March 6, 2003
News Release 03-024
IMPORTS CONTINUE TO DOMINATE THE U.S. CUT FLOWER MARKET
Imports continue to account for roughly two-thirds of the U.S. cut flower market due to the
strength of the dollar and U.S. income growth as increasing global exports drive prices down,
reports the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) in its publication Industry and Trade
Summary: Cut Flowers.
The ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding agency, recently released the report as part of
an ongoing series of reports on thousands of products imported into and exported from the
United States. The report addresses the market, industry, and trade conditions for cut flowers
from 1997 through 2001. Following are highlights of the report:
- Over the last two decades the U.S. market for fresh cut flowers has become increasingly
served by imports. 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. 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.
- Due to increased global supply of fresh cut flowers, especially roses, since the early
1990s, fresh cut flower import prices have fallen significantly. In the face of increasing
low-priced import competition, many U.S. growers have shifted production to specialty
cut flowers which are not imported in significant volumes and into other floriculture
crops. U.S. production of roses and certain other flowers has fallen significantly. Sales by
U.S. fresh cut flower growers, except in western states, have fallen to about one-half their
- Almost 85 percent of total U.S. imports of cut flowers in 2001 entered duty-free under
preferential trade programs. The majority of those 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 in their countries as a mechanism to employ
large numbers of semi-skilled workers and to attract U.S. dollars to their economies. The
Netherlands, Colombia, and Ecuador are the largest exporters of cut flowers in the world,
however, eastern and southern African countries such as Kenya, South Africa, and
Zimbabwe are becoming important players in the global cut flower export market.
The foregoing information is from the ITC report Industry and Trade Summary: Cut Flowers
(USITC Publication 3580, February 2003). This report will be available in the Publications
section of the ITC Internet web site at www.usitc.gov. A printed copy may be ordered by calling
202-205-1809, or by writing the Office of the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission,
500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436. Requests may be faxed to 202-205-2104.
ITC Industry and Trade Summary reports include information on product uses, U.S. and foreign
producers, and customs treatment of the products being studied; they analyze the basic factors
affecting trends in consumption, production, and trade of the commodities, as well as the factors
bearing on the competitiveness of the U.S. industry in domestic and foreign markets.
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