Eurostat trade statistics illustrate that the EU is the world’s leading importer of flowers, with imports amounting to € 3.5 billion in 2008. In the period 2004-2008, imports increased significantly at an annual average rate of 1.9% in terms of value. In terms of volume, imports actually decreased by 2.1% on average per year. These opposite developments show that average prices of the imported flowers became higher.
Germany and the UK are the leading import markets in the EU, accounting for 44% of total EU imports (in value). In the period 2004-2008, Germany remained the largest European importer. However, imports by Germany decreased considerably since 2005. Imports by the UK showed healthy growth from 2004 to 2008. Last year, the UK was hit hard by the global economic crisis, resulting amongst other things in a sharp drop in cut flower imports.
Only 18% of total imports was imported from outside the EU. However, this share is increasing. The Netherlands is the leading importer of products from outside the EU, accounting for more than half of these imports. A great part of Netherlands imports is re-exported to other countries, in particular Germany.
The Netherlands is the main supplier of cut flowers to other EU member states. The dominating position of The Netherlands as a supplier to the EU is the result of both its large production and the aforementioned re-export of flowers. Besides The Netherlands, other leading cut flower suppliers to the EU contributing major shares were Kenya, Colombia, Ecuador and Israel.
Since 1993, the EU imports of fresh cut flowers have been dominated by Rosa. Between 2004 and 2008, imports of Rosa increased by 7.6% annually. Developing countries mainly supply Rosa; and also play a significant role in supplies of summer flowers and Dianthus.