Alleged price rigging of Danish Christmas trees

The Christmas Tree Growers Association of Denmark, Europe’s leading exporter of Christmas trees, is being prosecuted for allegedly fixing the price of trees.

The Danish competition authority gave the association an initial warning in 2001 and a second in 2005. After a year of investigation, the charges were made this week.

According to the association, the increase in the price of Christmas trees by around 20% this year is due to a lack of trees, rather than price rigging. The popular Nordmann soft fir has risen 25% in price.

The Danish competition authority opposed the Christmas Tree Growers Association’s practice of setting wholesale price guidelines for members, which was presumably used to stop growers from undercutting each other.

Association Manager Kaj Oestergaard said: “We have been charged and I will not comment on the case until a trial begins.”

Of the approximately nine million fir trees cut down each year in Denmark, around 85% are exported.