U.S. imports of Russian, Moroccan phosphate fertilizers will face duties

The U.S. International Trade Commission has determined phosphate fertilizer imports from Morocco and Russia have “materially injured” the U.S. market. As a result of the ruling, the U.S. Department of Commerce will issue duty orders on the imports for at least five years.

Ben Pratt, senior vice president of government and public affairs with the Mosaic Company, welcomes the announcement.

“The decision means that we’re returning to fair trade in the United States and that there will be more competition in the phosphate fertilizer market, more stability, and it assures farmers that they’ll have access to American-produced phosphate for a long time to come,” he says. “That’s certainly good for farmers and American agriculture.”

Mosaic, the largest U.S. phosphate fertilizer producer, filed the petition for the U.S. to investigate the Moroccan and Russian imports eight months ago. After preliminary duties were placed on the imports, the commission announced its final decision Thursday.

Pratt tells Brownfield the decision should not impact phosphate prices.

“The market had already adapted and balanced out,” he says. “There was a price spike immediately after the petitions were filed because of the action that Russia and Morocco took to stop importing here but in the time between other phosphate fertilizer manufacturers like Mexico, Egypt and Australia have imported lots of tons in the United States and the price in the U.S. has come down relatively similar to where it is in other big markets.”

OCP Group, a company that imports fertilizers from Morocco, says the decision comes despite arguments presented that demonstrate there is no basis for the duties. OCP says it recognizes supply challenges American farmers face and is determined to serve them in the future.

The rates for imports are expected to be about 20 percent for OCP, nine percent and 47 percent for Russian producers PhosAgro and EuroChem, and 17 percent for all other Russian producers.

The USITC says a report with full details on the decision will be available April 30.

Audio: Ben Pratt

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