Colombia Is Helping You Spread Love This Valentine’s Day

COMMENTARY Trade

Colombia Is Helping You Spread Love This Valentine’s Day

Feb 13th, 2017 1 min read

Commentary By

Tori K. Whiting

Research Associate

Kelly Cousoulis

Kelly Cousoulis is a Spring 2017 member of the Young Leader's Program at The Heritage Foundation.

Key Takeaways

Thanks to the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, Americans don’t have to pay extra taxes on Colombian-grown flowers.

In 2016, U.S. fresh-cut flower imports from Colombia were valued at $659 million, an increase of $97.1 million from 2011.

U.S. exports to Colombia are also increasing as a result of this bilateral trade agreement.

That time of year has once again arrived when the scent of fresh-cut roses is flooding stores nationwide.

But little known to most Americans, one factor is making their Valentine’s Day purchases even sweeter. Thanks to the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, Americans don’t have to pay extra taxes on Colombian-grown flowers.

When the agreement went into effect in 2012, tariffs on approximately 80 percent of all U.S. exports to Colombia were eliminated. Most remaining tariffs, and other barriers, on goods and services traded between the U.S. and Colombia will be phased out within 15 years.

After just five years, the agreement is already blossoming. In 2016, U.S. fresh-cut flower imports from Colombia were valued at $659 million, an increase of $97.1 million from 2011.

These flowers travel approximately 1,500 miles from Colombia to Miami International Airport. From there they are shipped all across the country.

Americans are obsessed with Valentine’s Day, making Colombia America’s top fresh-cut flower trading partner. Colombia supplies more than half of all fresh-cut flowers imported into the U.S. each year.

As couples take the opportunity to strengthen their relationship each February, Colombia and the United States are cultivating their own partnership.

Like with any long-lasting relationship, this partnership isn’t one-sided. U.S. exports to Colombia are also increasing as a result of this bilateral trade agreement.

For instance, in 2013, U.S. exports to Colombia surged: processed foods by 129 percent, transportation equipment by 61 percent, and petroleum and coal products by 46 percent.

Once the agreement is fully implemented, the U.S. International Trade Commission estimates that it will boost U.S. gross domestic product by $2.5 billion.

As your Valentine enjoys the sweet aroma of a fresh bouquet of flowers, be sure to thank the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement for keeping your wallet from wilting this year.

This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal