Peru Gets Duty-Free Status
In early December, the Senate approved the U.S./Peru Free Trade Agreement (FTA), sending the measure to the president for his signature, the Society of American Florists (SAF) reported in a press release last week.
Flowers exported from Peru to the United States currently enter the United States duty-free under the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA). The ATPA has to be renewed periodically, but the President's signature on the U.S./Peru FTA grants permanent duty-free status to flowers from Peru, states the SAF.
Congress will not consider other pending agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea year.
In 2006, the United States imported an estimated $3.8 million in cut flowers from Peru, up from $2.3 million in 2001 and about the same value as in 2005. In 2006, these imports accounted for less than one percent of the $596.8 million in cut flowers imported from South America, mostly from Colombia ($448.6 million) and Ecuador ($141.4 million).
In a Dec. 4 news conference, President Bush urged approval of the Colombian measure. "If the Congress does not pass the free-trade agreement with Colombia, it will be a destabilizing moment," Bush says.
The ATPA is set to expire on Feb. 29, 2008. If a trade agreement with Colombia is not signed by then — or if the ATPA is not extended — importers of record will have to pay duties on flowers coming into the United States from Colombia.