US lawmakers call for lower duties on imports of phosphate fertilizer from Morocco

Detasseling Corn in Central Illinois

A group of 39 US lawmakers have called on the Department of Commerce to lower its countervailing duties on imports of phosphate fertilizers from Morocco.

In a letter published on October 24, they argued that a reduction in the import duties – which currently stand at 19.97% – would provide ‘welcome relief’ for farm suppliers and farms.

The US International Trade Commission (ITC) first imposed the tariffs in 2021 after investigating a complaint from Florida-based Mosaic.

The ITC determined at the time that the Moroccan phosphate-fertilizer producer OCP had been receiving unfair state subsidies, and that the resultant cheap imports from the kingdom – which controls the world’s largest reserves of phosphate rock – were proving injurious to US industry.

Wednesday’s letter, which secured bipartisan support, said, however, that since the duties were instituted, American farmers have been struggling to procure enough phosphate fertilizer – and that this has contributed to upward pricing pressure.

Its authors stated that this year the US needs to import 2.7 million tonnes in order to meet its estimated demand of 7.4 million tonnes.

They added that diammonium phosphate prices in the US have been 11% higher than in Brazil and 8% higher than in India. This, they said, has left American farmers at a competitive disadvantage.

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