02.11.2011 0

Globalization Makes Love Cheaper

Valentines Day Flowers and Chocolate

By Rebekah Rast –

Chocolates and flowers are perfect complements to each other any day of the year, but today many see them as a requirement.

This isn’t just true in America.  People all over the world love chocolate and flowers.  These two items are in such high demand worldwide that much of the selection you see today was imported into the U.S.—giving you the opportunity to choose between myriad types of flowers and a multitude of flavorful chocolates to wow your special someone.

The Heritage Foundation found that Americans saved more than $16 million on roses last year thanks to U.S. trade policy toward Colombia.   “Under the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA), many products from Colombia are exempt from U.S. import tariffs.  Colombia is the biggest supplier of cut flowers to U.S. consumers, and the ATPA exempts Colombian roses from the 6.8 percent U.S. tariff.  This import-tax cut saved American rose buyers $16.6 million last year,” the Heritage article explained.

Without this trade agreement it’s probably safe to say that many women would be disappointed to find that they would not receive their annual bouquet due to the much higher cost of a dozen long-stemmed roses.

The story is much the same with chocolates.  The United States’ main source of cocoa beans comes from Cote d’Ivoire, which in 2009 supplied the country with $635 million worth of the beans.

Cote d’Ivoire—the Ivory Coast—is in West Africa.  The U.S. also imports cocoa from Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Brazil, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Colombia.

In 2009 alone, the U.S. was the second-highest importer of cocoa beans at a cost of $1,178,524,648.00.  It is safe to say that America likes its chocolate and the fact that about 50,000 Americans work as chocolatiers, further proves that point.

Of course trade agreements help to pass these products in high demand onto the consumer.  Furthermore, free-trade agreements, or trade agreements with limited tariffs and taxes, pass even more savings onto the consumer.

While you select the perfect box of chocolates and sniff out the best-smelling flowers today, remember that the selection you see is only possible because of trade agreements with other countries.  The importance of trade goes beyond consumer choice and savings; it provides jobs both in the U.S. and in other countries and stimulates a global marketplace.

The five to six million cocoa farmers around the world appreciate days like today.  Happy Valentine’s Day.

Rebekah Rast is a contributing editor at Americans for Limited Government (ALG) News Bureau.  You can follow her on Twitter at @RebekahRast.

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