Human Flower Project

Orrington, MAINE USA

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Princeton, MAINE USA

Friday, August 24, 2007

Global Trade and Flower Jingoism

A Netherlands trade board has allowed the merger of two huge flower firms, pushing back against newcomers in the industry.

imageTwo-headed giant

Image: Gandolf

It came as no big surprise that the Netherlands Competition Authority ruled to allow the two giant Dutch flower auctions—Aalsmeer and Floraholland—to join forces. The two auction houses have been combining their businesses for years now, and since each passing season brings yet another determined player to the table in this increasingly competitive market, the pressure has been on to shore up Holland’s domination.

What did strike us as peculiar was the reasoning Nederlandse Mededingingsautoriteit (NMa) provided, that a merger between Floraholland and Aalsmeer “would still leave ‘sufficient alternative channels’ on the domestic and foreign markets.” On the foreign markets, they may have a point, as Dubai, India and other countries are building up stronger auctions. But on the domestic side, PLEEZ! One source reports that a combined Aalsmeer and Floraholland will control 30% of the European market and 90% of the Dutch market.

If control over 90% of the market doesn’t constitute a monopoly, what does? 95%? 99.9%?  Anti-trust laws are being ignored in many parts of the world (this is rampant in the U.S.) but to pretend that the combination of these two behemoths is not “anti-competitive” within the Netherlands is a joke.

It seems to us that in a global economy, nations will be looking out for their traditional industries and bending national regulations in order to strengthen those industries abroad. Better, some in the Netherlands might say, to put up with a monopoly at home than risk losing our longstanding pre-eminence in the flower trade to China or some other comer. Isn’t this what’s happening, a kind of economic jingoism?  We’d be interested to hear what our esteemed friends in the business world think, and of course we’ll be keeping an eye on the two-headed giant in Europe.

Posted by Julie on 08/24 at 04:07 PM
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