North American phosphate expected to trade at a premium as U.S. clears path for Moroccan and Russian import tariffs


The U.S. government is moving ahead with countervailing tariffs on phosphate fertilizer from Morocco and Russia following a U.S. International Trade Commission ruling on March 11 which sided with American fertilizer producer Mosaic.

The ITC decision clears the path for the U.S. Department of Commerce to begin levying duties of 19.97% on imports from Moroccan producer OCP, 47.05% on phosphate from PhosAgro and EuroChem in Russia, as well as 17.2% on all other phosphate originating in Russia, for at least the next five years.

The decision will result in the North American phosphate market trading at a premium to the rest of the world, notes Josh Linville, fertilizer market analyst with StoneX Financial.

The ruling follows an eight-month investigation where Mosaic argued phosphate imports from Morocco and Russia were unfairly subsidized by their governments.

“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,” said Mosaic president and CEO Joc O’Rourke, on Thursday.

Several U.S. farm groups, including the American Soybean Association and the National Corn Growers Association, argued against the tariffs.

“We believe countervailing duties on these imports will have a negative impact on the availability of phosphate fertilizer in the United States and, in turn, adversely affect crop production and farmer livelihoods,” noted Kevin Scott, ASA president and South Dakota soybean farmer, in a statement last month.

In addition to the tariffs, phosphate prices have been driven higher by reduced production and supplies from China, the world’s largest phosphate producer.

Morocco and Russia are the world’s second and fourth largest phosphate producers, while the U.S. ranks third.

Related: U.S. Department of Commerce imposes large tariffs on Russian- and Moroccan-produced phosphate

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