Herman de Boon, president Union Fleurs:
Free responsible flower trade doomed?
"The global floricultural industry is still young. It has been characterised by a rapid internationalisation during the past 50 years. In a few years time, the world trade in plants and flowers grew ten times larger, from a 1.5 to a 15 billion euro industry. People are working hard to make the sector more sustainable.
"This internationalisation has been driven by a growth perspective, technological developments and liberal trade policies."
"The growth perspective is reflected in the increase of global citizens, urbanisation, a growing middle class, higher disposable incomes and the increasing importance of green spaces, emotion and experience."
"Technological developments could be seen in the fields of breeding, storing, packaging, transportation and ICT."
"And the liberal trade policies have included tariff and non-tariff measures."
"Internationalisation meant that new exporters, mostly from South America and Africa, entered the global market."
"The international competitive field took further shape, based on the comparative advantages of each country. "
"The Netherlands, with its strong focus on free trade, played a specific role in this internationalisation."
"A wide range of supply industries encouraged the developments and saw opportunities."
"Dutch producers were forced to focus even more on innovation, knowledge valorisation, cost reductions and new business models. Some of them took the opportunity to offshore their production to developing countries."
"The auctions welcomed the supply from abroad, which wasn’t always appreciated by their Dutch members. It was in the auction’s interest however, to be able to supply all year round, to continue the concentration of supply and demand and to keep as many customers as possible."
"The trade took advantage of the situation and became internationally active on the purchasing side, through direct relationships with foreign companies."
"For the new countries, floricultural products became important export products as well as a source of new activity and employment."
"UnionFleurs, the international platform of more than 20 national trade associations incorporating approximately 3,000 trading companies, has always been in favour of free responsible flower trading and a level playing field, based on the belief that this is the way to increase welfare and well-being, and also on the belief that external protection equals internal protection and can block new developments."
"In the long run, the Trump Doctrine won’t be a good development for the international floricultural industry."
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