 32.71 euros.
Russian exporters’ combined share of the EU ammonium-nitrate market was 1.5% in 2016 compared with 4.6% in 2014, the commission said last November.