The Tax on Mother’s Day Flowers


The Tax on Mother’s Day Flowers

Apr 29, 2011 1 min read

Former Jay Van Andel Senior Policy Analyst in Trade Policy

Bryan served as an advocate for free trade through his research at The Heritage Foundation.

With Mother’s Day around the corner, you better look out. It’s going to cost more than usual to send your mom a bouquet of flowers this year.

Earlier this year, Congress allowed the Andean Trade Preference and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA) to expire. As a result:

  • U.S. flower importers face higher prices. Taxes on flowers imported from Colombia, which provides 70 percent of all cut flowers sold in the United States, are now at the highest rate in 18 years.
  • There are fewer U.S. jobs in industries that rely on imported flowers. According to Christine Boldt, executive vice president of the Association of Floral Importers of Florida:

In this economy, if prices go up, consumers will buy fewer flowers. This isn’t a product like milk where you can just pass on the cost. In the first 15 days of the ATPDEA coverage lapse in February, our businesses had to pay more than $850,000 in tariffs that no one had anticipated or budgeted for. You can’t go to the bank to borrow the money as many banks aren’t loaning money for working capital needs. We’ve already had several floral companies close their doors.

The proposed U.S.–Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement would remove almost all taxes on trade between people in the United States and Colombia, making Mother’s Day flowers more affordable in the future. But there’s an even better reason to support such trade agreements: As The Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom shows, countries with low trade barriers have higher living standards and less poverty than countries with high trade barriers. Whether someone lives in Bogota or Boston, that’s a result to be desired.

This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal