ATPDEA Deadline Approaching
With a June 30 deadline approaching, Congress has not yet taken steps to ensure continuation of the duty-free status for flowers coming into the United States from Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru, according to the Society of American Florists (SAF). Without congressional action, importers of record will begin paying duties on flowers from these countries on July 1, 2007.
The Andean Trade Preference and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA), the law that provides duty-free status, was extended for six months last December. Duty-free status under the ATPDEA must be renewed periodically.
Last March, a bill was introduced by Representatives Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Sander Levin (D-Mich.) to extend the ATPDEA until Sept. 30, 2009. Since then, the bill has weakened in the House Ways and Means Committee. During the last six months, efforts have been made to finalize and ratify free trade agreements (FTAs) with Colombia and Peru. The FTAs would provide permanent duty-free status on flowers from those two nations. Progress on the FTAs has been slowed by debate over environmental and labor provisions in the agreements and concern about political scandals in Colombia.