Ballance Agri-Nutrients has for several years been importing phosphates from the Moroccan state phosphate company OCP. But the trade has been violating international law, since the phosphates are not originating from Morocco, but from a territory which Morocco has been illegally occupying since 1975, namely Western Sahara. The UN states that such industries cannot take place as long as the people of Western Sahara is against it.
For years, Western Sahara has been observing that Ballance Agri-Nutrients imports phosphates from occupied Western Sahara. In their 2007 annual report, Ballance admits that they have a long term delivery contract with OCP. The report does not mention that the phosphate imported from "Morocco" is actually not from Morocco, but from Western Sahara.
The agreement was signed in 1999. This is from the 2007 annual report:
"It is a similar story in the phosphate market, which is facing strong demand for its products, according to OCP, the state-owned company responsible for producing and marketing all of Morocco’s phosphorite resources. OCP Sales Director Oceania/Southeast Asia, Najib Moutia, says that increased requirements for fertilisers around the world will contribute to a sustained growth in demand for phosphate products. “Furthermore, there are no significant new capacity projects planned within the next two to three years, until the commissioning of major mining projects in Saudia Arabia and Peru in several years’ time,” explains Mr Moutia.
Mr Moutia says that since the mid-1980s when the two companies started trading, each year the relationship has grown stronger, resulting in a long-term contract being signed by both parties in 1999 for OCP to supply phosphate rock to Ballance. “This security of phosphate products enables Ballance to ensure the ongoing local production of superten for New Zealand farmers,” says Mr Moutia. “We are extremely proud of this relationship, which has made two geographically distant countries so close.”"
Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
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