If the UK government fails to reach a trade deal with the EU before the withdrawal period ends on December 31st, then imported fertilisers will be subject to a 6% tariff, warns Yara UK. In addition, supplies would be slowed by additional border checks.

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“With a decision on the future trading relationship between the UK and Europe still in the balance, there remains a strong possibility that there will be a ‘no- deal’ Brexit,” says Yara UK commercial director Peter Smith. “If a ‘no-deal’ is the outcome then I am not sure that the farming community is aware that there will be a 6% import duty or tariff imposed on the majority of fertilisers that enter Great Britain.

While the tariff would not apply in Northern Ireland, as it would remain part of the EU trading area, the flow of products from GB to NI would be subject to additional paperwork required at border crossings.

“My other big concern is the impact that ‘no-deal’ would have on the flows of products entering GB and the possibility of slowing the supply chain at ports through additional customs paperwork – and potentially, a lack of customs resource full stop,” Mr Smith continues.

Coronavirus and its restrictions have already affected the operations of many businesses – added to the possibility of the supply chain not functioning less effectively and delayed ‘just in time’ buying, These factors could result in a ‘perfect storm’ that reduces the ability of the supply chain to deliver products to farm when they are required, he warns.

“We have been here before over the last few years and Yara has invested to offset any potential problems. For example, we have increased our storage facilities over the last three years to help offset delays in supply.

“However, we would encourage all farmers to consider their requirements for the spring. Where storage is available, they should plan early delivery of some, if not all, their fertiliser requirement before the turn of the year,” he concludes.