Half a billion Colombian roses, carnations and violets will adorn the U.S. this Valentine’s Day, one of the most important days of the year for the countries’ flower industries.
Speaking to RCN radio, the head of the Colombian Association of Flower Exporters (ASOCOL), Augusto Solano, said, “finally we are celebrating normally. We needed this after the hardship of the winter weather and the non-renewal of the ATPDEA (Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act) by the U.S. Congress.”
On Saturday, the existing ATPDEA that allowed Colombians to export to the U.S. tariff free expired and there is uncertainty as to whether it will be renewed.
Solano stated that there is a small ray of hope the Colombia-U.S. FTA currently being debated will pass in the next six months and therefore re-install trading preferences. However, he feels that these preferences are presently being held “hostage” by members of the U.S. Congress as a negotiating tool.
Solano said that during the first five months of the year, the U.S. will comprise 60% of the market for the Colombia’s flower exports.
Colombian flower exporters have endured an especially difficult period recently, with the flooding that has devastated large parts of the country, but they have still been able to export as many flowers as in 2010.