Thank Free Trade for Your Valentine’s Day Flowers

Bryan Riley /

On May 14, 2012, a plane loaded with freshly cut flowers departed Bogota, Colombia, headed for Miami. By the time it landed in Florida, the U.S.Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement had taken effect, eliminating tariffs on flowers and other Colombian imports.

The U.S.Colombia agreement shows how trade deals benefit consumers and boost the U.S. economy. Colombia exports 500 million flowers to the United States each year. After a 3-and-a-half hour flight to Miami International Airport, Colombia’s freshly cut flowers are delivered to retailers and consumers by shippers like UPS, FedEx, and DHL.

While overall prices of consumer products in the United States have been increasing, flower prices have remained level since Congress approved the U.S.Colombia trade agreement. That means Americans have more money in their pockets to spend on other products. And, by exporting their flowers to the United States, people in Colombia earn hundreds of millions of dollars they can spend on wheat, cotton, and other goods made in the USA.