Russian state media and some Ukrainian publications disseminated a story last week claiming that the World Trade Organization has obliged Ukraine to buy ammonium nitrate fertilizer from Russia until September 15 of 2020. The articles cite Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development, which announced that a WTO arbiter had ruled that Ukraine must carry out a ruling concerning anti-dumping measures regarding Russian fertilizer.
However the Russian ministry statement says absolutely nothing about Ukraine having to buy ammonium nitrate from Russia, Russian and Ukrainian media simply made up this dubious claim.
Ukrainian-Russian court proceedings regarding the price of fertilizer have been dragging on since 2015, when Russia filed a complaint against Ukraine because after the start of Russia’s war against Ukraine, Kyiv raised the customs duty on Russian fertilizer. In 2018 Ukraine raised the duty once more. Ukraine believes that Russia is dumping its production on Ukraine’s fertilizer market by setting prices that are too low.
Russia was not pleased with the higher customs duty and on 7 May 2015, requested consultations with Ukraine regarding the anti-dumping measures Kyiv had, claiming Ukraine’s decision was inconsistent with various WTO anti-dumping tenets. The case with all its appeals dragged on for five years. Russia’s main complaint was that Ukraine levied additional duties against Russia’s largest chemical company Eurochim. In 2017 Ukraine enacted sanctions against the company having determined that it was doing business with the occupied territories in eastern Ukraine, thereby financing the Russian separatists in the Donbas. Ukraine’s actions bore fruit and in 2018 Eurochim left the Ukrainian market altogether.
Meanwhile the WTO continued to examine Russia’s complaint against Ukraine and in 2018 ruled that Ukraine’s steps had weakened Russia’s fertilizer manufacturers and Ukraine had to abide by existing anti-dumping agreements. Ukraine appealed the decision but the WTO stood by its ruling. Russia insisted that Ukraine is obliged to immediately remove all duties that had been imposed against Eurochim, but WTO arbiters did not agree with Russia’s demand and ruled that Ukraine has until September 15, 2020 to comply with existing WTO anti-dumping rules.
Now Ukraine must deal with the tariffs for Russian fertilizer and reduce the duty on them by September.
In May 2019 the Ukrainian government imposed an embargo on fertilizers and other Russian made goods. These restrictions are valid until December 31, 2020.