Fertilizer companies have been under scrutiny this week as the Court of International Trade considers an appeal of the U.S. International Trade Commission’s decision to place duties on phosphorus fertilizers from Morocco and Russia.
These developments come after the National Corn Growers Association has worked for months to eliminate tariffs on nitrogen and phosphorous fertilizer imports.
“We have been banging on the doors in Washington, sounding the alarm and telling federal officials that tariffs are hurting farmers,” said NCGA President Chris Edgington. “This week, we saw some results as a judge with the Court of International Trade began asking tough questions about the assertions made by fertilizer companies.”
The appeal came after the U.S. Department of Commerce and International Trade Commission last year ruled in favor of a petition by the U.S.-based Mosaic to impose duties on phosphorous fertilizers imported from Morocco and Russia. Mosaic had claimed that unfairly subsidized foreign companies were flooding the U.S. market with fertilizers and selling the products at extremely low prices.
On Tuesday, Judge Stephen Vaden, with the Court of International Trade, grilled ITC officials about how they determined that unfair imports of phosphate fertilizer from Morocco had injured U.S. producers.
Last year, CF Industries, another U.S.-based fertilizer company, also filed a petition with U.S. ITC asking that the commission place tariffs on certain nitrogen fertilizers imported from Russia and Trinidad and Tobago.
NCGA quickly responded with an unusually direct op-ed, taking the fertilizer companies to task and arguing that tariffs placed a severe and unnecessary burden on family farms.
Earlier this month, NCGA testified at a U.S. ITC hearing, where organization representatives made a strong case that shortages in nitrogen fertilizers are placing an undue burden on farmers and could eventually be detrimental to the global food supply.
NCGA has also called on the Biden administration and Congress to step in on the matter if fertilizer companies don’t move to withdraw their ITC petitions.
Both decisions by ITC and the Court of International Trade are expected later this summer.