US rejects duties on fertilisers from Russia, Trinidad and Tobago

The aim is to ease shortages, price increases
calendar icon 19 July 2022
clock icon 3 minute read

The US International Trade Commission revoked hefty anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on urea ammonium nitrate fertilisers from Russia and Trinidad and Tobago on Monday, concluding that those imports did not hurt American producers, reported Reuters.

The panel's vote may help ease shortages and price increases for fertilisers brought on by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, both major fertiliser exporters. It also marks a rare trade reprieve for Moscow amid tightening Western sanctions and other economic pressure over the nearly five month-old Ukraine conflict.

The decision cancels recently imposed US combined anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties of up to 132.6% on Russian urea nitrate fertiliser solutions and 113.5% on such imports from Trinidad and Tobago.

The Commerce Department announced the final duty rates on 21 June as part of an investigation launched in June 2021 after a petition from CF Industries Nitrogen of Deerfield, Illinois.

"This comes as a welcome relief," National Corn Growers Association president Chris Edgington said in a statement. "We have been sounding the alarms and telling the ITC commissioners that tariffs will drive up input prices to even more unaffordable levels for farmers and cripple our supply. I am so glad they listened."

The commission said that all five commissioners voted to reject the tariffs on the non-injury finding. But, in March 2021, nearly a year before Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the panel determined that phosphate fertiliser imports from Russia and Morocco injured US producers, locking in anti-subsidy duties for five years.


In 2021, the United States imported $262.6 million worth of urea ammonium nitrate fertilizsrs from Russia and $231.1 million from Trinidad and Tobago, according to the Commerce Department. Urea ammonium nitrate is used in liquid fertilizers.

CF Industries chief executive officer Tony Will said in a statement that he was disappointed in the panel's decision after the Commerce Department found "unfair trade practices from state-subsidised entities" in Russia and Trinidad and Tobago.

"Unfortunately, this outcome will perpetuate an unlevel playing field for a domestic industry that has invested billions of dollars in the US to ensure American farmers have a reliable source of UAN fertiliser," Will said.

Had the commission found that US fertiliser producers were being injured by the imports from Russia and Trinidad and Tobago, the duties would have been locked in for five years.

There are growing warnings that sky-high prices for fertilisers are curtailing their use, reducing crop yields and potentially leading to food shortages around the world.

In the United States alone, fertilizer bills are expected to jump 12% this year, after rising 17% in 2021, according to data from the American Farm Bureau Federation and US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

US sanctions have disrupted sales of fertiliser and crops from Russia, prompting many Western banks and traders to steer clear of Russian supplies, while shipping firms are avoiding the Black Sea region due to safety concerns.

The US Treasury Department last week had sought to clarify that transactions to facilitate Russian food and fertiliser exports would not breach Washington's sanctions on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

The Russian anti-dumping duties ranged from 8.16% for Akron PAO to 23.98% for Nevinnomyssky Azot to 122.93% for KuybyshevAzot PAO.

Melanie Epp

Melanie Epp is a freelance agricultural journalist from Ontario, Canada.

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