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UK government introduces 0% tariffs on cut flowers

On April 11, the UK government announced that it has temporarily removed export tariffs for cut flowers, with the aim of making trade with the UK easier and cheaper for growers in East Africa and beyond. Unlimited quantities of flowers can now be exported to the UK at a 0% tariff, even if they transit via a third country. This is particularly important for East African flower growers who transport their blooms via third countries or auction houses before they arrive in the UK.

The move aims to increase trade and further strengthen the economic relationship between the UK and the region. UK consumers could win big too – on price, seasonality and variety.

The suspension of 8% duty on cut flowers applies worldwide but will be a big win for major flower-growing regions in Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. The duty suspension will remain in place for two years, from April 11, 2024, to June 30, 2026.

His Majesty's Trade Commissioner for Africa, John Humphrey, said: "The UK's relationship with East Africa is rooted in mutually beneficial trade. This additional flower power will allow trade to bloom. We go far when we go together… or in this case, we grow far when we grow together, further reinforcing the UK's commitment to the expansion of trade in East Africa."

In 2022, Kenya was ranked as the fourth biggest exporter of cut flowers in the world, with 6% of global cut-flower exports. Ethiopia is the second largest cut flower producer in Africa, making up 23% of Sub-Saharan African exports. In 2023, the value of trade in cut flowers between the UK and Ethiopia was valued at £12.6m, Rwanda at £727,000, £839,000 from Tanzania, and £1.1m from Uganda.

And Kenyan and Ethiopian flower associations already welcomed this decision. In a LinkedIn post, the Kenya Flower Council said: "It will positively influence the movement and volumes of cut flowers into the UK market. The UK remains among the top 3 markets for Kenya's cut flowers."

And Tewodros Zewdie of the Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association told ENA that the move will boost Ethiopia's flower export and that it will increase the competition of flower producers in delivering their product to the customers in the UK. Also, he urged that the support to the sector should be improved to increase investment in the horticulture sector.

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