US Department of Commerce to impose countervailing duties of 19,97% on imports of Moroccan phosphate fertilizers

The US Department of Commerce announced Tuesday Feb.9 its final determination that phosphate fertilizer imports from Morocco are unfairly subsidized and decided to impose countervailing duties of 19.97 percent on US imports of Moroccan phosphate fertilizers.

The OCP Group said in a press release that it acknowledges Tuesday’s final decision from the US Department of Commerce (DOC) to impose countervailing duties of 19,97% on US imports of Moroccan phosphate fertilizers.

This decision is the culmination of a process initiated by the DOC in June 2020, in response to a petition filed with the Department and the US International Trade Commission (ITC) by OCP competitor The Mosaic Company, requesting the imposition of countervailing duties against OCP of more than 70%, the release recalls.

OCP notes that the countervailing duties announced would be applied only if the US International Trade Commission (ITC), whose investigation runs in parallel with the investigation by the DOC, determines that imports of Moroccan phosphate fertilizers cause or threaten material injury to the US industry.

OCP group says it continues to believe firmly that there are no grounds for imposing countervailing duties on Moroccan fertilizer imports, and remains hopeful about the ITC’s decision, which is expected in the coming weeks.

OCP continues to cooperate with the relevant US agencies, and is deeply committed to remaining a valued and reliable partner to US farmers, the press release added.

Some deem that the DOC decision is siding with the US phosphate giant Mosaic which aims to establish a domestic monopoly. The decision could effectively make Moroccan fertilizers sold in the US more expensive, which would increase costs for local farmers.

The reason for the DOC decision is being questioned as a matter of undue influence by Mosaic’s intense lobbying efforts, commented the news outlet Morocco world News, noting that in 2020 alone, the Mosaic group spent over a quarter of a million dollars in lobbying on just one super-PAC, called “Americans for Prosperity Action.”

This dark money political action committee funds right-wing politicians, including the senators of Mosaic’s home state Florida.

It appears that Mosaic will in effect be granted a protectionist domestic monopoly for the hundreds of thousands of dollars it has spent on lobbying. If the ITC will similarly accede to the US phosphate giant’s demands, American farmers face a difficult future as their essential fertilizers will see significant price increases, the news outlet added.

Excluding the world’s largest phosphate producing country that holds over two-thirds of the world’s phosphate reserves undermines free markets. More still, it hurts American farmers –all in order to please and boost the morale of an inefficient local phosphate producer, the news outlet commented further.

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