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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Saturday, 19.09.2020, 16:08

Lithuania's Lifosa, Achema concerned over fertilizer market probe in Ukraine

BC, Vilnius, 16.12.2019.Print version
Lithuania's fertilizer producers – the Jonava based nitrogen fertilizer producer Achema and the Kedainiai-based phosphorus fertilizer producer Lifosa – are concerned that the ongoing fertilizer market probe in Ukraine could negatively effect their exports to this country, informed LETA/BNS.

Ramunas Miliauskas, head of Achema, says that despite the fact that the probe is still ongoing, fertilizer exports from Lithuania to Ukraine have almost stopped.

"The probe initiated by the Ukrainian government and local producers has caused major damage to EU producers and importers, frightened local importers and farmers who don't know what will be next and what measures will be taken as they have halted purchases of fertilizers from abroad completely," Miliauskas told.

In his words, Achema's fertilizer exports to Ukraine now stand at just 25% of the last year's level and the company is now selling only to regular clients.

The head of Lifosa says the company has only recently started exporting its main product, diammonium phosphate, to Ukraine as it was registered in the country only in March.

Jonas Dastikas says he doesn’t know what the outcome of the ongoing probe will be but called it "very strange".

"We don't know how this all is going to end. We have recently started selling the fertilizer (in Ukraine). We used to sell monocalcium phosphate, around 5% of the produced volume," Dastikas told.

Miliauskas believes the probe was initiated by local fertilizer producers, helped by lobbyists.

"They (Ukrainian fertilizer producers) have already reached at least their short-term goals as import volumes have shrunk, competition has been reduced and local production has gone up a bit," the Achema head said.

Linas Kieras, director of commerce at Lifosa, told that besides diammonium phosphate, his company is also exporting nitrogen-phosphorus-sulphur (NPS) fertilizer to Ukraine as they are in demands in Ukraine and Latin America.

"NPS is sold in this country and we are mostly interested because of it," Kieras told.

In his words, Lifosa started producing it earlier this year and has exported around 20,000 tons of it to Ukraine since March, with Lifosa's total exports to Ukraine standing at around 26,000 tons.

Both Achema and Lifosa acknowledge that the Ukrainian market is important for them but the two producers say they are managing risks.

The fertilizer export issue was also discussed during the meeting of Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Vilnius in late November.

Diplomatic sources say Lithuanian officials have been raising this issue during bilateral meetings with Ukrainian government officials for some time already and have also asked for the European Commission's assistance.3

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