The California Cut Flower Commission and Certified American Grown representing the American fresh cut flower industry and hundreds of workers, and farmers, are disappointed about the Trump Administration's decision to remove long-standing duties on imports of cut roses from Ecuador. As a result of the decision, they say a 6.8% duty that has helped protect the U.S. industry from large volumes of low-priced imports of Ecuadorian fresh cut roses has been eliminated.
"The U.S. industry lost scores of growers over the past 30 years due to trade policies that encouraged imports of low-priced roses from Colombia and then Ecuador, with our industry going from over a hundred to less than 20 large-scale rose producers in the U.S. today," said Dave Pruitt, CCFC's Chief Executive Officer and CAG's Administrator. "It's both surprising and disappointing that this Administration, which prides itself on protecting American agriculture and workers, would choose to put our industry at further risk. This is especially the case given the catastrophic impact the ongoing pandemic has had on American rose growers."
Starting in the 1990s, official U.S. trade policies intended to support South America's economic growth stimulated the growth of a massive export-oriented rose industry in Ecuador where none had existed. Ecuador has grown to become the second largest source of cut roses in the United States, using low prices to push American growers out of the market. The 6.8% tariff was the last remaining impediment to additional import growth.
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In March 2020, several importers and the Government of Ecuador petitioned the Administration to add fresh cut roses to the Generalized System of Preferences, thus eliminating the standard 6.8% duty covering these imports. CCFC and CAG opposed these requests.
"Our commitment to growing roses right here in America – the official flower of our country – remains unwavering and unchanged," said Erik Van Wingerden, Chief Executive Officer of Myriad Flowers International. "The decision to remove these duties is a setback to our industry, but for the sake of our businesses, our workers, and our customers, we will continue to innovate and find ways to compete."
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