The U.S. Department of Commerce issued a ruling this week that has Tampa-based Mosaic company, which mines phosphate and potash in Florida, on the verge of scoring a win against foreign suppliers of phosphate. The company’s fertilizers are used extensively in farming operations. The ruling found that imports from competing mining firms in Morocco and Russia were unfairly subsidized by their respective governments, making it more difficult for Mosaic to compete.
This week’s ruling stemmed from an investigation launched last July based on petitions filed by Mosaic, but another step remains before any import duties are levied against Moroccan-based OCP and Russian producers PhosAgro and EuroChem.
The Department of Commerce has cracked down on companies that receive targeted industry-specific or company-specific financial assistance from foreign governments that directly impact the production of goods that compete against similar companies and industries in the United States.
“Mosaic, the U.S phosphate industry, and all American manufacturers who believe in free and fair trade appreciate the importance of today’s ruling,” said Mosaic President and CEO Joc O’Rourke, in a company news release. “The Commerce Department’s hard work on this case brought us one step closer to ensuring American farmers can depend on high quality, competitive American fertilizer for decades to come.”
The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) is also conducting a concurrent investigation to determine whether the Moroccan-based OCP and Russian producers PhosAgro and EuroChem phosphate fertilizer imports are negatively impacting the U.S. phosphate fertilizer industry. In 2019, the latest data available, combined imports from Morocco and Russia totaled over 2.8 million metric tons of phosphate worth more than $1 billion dollars on the U.S. market.
In November, the Department of Commerce instructed the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to collect cash deposits from importers of phosphate fertilizers from Morocco and Russia based on the preliminary findings of the investigation. But a final ruling is not expected until next month. If the ITC’s ruling is affirmative, then the Department of Commerce will issue countervailing duty orders, which will remain in place for at least five years, and require specific duties on the targeted phosphate imports, putting Mosaic on more equal footing with the foreign importers.