ITC Completes Investigation Into Phosphate Fertilizer Imports

The United States International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled on Thursday in a 4-1 vote that subsidies associated with the importation of phosphate fertilizers from Morocco and Russia are injuring the United States industry, and announced that the U.S. Department of Commerce “will issue countervailing duty orders on imports of phosphate fertilizers from Morocco and Russia.” 

According to the ITC press release, phosphate fertilizers are applied to about 300 million acres of farming land in the United States. The “essential” phosphorus plant nutrient is mined from phosphate ores and used to create fertilizer compounds. There are three producers in the United States, and the fertilizer is also imported into the country from Morocco, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. 

Last August, the ITC announced that it would continue its investigation and said that it had “determined that there is a reasonable indication” that the United States’ industry was being harmed by the tariffs. In its accompanying publication, the ITC noted that The Mosaic Company filed petitions on June 26, 2020 alleging that it had been injured because of the subsidies given to imports of phosphate fertilizers. 

According to the publication, phosphate fertilizers manufactured in the United States and in foreign countries are generally distributed in the same channels. Mosaic said in a press release on Thursday that this decision will help make the American fertilizer industry more competitive. 

“Mosaic employees are proud to support American farmers by producing high quality, reliable fertilizer,” said Mosaic President and CEO Joc O’Rourke in the press release. “Today’s decision upholds our belief that fair trade is a cornerstone of a healthy U.S. economy, and that American farmers will benefit from having a more competitive American fertilizer industry.”

Mosaic reported that the Department of Commerce will levy duties of 20% for OCP, a Moroccan producer. Russian producers will have duties of 17% except for PhosAgro which will be 9% and EuroChem at 47%. These increased duties will remain for at least five years. 

A report on the matter with more details will be available on the ITC website by April 13, 2021.