Government to Lift Export Duties On Some Fertilizers

Russia announced that it will end an export duty on nitrogen and complex fertilizers while maintaining a levy on potash and phosphate fertilizers, the government said on its web site Wednesday.

It was not immediately clear when the tariffs would be removed. Normally it occurs one month after publication of a government order in the government gazette, which usually appears within days of the original announcement.

The government last year imposed an 8.5 percent export tariff on nitrogen fertilizers and fertilizers containing nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in any combination of the three, in packages not exceeding 10 kilograms.

It also applied a 5 percent tariff to exports of potassium fertilizers.

But the government said domestic fertilizer sales fell 36 percent year on year in November 2008. Exports of fertilizers also fell 16.3 percent from October to November from the same period a year earlier.

This forced producers to halt some of their production facilities, the government said in the statement.

"In the current global situation, the dropping of export tariffs should not be viewed as a measure of regulation of external trade, but as a form of direct financial support from the state to the fertilizer sector," the government said.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin lauded Vyacheslav Kantor, owner of Akron, the country's third-largest producer of nitrogen-based fertilizers, calling him "socially responsible" in an interview released Tuesday.

"The owners of this enterprise not only keep jobs in quite difficult conditions, they also develop the social sphere," Putin said in the interview, adding that he was impressed that among the Akron factory's 5,000 staff, 3,000 were involved in sports programs sponsored by the company.

(Reuters, Bloomberg)