New tariff hike on Moroccan phosphate worries US farmers

May 08, 2024


The US Commerce Department announced an increase in tariffs on phosphate fertilizers from Morocco, raising the rate from 2.12% to 14.21%, a move that contrasts with a simultaneous reduction in tariffs for Russian fertilizers. This adjustment comes as the US seeks to foster a competitive marketplace while addressing domestic agricultural challenges.

Farm organizations have expressed significant concerns over this decision. With agricultural market conditions already unfavorable, and the cost of inputs like fertilizers high, this tariff hike is seen as a potential burden that could exacerbate financial pressures on farmers. This comes at a time when farm revenues are already squeezed by falling crop prices.

The tariff changes, set to be implemented in November and applied retroactively to last year's imports, are a response to a petition from Mosaic, a leading US fertilizer producer. The company has argued that the tariff is crucial for combating unfair competitive advantages gained through foreign subsidies.

This policy has faced criticism from international exporters like OCP, Morocco’s largest phosphate exporter, which has halted its US shipments in response to previous tariff increases. OCP disputes the Commerce Department’s methodology and is appealing against the latest tariff decision.

As the situation unfolds, the impact on the agricultural sector, trade relationships, and the broader economy continues to be a topic of debate. The outcome of these tariff changes will likely influence the cost of agricultural production and the strategic decisions of farmers and exporters alike.

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