The US government is quietly encouraging agricultural and shipping companies to buy and carry more Russian fertilizer, according to people familiar with the efforts, as sanctions fears have led to a sharp drop in supplies, fueling spiraling global food costs, writes Bloomberg.
“The effort is part of complex and difficult negotiations underway involving the United Nations to boost deliveries of fertilizer, grain and other farm products from Russia and Ukraine that have been disrupted by President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of his southern neighbor.
US and European officials have accused the Kremlin of using food as a weapon, preventing Ukraine from exporting. Russia denies that even as it has attacked key ports, blaming the shipment disruptions on sanctions imposed by the US and its allies over the invasion.
The EU and the US have built exemptions into their restrictions on doing business with Russia to allow trade in fertilizer, of which Moscow is a key global supplier. But many shippers, banks and insurers have been staying away from the trade out of fear they could inadvertently fall afoul of the rules. Russian fertilizer exports are down 24% this year. US officials, surprised by the extent of the caution, are in the seemingly paradoxical position of looking for ways to boost them”, - writes the author.