Miss. Senator Signs Bicameral Letter to U.S. International Trade Commission

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) recently signed a bicameral letter to the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) that encourages it to accept input from commodity groups, retailers, and farmers as it reconsiders whether the U.S. fertilizer industry is being harmed by imported fertilizer.

Despite having wide latitude to reopen the record as it considers countervailing duties on phosphate fertilizer, the ITC is currently limiting input to domestic and foreign fertilizer producers.  The issue is being reconsidered after the U.S. Court of International Trade determined the ITC erred in placing tariffs on imported phosphate.

The letter, signed by 13 Senators and House members, expressed concern that comments from farmers and agricultural retailers are not being considered by the ITC.

“We believe that the Commission is arbitrarily limiting both the information allowed to be submitted and the parties permitted to respond,” the lawmakers wrote.  “We believe additional parties, namely the farmers who need phosphate fertilizer to grow crops, the retailers who sell phosphate fertilizers, and the organizations who represent them, should be given the opportunity to respond.”

“The bottom line is that fertilizer is critical to national security and national defense.  Its affordability is also critical to the farm economy.  Any decision that has the ability to increase the cost of production for U.S. farmers and ranchers threatens our food security and national security.  This makes it preeminently important that the Commission takes a wide approach to gathering relevant information rather than a narrow one,” the lawmakers wrote. 

The letter asks the ITC to expand the recipients of an impact questionnaire beyond the U.S. fertilizer producers and U.S. phosphate importers who were invited to provide input.

The lawmakers’ letter was accompanied by a similar letter signed by multiple farm groups, including Delta Council, Mississippi Soybean Association, USA Rice, and the National Cotton Council.

The correspondence was led by U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-Kan.) and U.S. Representative Tracey Mann (R-KS-01).  In addition to Hyde-Smith, it was also signed by U.S. Senators Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), and U.S. Representatives Jake LaTurner (R-Kan.-02), John Rose (R-Tenn.-06), Greg Pence (R-Ind.-06), Julia Letlow (R-La.-05), James R. Baird (R-Ind.-04), and Jim Costa (D-CA-16).

Read the bicameral letter, as well the letter from farm groups, here.