Fertilizer shipment from Russia heads to US as many worry about food shortages

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Signage is seen outside the United States International Trade Commission in Washington, DC, U.S., August 31, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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HOUSTON/WASHINGTON, July 22 (Reuters) – A tanker carrying liquid fertilizer from Russia is set to arrive in the United States, sources and ship tracking data showed in recent days, at a time where there are widespread concerns that fertilizer prices could lead to food shortages.

President Joe Biden’s administration did not blacklist Russian agricultural products, including fertilizers, following the invasion of Ukraine. Yet many Western banks and traders have shunned Russian supplies for fear of breaking rapidly changing rules.

Russia and Ukraine are major exporters of fertilizers, essential for maintaining high yields of corn, soybeans, rice and wheat. Farmers have reduced their use of fertilizers due to high prices and reduced the amount of land they plan to cultivate.

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Washington has sanctioned Russian crude, refined products, coal and liquefied natural gas, and imposed an April 22 deadline to cut imports.

The Liberian-flagged oil tanker Johnny Ranger was due to arrive in New Orleans on Monday with about 39,000 tons of urea-ammonium nitrate solution, a fertilizer produced by combining urea, nitric acid and ammonia, according to Refinitiv Eikon sources and data.

The ship loaded last month in St. Petersburg, according to Eikon data.

Details of the seller and buyer were not immediately available. The US Treasury Department and US Customs and Border Protection declined to comment.

A State Department spokesperson said the United States has never sanctioned food or agricultural products from Russia. “Unlike the Russian government, we have no interest in weaponizing food to create humanitarian crises at the expense of vulnerable populations.”

US non-food sanctions will remain in place until Russian President Vladimir Putin stops the war in Ukraine, the person added.

In 2021, the United States imported $262.6 million worth of ammonium nitrate and urea fertilizer from Russia, according to the Commerce Department.

This week, the U.S. International Trade Commission revoked heavy anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on ammonium nitrate and urea fertilizers from Russia in a bid to ease fertilizer shortages and price spikes. price.

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Reporting by Arathy Somasekhar and Marianna Parraga in Houston, Timothy Gardner in Washington; Editing by David Gregorio

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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