U.S. CUT FLOWER MARKET STILL TRAMPLED BY IMPORTS
The U.S. International Trade Commission said imports continue to account for about two-thirds of U.S. cut flowers sold on the market today.
The agency’s study, “Industry and Trade Summary: Cut Flowers,” dates the increase in cut flower imports back two decades.
“The United States is an important market for South American growers, especially those in Colombia and Ecuador, because of strong demand and high disposable income,” the ITC said. “These and other developing country producers have a competitive advantage over U.S. growers because of their low wage rates, smaller climate control investments, and cheaper currencies.”
The ITC report also showed that about 85 percent of total U.S. cut flowers imports in 2001 entered duty-free under preferential trade programs. Most of the flower imports entered under the Andean Trade Preferences Act, which benefits Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
In addition, to Latin America, governments in Africa and Asia have encouraged the development of cut flower export industries as a way to employ large numbers of semi-skilled workers and to attract U.S. dollars to their economy, the ITC said.
Many U.S. growers, meanwhile, have shifted their production to specialty cut flowers that are not imported in significant volumes and into other floriculture crops.