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Feb. 12, 2019

Every Import Has Its Thorn: Flowers, Data, and Valentine’s Day

Rachel Barnette

Valentine’s Day is this week, the number one holiday for floral purchases. You may only think of flower delivery in terms of how they get from your local florist or supermarket to you or your loved ones. But have you ever considered just how many flowers are imported into the U.S. every year?

At Flexport, we love import/export data. So here are some of the romantic statistics behind everyone’s favorite token of amorous intentions.

2018 flower imports by the numbers:

  • A total of $1,160,081,132* worth of cut flowers and buds for bouquets (HS code 0603) were imported into the U.S. last year.

  • $693,734,285 worth of those flowers were exported from Colombia, and $943,705,325 were imported into Miami, Florida.

  • Of those flowers, 1,775,714,327 were fresh cut roses and buds (HS code 060311), imported at a total customs value of $484,011,456.

  • $298,242,678 of those roses were exported from Colombia, and $441,037,614 of those were imported into Miami, Florida.

  • February 2018 was, as you might expect, the busiest month of the year, with $92,709,909 worth of roses imported.

Roses come from the heart (of Colombia)

Colombia is renowned for its rose exports, and is responsible for the production of most of the roses that are given as Valentine’s Day gifts in the United States. Trade agreements between Colombia and the U.S. have encouraged the mass production and exports that account for roughly 62% of the U.S.’s rose imports.

The Andean Trade Preference Act granting tariff preferences was passed in 1991, encouraging legitimate businesses to flourish and provide a sustainable source of income. This act expired in 2013, but the Colombian rose industry was able to continue thriving with the U.S. - Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement that took effect in 2012. The agreement allows most Colombian goods to be imported into the U.S. duty-free.

So if you’re purchasing roses for this Valentine’s Day, remember that you have U.S. and Colombia trade relations to thank for affordable prices!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

**All data is from the U.S. Census Bureau. For a high-level overview of import data, explore Flexport.com/data. *

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