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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 December 2007, 11:29 GMT
Danes accused of tree price fix
A Christmas tree
Christmas trees from Denmark are in demand
Christmas tree growers in Denmark have been charged under the country's competition laws after being accused of trying to rig prices.

The action was brought against the Danish Christmas Tree Growers' Association after the group sent out price guidelines to its members.

This was despite warnings from Denmark's competition authority, in 2001 and again in 2005, not to do so.

Prices of the country's famous Nordmann firs have risen 25% this year.

The main reason for the increase in prices is that fewer people now grow the tree - after a glut in the market about a decade ago.

Surging demand from Eastern Europe has also pushed up prices of the firs - known for their soft, long-lasting needles.

Industry figures suggest that Denmark has about 4,000 farmers producing about 10 million trees - making it an industry worth more than $250m a year.

The tree growers' association is accused by the competition office of organising meetings to urge growers not to undercut one another.

Kaj Oestergaard, the association's director, who has also been charged, said he had no comment to make.

SEE ALSO
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01 Dec 07 |  Nottinghamshire

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