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"It is a huge market with lot of potential"

Colombian growers fear UK will cut imports in 2017

Brexit has been one of the most remarkable happenings this year. Since the UK decided to leave the EU on June 23, the consequences have been visible in many industries. According to Colombian spray- and carnation grower Mauricio Briceño, CEO of Turflor the effects in flower trading for the Colombian growers are still to come. His biggest fear is that the UK decreases its imports of flowers from Colombia in 2017.

Mauricio Briceño at the IFTF in Vijfhuizen.

Exchange rate
"We have already seen the drop of the Sterling Pound against the Euro and USD. As Colombian growers trade in USD or Euros, this devaluation means that importers based in the UK have to pay more pounds for flowers, so they have to rise prices locally in GBP (Great Britian Pound) to balance the increase in costs. So in the most probably scenario, final consumers would see an increase in prices of Colombian flowers", says Briceño. And according to him, this challenge will start in 2017. "Then, the new contracts will be issued under this new reality of exchange rate."

Terms of payment
Another challenge that Briceño is pointing out is the large market share of UK in the market of Financial Services in Europe. "Currently this share is 25%, this means a strong leadership of UK in financial services in Europe which definitely will impact the access to credits, money transfers, etc for the stakeholders involved in the flower business. The challenge here for Colombian growers is to find a way for increase sales to the UK without increasing the terms of payment. However, the timing and starting date of the process of the United Kingdom leaving EU will determine the depth and pace of final impact", he says.

UK, a large market with potential
According to Briceño, the UK is a large market with a lot of potential for the Colombian growers and therefore fears a decrease in exports to this country. "The last data available of flower exports from Colombia, for example, shows that the export volume to the UK, in the period from January to August, increased by 6.1 percent compared to the same period in 2015. This has put the UK as second destiny of Colombian flowers behind the US", he says. And also for his own company, Briceño sees a lot of potential to grow in the UK. "Currently, about 4% of our total sales go to the UK and we see a lot of potential to grow in this market."

"Globalization has been good in general terms for international trade and in particular for flower markets. Year by year growers and consumers are getting closer and even today there is a huge opportunity for expanding the size of the world flower market. The term “Aldea Global” (Global Village) is here to stay, and it is in our hands to make globalization works for a better world for everyone everyday", concludes Briceño.

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