President Joe Biden’s economic pressures on Russia didn’t stop the United States from reportedly setting a new record in fertilizer imports as other negotiations crumbled.
Leading up to the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine by Russia, Biden repeatedly touted his sanctions aimed at deterring aggression that was already underway. However, as restrictions were countered by Russian President Vladimir Putin who suspended fertilizer and grain exports, threatening global food supplies, reports indicated America ramped up purchasing to nearly $1 billion.
As outlined in a post on X, “In the period from January to July, the USA increased its purchase of Russian fertilizer to a record 944 million dollars, according to RIA Novosti (Russian state-owned domestic news agency) in an analysis of data from the American Statistical Service.”
“The previous maximum was recorded last year, when purchase costs in seven months reached 900 million dollars. The value of exports increased by five percent this year,” the report added. “This year, Russia took second place in the delivery of fertilizers to the United States. Canada is in first place. Saudi Arabia, Israel and Qatar are also in the top five.”
The USA imported a record amount of fertilizer from Russia
▪️ In the period from January to July, the USA increased its purchase of Russian fertilizer to a record 944 million dollars, according to RIA Novosti in an analysis of data from the American Statistical Service.
— Sprinter (@Sprinter99800) September 17, 2023
Corroborating reports were provided by fellow BRICS nation outlets that included China’s Xinhua and The New Indian Express. The latter had cited a government official who said, “Russia was compelled to sell fertilizers to India due to a lack of demand from Europe, resulting in lower prices compared to those from Morocco and Jordan. However, with Europe and America now starting to import from Russia, there is speculation that Russia may shift its preference away from India.”
The record importation by the United States preceded Russia’s backing out of a deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey on July 17.
Kremlin officials had argued that their expectations for the deal that allowed Ukrainian shipping vessels to transport grain through the Black Sea unmolested had gone unmet, as reported by the Associated Press.
Still, as of Saturday, two cargo ships arrived at the seaport of Chornomosrk in Ukraine’s southern Odesa region, making them the first to do so since Russia exited the grain deal. They are expected to transport around 20,000 tons of wheat to Asia and Africa.
At the time the deal had been signed, UN Secretary-General António Guterres had said “This is an agreement for the world. It will bring relief for developing countries on the edge of bankruptcy and the most vulnerable people on the edge of famine, and it will help stabilize global food prices.”
The United States wasn’t alone in increasing imports of Russian fertilizer as Germany’s statistical office indicated an uptick of more than three times reaching a record $151.3 million for the first half of the year compared to a roughly $45.5 million average over the previous five years.
Regarding the grain deal, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said recently that his country was prepared to re-up their commitments once their demands had been met.
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