Lobbying by US phosphate giant Mosaic aims to build a local monopoly by putting heavy tariffs on Moroccan and Russian imports.
Rabat – US phosphate producer Mosaic has accused Russia and Morocco of dumping phosphates in order to call for heavy import tariffs. Mosaic Company filed a complaint at the US Department of Commerce, alleging that a Moroccan and Russian company purposefully dumped low-cost phosphate on the American market.
Mosaic petitioned trade regulators claiming that amid US phosphates production cuts, “low-priced imports continued their surge, capturing an ever-increasing share of the US market at the expense of the domestic industry.” The petition could lead to import duties of up to 71.5%, according to Capital Press.
The petition follows the launch of an investigation by the US International Trade Commission. It received wide criticism when it found backing from Senator Marco Rubio, who represents Florida. Rubio’s state hosts Mosaic headquarters, increasing speculation that his support comes from direct lobbying by the US company.
The US “Trade Alliance to Promote Prosperity,” an industry-group aimed at protecting American companies and workers, uncovered Mosaic’s machinations. The group states that the efforts of Mosaic, the US’ largest phosphates producer, intend to create a local monopoly.
Higher tariffs on imported phosphates would mean higher costs for US farmers and increased profits for Mosaic’s growing monopoly, according to the trade group. “Unfortunately that means farmers would have [a] higher cost of fertilizer,” stated the trade alliance’s Executive Director, Kent Kaiser.
“The impact is broad in terms of geography and in terms of the end product,” he said in an interview with Ashley Davenport of local Michigan/Indiana news channel 65.3 MNC.
The “No On Farm Tax” movement started in response to Mosaic’s petition and the Trade Commission’s investigation. It aims to stop the tariffs by presenting them as an additional tax on struggling farmers. But the threat of tariffs is also a threat to US-Moroccan relations, according to Kaiser.
“Most of the phosphate reserves in the world are in Morocco,” he said. “Our trade agreement with Morocco goes back to 1786, it’s the longest unbroken such agreement that the United States has.”
Observers expect a ruling on the matter early this week and Kaiser indicated that farmers could make an impact in favor of mutually beneficial trade by petitioning the White House directly.