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Tuesday 10 December 2019
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EU slaps 5-year tariff on TT fertilisers

Methanol Holdings Ltd plant at Pt Lisas. The European Union has imposed a five-year tariff on fertiliser shipped by the company to Europe. FILE PHOTO
Methanol Holdings Ltd plant at Pt Lisas. The European Union has imposed a five-year tariff on fertiliser shipped by the company to Europe. FILE PHOTO

UREA ammonium nitrate (UAN) producers in TT will now have to pay a €22.24 (TT$174.14) per tonne tariff on fertiliser shipped to the European Union.

This follows a European Commission (EC) final ruling on October 8, based on a complaint by Fertilizers Europe in June last year, claiming TT, Russia and the US were dumping product, resulting in material injury to European producers.

According to the ruling, the dumping margin (the per cent difference in price sold in the importing country versus the price sold in the exporting country) for TT’s product was 55.8 per cent and the underselling margin (considered a type of predatory pricing) was 16.2 per cent. The ruling came into effect yesterday and will last for five years.

The EC said in its ruling: “In view of the conclusions reached with regard to dumping, injury, causation and union interest, definitive anti-dumping measures should be imposed in order to prevent further injury being caused to the union industry by the dumped imports of the product concerned.”

It therefore ordered a definitive anti-dumping duty on imports of mixtures of urea and ammonium nitrate in aqueous or ammoniacal solution, currently falling under CN code 3102 80 00, and originating in Russia, TT, and the US. TT received the lowest tariff imposition of the three.

Representing the case for TT was Methanol Holdings (Trinidad) Ltd (MHTL), a subsidiary of Swiss conglomerate Proman. Proman is also the parent company of some of TT’s major petrochemical producers, including Caribbean Nitrogen Co Ltd and Nitrogen 2000.

In a statement yesterday, MHTL said it was aware of the EC’s preliminary decision in July to impose the five-year tariff on the three countries, and as the sole UAN producer in the Caribbean, had been engaging the commission on the issue since it was first raised. It has also been keeping the Ministry of Trade and Industry and other stakeholders closely informed. The company said it had taken the possibility of these tariffs into account as part of its regular forecasts and contingency planning, adding that it will continue to utilise its global integrated supply chain to ensure customers’ needs are met.

“We were surprised by the European Commission’s decision to pursue these measures to protect European producers, which we have made clear throughout our discussions with the commission. Like other globally competitive UAN producers, we are disappointed by the commission’s recent findings, and are assiduously exploring all of our available options.”

The downstream petrochemical sector is a major revenue earner for TT.

According to the 2019 review of the economy, the production and export of UAN increased sharply. During the first ten months of fiscal 2019, UAN output rose by 37.1 per cent to 1,237,400 metric tonnes, from 902,500 metric tonnes in fiscal 2018. UAN exports likewise increased by 30.3 per cent, from 953,100 metric tonnes, to 1,242,000 metric tonnes.

The petrochemical manufacturing sector overall contributed $11.38 billion to GDP in 2018, or 7.3 per cent.

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