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Farmers welcome federal ruling against tariffs on imported nitrogen

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Many farmers are celebrating today after the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled against imposing tariffs on imported nitrogen fertilizers. This will include primary suppliers, like Russia, Trinidad, and Tobago.

The National Corn Growers’ Association has been a staunch arguer against the tariffs, testifying at ITC’s public hearings and consistently raising a cry, saying, “Farmers can’t farm with their hands tied behind their backs.”

“This comes as a welcome relief,” said NGCA President Chris Edgington. “We have been sounding the alarms and telling the ITC commissioners that tariffs will increase input prices to even more unaffordable levels for farmers and cripple our supply. I am so glad they listened.”

Farmers are already facing historic high prices affecting their ability to farm. Even though the U.S. sources domestic fertilizer, they are the third-largest importer worldwide, using over 10.3 percent of the global fertilizers. 

CF Industries, one of the country’s major nitrogen producers, filed a petition in late 2021 with the ITC asking the commission to place tariffs on urea ammonium nitrate — a component of liquid fertilizers. Due to shortages and inflation, prices have already increased exponentially since then.

“The ITC’s denial of this petition sends a strong message to fertilizer giants that are looking to make even more money through tariffs: Enough is enough,” said said Theresa Sisung, Michigan Farm Bureau’s industry relations specialist.

The American Soybean Association also applauded the announcement, noting that few inputs have exhibited more price inflation than UAN, which has experienced a jarringly high price increase due in large part to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Those two countries are important crop and energy producers, as well as producers of fertilizers and fertilizer input products — including natural gas for UAN.

“We are disappointed that the International Trade Commission has determined the U.S. UAN industry has not been harmed by the unfair trade practices from state-subsidized entities underpinning UAN imports from Russia and Trinidad that were clearly established through thorough and impartial investigations by the U.S. government,” said Tony Will, president and CEO of CF Industries Holdings Inc.

The decision from ITC will take effect immediately, and for now, farmers can breathe a sigh of relief. 

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