Ag groups ask feds to stop phosphate countervailing tariffs

Agricultural groups have asked federal officials not to impose countervailing duties on phosphate fertilizers from Russia and Morocco.  

Scott Gerlt with the American Soybean Association tells Brownfield federal officials are assessing preliminary import duties, which has raised prices for farmers and dropped supplies. “Early Congress reports found that they are unfairly subsidizing their phosphates, and so deposits for these started being collected in November.”

Gerlt says the ASA, National Corn Growers Association, and the National Cotton Council submitted written comments this week asking the International Trade Commission not to lock in the countervailing duties for five years in March.  He says having tariffs on China, Russia, and Morocco, the top three phosphate exporters, will lead to high costs and shortages for American farmers. “If you take those out and look at what the rest of the world exports, it’s not enough to meet our import demand. If you compare that to 2018-19, we were importing more DAP and MAP into the U.S. than the rest of the world could supply in exports.”

Gerlt says the agriculture groups are very concerned about supply availability because of these countervailing duties. “Domestically, there aren’t many producers of phosphates. Mosaic is the largest. It filed a petition for these countervailing duties. There is very limited domestic competition and most of the world would essentially be shut out of the U.S. market.”

Gerlt says all farmers can do now is wait for the final federal decision in March and get as much phosphate as they can now.

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