Americans saved more than $16 million on roses last year thanks to U.S. trade policy toward Colombia.
Under the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA), many products from Colombia are exempt from U.S. import tariffs. Colombia is the biggest supplier of cut flowers to U.S. consumers, and the ATPA exempts Colombian roses from the 6.8 percent U.S. tariff. This import-tax cut saved American rose buyers $16.6 million last year.
The current ATPA requires periodic reauthorization by Congress. This introduces an element of political uncertainty that hurts both Colombia and the United States.
U.S. interests would be better served by implementing the proposed U.S.–Colombia Free Trade Agreement. This mutually beneficial trade pact would permanently remove most major government-imposed barriers to trade between people living in these two countries.
The U.S.–Colombia Free Trade Agreement would boost President Obama’s goal of doubling U.S. exports. In recent years Colombia has signed free trade agreements with Canada and the European Union, giving exporters in those countries an advantage over their U.S. competitors.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, with Mother’s Day not far behind, it is a good time to consider the benefits of the proposed U.S.–Colombia Free Trade Agreement not just for U.S. flower buyers but for the Colombian workforce and U.S. exporters as well.