SOURCE: The Trade Commission of Ecuador in Los Angeles

November 12, 2009 17:13 ET

Stop and Smell the Ecuadorian Roses

Romance, Responsibility and Respectability Allows Ecuador to Blossom With Americans

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - November 12, 2009) - If you've ever received a bouquet of colorful, bold roses that took your breath away, chances are they came from Ecuador. According to The Trade Commission of Ecuador, the country's year-round perfect climate and high elevation that produces large-stemmed, big bulbed and colorful roses, such as purple, green, terracotta, orange, peach and fuchsia that you can't get from anywhere else in the world.

"It's an unwritten rule, that if you go to a premium florist and order roses you are getting Ecuadorian roses," says Terry August who owns Fancifull, a premier gift basket boutique on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. "All the premium florists buy Ecuadorian roses because they are the most impressive and outlast any other type of rose."

The Ecuadorian flower industry has grown significantly in the past decade, largely due to the Andean Trade Preferences Act (ATPA) passed in 1991. The act removed trade barriers in order to assist in drug-suppression efforts in the Andean region of South America, allowing Ecuador's flower trade to take off in the world market. The ATPA is up for renewal again at the end of this year.

"Without question, the ATPA has yielded positive results especially in the case of Ecuador where it has reduced extreme poverty and significantly improved the standard of living for so many people," says Eduardo Borrero, trade commissioner of Ecuador in Los Angeles. "Not only has it created employment for over 130,000 people in Ecuador, the flower exports alone have created an estimated 37,400 direct or indirect jobs here in the United States."

Worldwide, Ecuador is the second largest exporter of flowers to the United States and has over 400 varieties of roses, compared to its closest rival Colombia, which only has 40 to 50 varieties.

"Long hours in the sun really define a rose in a unique way," says Ignacio Perez, president of Expoflores, a producer's and trade organization in Ecuador that represents flower growers and promotes social and environmental responsibility. "The longevity of Ecuadorian roses is a reflection of the way they are delicately handled and how the surrounding environment is treated."

FlorEcuador is Expoflores' social-environmental certification to ensure that the flower farms in Ecuador treat the environment properly and their workers fairly. So far, the organization has 100 members who are certified and 100 more that are in the process of certification. Currently, Ecuador has the highest number of social-environmental certifications for flower growers compared to any other country.

For Ecuadorians, they hope that when Americans "stop to smell the roses" they will think of Ecuador and their love for its people and the land.

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