Moroccan fertiliser group OCP could quit U.S. if duty imposed, sources say

RABAT (Reuters) - Morocco’s OCP group could halt fertiliser sales in the United States if the U.S. Commerce Department imposes an anti-subsidy duty on its products, two senior group officials said on Friday.

The U.S. Commerce Department last week said it had opened an investigation into whether producers of phosphate fertilisers in Morocco and Russia are receiving unfair subsidies. The investigation was launched after a petition filed by Mosaic Co, a U.S.-based rival fertiliser company.

Last year, U.S. imports of phosphate fertilisers from Morocco were about $729 million, with Russia weighing in at about $299 million, the department said.

“In the unfortunate event of the imposition of a countervailing duty, OCP would be able to redirect its exports towards other markets,” one of the OCP officials said, asking not to be named.

The OCP officials said the group will challenge the petition, adding that their fertilisers do not receive any form of subsidy from the state.

OCP’s fertiliser exports hit 9 million tonnes last year, but a drop in international prices resulted in a 3% decrease in annual revenue to $5.5 billion.

Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi; Editing by David Goodman