>Trade Deal Tug of War | Nightly Business Report | PBS

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Trade Deal Tug of War | Nightly Business Report | PBS

Do You Want Roses, or Cocaine, for Valentine’s Day?
Me, I would much rather have neither.
Did you ever wonder where those roses came from? I thought they were grown here, in the United States, in greenhouses. I should have known better. My other guess would have been Denmark or Sweden. We get considerable quantities of cut flowers from those countries. Still, I would be wrong.
No, not the United States, or Europe, but Colombia, South America, is the home of 90% of roses for North America. Furthermore, even if you do not buy roses, chances are a little bit of our taxes go to help Colombian farmers grow roses.
Why should we help Colombian farmers grow roses?
Their other main money-making crop is coca (not “cacao” from which chocolate comes) which is the basis for cocaine. The question then becomes, do we want Colombian farmers to grow coca, which is then made into cocaine, of which 90%-95% ends up in the United States and Canada? Or, would we rather encourage them to grow roses, which end up in the United States and Canada?
U.S. policy has been to subsidize the Colombian farmer, to encourage them to grow roses.
Cannot they grow something else so we don’t have to subsidize them?
Colombia is a country 2x’s the size of France, mountainous, rugged, sitting very near the equator. Coastal areas, which is not much of the overall land area, can provide some citrus crops, fruits and vegetables that prefer warm, moist weather. In the higher elevations, which is most of the country, choices are few. Coffee, some types of beans, some types of potatoes, but nothing that provides the income derived from coca. Or, roses.

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