Colombia’s first export to the United States under the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement will be a shipment of 4,200 boxes of flowers, Portfolio News reported Sunday.
A plane carrying the flowers will leave Bogota Monday night and arrive in Miami Tuesday May 15, when the treaty formally comes into effect.
According to the president of the Colombian Association of Flower Exporters (Asocolflores), Augusto Solano, Colombian floral exports already have preferred tariffs in the U.S. but “the entry into force of the treaty ensures the permanence of them in the most important market for the country’s flower industry.”
Approximately 80% of U.S. flower imports come from Colombia, with sales reaching $1.25 billion in 2011. Colombia exports flowers to 88 different countries although the majority (76%) go to the United States. The flower sector generates 150,000 jobs in Colombia, says Asocolflores.
Last week the Colombian Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Sergio Diaz-Granados, estimated that exports to the United States would grow six percent under the FTA, though it is unclear how much the flower industry will be effected.