A decision released by the International Trade Commission upholds a 2020 opinion favoring a petition by the U.S.-based Mosaic Company to impose duties on phosphate fertilizers imported from Morocco and Russia.
The decision comes almost a week after the U.S. Department of Commerce announced it was lowering duties on these products from 19.97 percent to 7.41 percent and introduces uncertainty on the fate of tariffs as it could be used as an argument to keep tariffs on phosphate fertilizers high.
“The idea that major fertilizer conglomerates were materially injured even as they were posting substantially higher profits during the time in question sounds dubious to me,” said Minnesota farmer and National Corn Growers’ Association President Harold Wolle. “ITC’s decision flies in the face of the U.S. Court of International Trade’s request to seriously reconsider this issue and ignores the negative impact these tariffs continue to have on America’s farmers who are facing higher prices for fertilizers that are critical to the success of their crops. We will continue to make a vigorous case for eliminating or lowering these tariffs.”
The U.S. Court of International Trade will now review the remand decisions and issue a final ruling. The Department of Commerce is also set to make another decision regarding its administrative review later this year.
Commerce and the ITC originally acted on a petition by The Mosaic Company, a U.S.-based fertilizer producer, which had requested the tariffs over what it called unfair trading practices. Over the past three years, NCGA has advocated for growers who were facing record-high phosphate prices by filing an amicus brief in the case, sending letters to the White House and federal agencies, and informing members of Congress about the impact of the high prices on corn farmers.
Agricultural groups wrote to the ITC addressing the issues of imposing tariffs
“Rising prices for fertilizer inputs have strained America’s farmers and ranchers and have impacted availability for this critical component of nutrient and yield management,” the letter said. “Without predictable options to source this product, farmers struggle to plan for the future.”
The signatories noted that issues surrounding the international supply chain further complicate farmers’ ability to source phosphate. The letter further explains that the ITC originally made some inferences on the ability to re-ship products that do not indicate reality.
“Agriculture supply chains are intricate and complicated, and the premise that re-shipping product from an originally intended destination to respond to regional demand fluctuations is simply not correct,” the letter said. “Instead, reliance on this incorrect premise has led to high fertilizer costs that create volatility and compromise the ability of farmers to be successful.”
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Author: Heidi Crnkovic