Global trade war looms over citric acid

The European Union has slapped anti-dumping duties on citric acid from China. The duties, revealed this week, will mostly range between 39% and 49% for Chinese producers of citric acid, which is used as an ingredient for food and beverage producers. Revealed in a notice in the EU's Official Journal, the duties will last six months initially but could be extended for a longer period at a later date.

Chinese imports of citric acid jumped 37% between 2004 and 2007 and prices fell 6%, eating into the market share and profitability of the two remaining producers in the EU, said the notice.

One of those producers is ingredients supplier DSM. The company's vice-president citric acid, Bruno Mueller, told Functional Ingredients prices across Europe would now be expected to rise, but as the EU was not self-sufficient in citric acid production, imports would continue.

"Prices will go up to a fair level as determined by the provisional antidumping duties implemented by the EU," he said. "Production will very likely slightly increase and be more sustainable. Imports will continue but at a higher price level and reduced quantities."

The EU tariffs come in the wake of recent reports in America that food ingredient suppliers ADM, Tate & Lyle Americas and Cargill have filed petitions with the US department of commerce and US International Trade Commission asking that anti-dumping duties be imposed on citric acid from China and Canada.

ADM wanted the federal government to impose tariffs of 188% on Chinese citric acid and 65% on Canadian imports, according to the website

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