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Why does getting phosphate and potash added to the U.S. list of critical minerals matter?

Currently there are no agricultural inputs on the “critical minerals” list. Phosphate and potash are primary ingredients in the fertilizer needed to grow fifty percent of our food. We are overly reliant on imports for 30 percent of our phosphate and 95 percent of our potash.


The “critical minerals” designation will prioritize our domestic production of these vital nutrients.


What would it mean if phosphate and potash were named to the U.S. list of critical minerals? 

The immediate practical effect of “critical minerals” designation is to streamline permitting for new production facilities, a process that currently can take more than a decade and requires approval of multiple regulatory agencies.

The designation will also signal the strategic importance of domestic phosphate and potash production as a safeguard against future threats, including trade disputes and supply chain disruptions. 


Why does the source of fertilizer matter?

Agriculture is a matter of food security and national security. That is why having the surety of U.S.-produced phosphate fertilizer and a diverse mix of trusted partners for imported supply is vital. American ag independence is too important to allow one or two unreliable foreign countries outsized control over essential phosphate fertilizer. 


How do duties level the playing field?

Russian and Moroccan governments subsidize fertilizer so it can be sold around the world at artificially low prices – increasing their leverage over the United States and other foreign governments. CVDs are a tariff on those imports that bring the prices closer to what they really should be. This means Russia and Morocco have to play by the same rules as other producers when they compete in the United States.


What is the current status of the CVDs?

The CVDs are in place through 2026, with possible extensions. However, Russia and Morocco are lobbying to eliminate or greatly reduce tariffs prematurely – even though their unfair trade practices haven’t stopped.  


What led the U.S. Government to enforce fair trade and impose CVDs in 2021? 

The initial determination was based on overwhelming facts and was clear and unequivocal: Russia and Morocco are engaging in unfair trade that harms American companies and workers in the agricultural sector.


Why does America need to import phosphate fertilizer from other countries?

Fair trade is about ensuring that U.S. farmers have access to diverse and competitive sources of phosphate fertilizer, allowing more countries committed to fair trade to participate in the U.S. market. The intent of the CVDs was never to meet all U.S. fertilizer needs with just domestically produced phosphate fertilizer. U.S. phosphate fertilizer production cannot supply the total market needs – but fair trade is critical to ensure a competitive, healthy, and reliable import market.


Have CVDs restored fair trade to the U.S. phosphate fertilizer market?

Yes, fair trade resulting from CVDs is working to restore competition and stability for American farmers. The number of countries exporting fertilizer into the U.S. has more than doubled since the CVDs have been in place, as suppliers who were previously forced out of the market by Russia and Morocco have returned. The increase in the number of suppliers has led to an increase in supply with a record high of more than 4 million tonnes of phosphate fertilizers imported in 2021. 


Have unfair trade practices from Russia and Morocco stopped?

While CVDs have been effective in curbing the effects of unfair trade, the underlying unfair trade practices – namely, government subsidies to Russian and Moroccan phosphate fertilizer exporters – have not changed. Effective CVD rates should remain in place as long as Russia and Morocco continue to engage in unfair trade practices.


What happens if tariffs on Russia and Morocco are eliminated and unfair trade returns?

Without fair competition and a level playing field, other producers could leave the U.S. market. Russia and Morocco would then dominate the supply, leaving American agriculture heavily dependent on just two sources of phosphate fertilizer. This concentrates too much control in the hands of unreliable foreign governments that could dictate supply and cost.  

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