Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Initiates Countervailing Duty Investigations of Imports of Phosphate Fertilizers from Morocco and Russia

For Immediate Release
July 17, 2020
Contact: ITA Office of Public Affairs 
Phone: 202-482-3809

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced the initiation of new countervailing duty (CVD) investigations to determine whether producers of phosphate fertilizers in Morocco and Russia are receiving unfair subsidies.

The petitions were filed by The Mosaic Company (Plymouth, Minn.).

In these CVD investigations, Commerce will determine whether Moroccan and Russian producers of phosphate fertilizers are receiving unfair government subsidies. For Morocco, there are eight alleged subsidy programs, including loan programs, tax programs, less than adequate remuneration programs, and a creditworthiness allegation related to OCP Group. For Russia, there are eight alleged subsidy programs, including less than adequate remuneration programs, tax programs, and a loan program. 

If Commerce makes affirmative findings in these investigations, and if the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) determines that unfairly subsidized U.S. imports of phosphate fertilizers from Morocco and/or Russia materially injure, or threaten material injury to, the U.S. industry, Commerce will impose duties on those imports in the amount of unfair subsidization found to exist.

The 2019 imports of phosphate fertilizers from the countries under investigation were approximately valued as follows: 

  • $729.4 million for Morocco
  • $299.4 million for Russia 

Read the fact sheet on today’s decisions.

Next Steps:
During Commerce’s investigations into whether phosphate fertilizers from Morocco and/or Russia are being unfairly subsidized, the ITC will conduct its own investigations into whether the U.S. industry and its workforce are being injured by such imports. The ITC will make its preliminary determinations by August 10. If the ITC preliminarily determines that there is a reasonable indication of material injury or threat of material injury, then Commerce’s investigations will continue, with the preliminary determinations scheduled for September 21, unless this deadline is extended.

If Commerce preliminarily determines that unfair subsidization is occurring, then it will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to start collecting cash deposits from all U.S. companies importing phosphate fertilizers from Morocco and/or Russia, as appropriate.

Final determinations by Commerce in these cases are scheduled for December 7, but this date may be extended. If Commerce finds that products are not being unfairly subsidized, or the ITC finds no injury to the U.S. industry, then the investigations will be terminated, and no duties will be applied.

The strict enforcement of U.S. trade law is a primary focus of the Trump administration. Since the beginning of the current administration, Commerce has initiated 266 new AD and CVD investigations – a 241 percent increase from the comparable period in the previous administration.

The AD and CVD laws provide American businesses and workers with an internationally accepted mechanism to seek relief from the harmful effects of unfair pricing and unfair subsidization of imports into the United States. Commerce currently maintains 529 antidumping and countervailing duty orders which provide relief to American companies and industries impacted by unfair trade.

Foreign companies that price their products in the U.S. market below the cost of production or below prices in their home markets are subject to AD duties. Foreign companies that receive financial assistance from foreign governments that benefits their production of goods, and is limited to specific enterprises or industries, or is contingent either upon export performance or upon the use of domestic goods over imported goods, are subject to CVD duties. 

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Enforcement and Compliance unit within the International Trade Administration is responsible for vigorously enforcing U.S. trade laws and does so through an impartial, transparent process that abides by international rules and is based on factual evidence provided on the record. 

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