A Return to Fair Trade: What to Expect

The petition to enforce fair trade on Russian and Moroccan phosphate imports was brought to the U.S. government in 2020. In February and March 2021, the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission confirmed the facts that prompted the petition: Russia and Morocco are subsidizing their phosphate producers and artificially driving down prices so others can’t compete.

 

The decisions mean a return to fair trade, more competition, more stability and the assurance of American-produced phosphate. They also help protect American farmers against being dependent on foreign governments that could dictate cost and supply of essential crop nutrients. A return to fair trade is good for farmers and good for American agriculture.

 

What do the decisions mean for you? Below you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the decisions and their implications.

What do these decisions mean for the U.S. phosphate market?

The decisions mean a return to fair trade and a healthy competitive market that will benefit farmers. It will allow more producers to compete in the U.S. market, and give farmers the certainty and confidence of having American-produced fertilizer.

What can farmers expect to see as a result of these decision?

Farmers should not expect to see a significant change in the market. The market already has adapted and balanced out as other producers came back into the U.S. when Morocco and Russia decided to stop imports last summer. 

How will the decisions impact U.S. phosphate supply?

Fair competition means more suppliers—including suppliers based in the U.S.—can compete in the U.S. Already, more suppliers are returning to the U.S. market and farmers should be reassured that competition is coming back into the U.S. market to bring the supply of phosphate they need.

What effect will the decisions have on prices in the U.S.?

Prices are driven by worldwide supply and demand and prices are balancing out as trade flows adjust. Global phosphate prices are already stabilizing and phosphate prices in the U.S. are now close to prices in other key markets, demonstrating the economic efficiency of the global market.

What do the decisions mean for other global suppliers?

Other suppliers from around the world who had previously been priced out of the U.S. market are now returning. This means more options for farmers and a healthy marketplace of trusted suppliers.

Will Russian and Moroccan phosphate still be available in the U.S.?

The U.S. market remains open to suppliers from Russia and Morocco. They can compete but will have to do so fairly, without the benefit of subsidies that allowed them to sell at artificially low prices and squeeze others out of the market.

How long are the decisions in place?

The countervailing duty orders will be in place for at least five years with duty rates potentially reviewed annually.