Republicans call on Biden to revoke international duties on fertilizer imports
Republican lawmakers published a letter to President Biden on Thursday urging his administration to waive international import duties on fertilizer.
“We request that you invoke your authority to waive duties on fertilizer imports that your administration imposed,” the bicameral lawmakers, led by Senator Bill Hagerty (Tenn.), wrote in the letter.
The senators specifically referenced the administration’s duties on phosphate fertilizer from Morocco, as well as requesting that the administration place a moratorium on new duties out of Trinidad and Tobago.
“At a time when inflation is the highest in 41 years—along with record fertilizer prices—the Biden Admin imposed duties on UAN fertilizer from long-time supplier Trinidad & Tobago,” Hagerty wrote, referring to urea ammonium nitrate (UAN) fertilizer.
Hagerty was joined in his letter by six fellow senators and 25 members of the House.
The lawmakers lamented the shortage of fertilizers and high fertilizer prices, arguing that the Biden administration’s duty decisions are exacerbating these issues.
“Coupled with inflation at the highest it has been in 41 years and a Consumer Price Index for food up 14.6%, the rising cost of fertilizer will increase food insecurity and geopolitical tension domestically and abroad,” they wrote.
Hagerty, joined by 18 other senators, wrote a letter in March calling on the Biden administration to respond to record-high fertilizer prices, partly due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine weeks earlier.
“We are therefore urging your administration to review all available options to lower the cost of fertilizer,” the senators wrote at the time, suggesting that the administration eliminate the cross-border vaccine mandate for transporters of essential commerce, add agricultural minerals to the Department of the Interior’s List of Critical Minerals and take several other actions.
According to Thursday’s letter, 65 percent of imported UAN was from Trinidad and Tobago before the Department of Commerce’s restrictions were put in place.
Fifteen percent of imported phosphate came from Morocco before the restrictions were imposed, the letter said.
“Farmers still significantly rely on imports to fully meet demand,” wrote the lawmakers, calling the fertilizer products “building blocks to U.S. agricultural productivity.”
“The bottom line is that fertilizer is critical to national security and national defense,” the lawmakers added. “As such, we strongly encourage you to take immediate action to waive duties on fertilizer imports from Morocco and Trinidad and Tobago.”