Live plants and floriculture products include live trees, shrubs, bushes and other goods commonly supplied by nursery gardeners or florists for planting or ornamental use.
Increasing levels of flower production and cultivation of ornamental plants give the EU one of the world's highest densities of flower production per hectare – 10% of total world area and 44% of world flower and pot-plant production.
The EU is a net exporter of pot plants, conifers and hardy perennial plants, bulbs and corms, a net importer of cut flowers and cut foliage, and has a net trade surplus for live plants and floriculture products.
The regime for live plants and floriculture products covers all products falling under chapter 6 of the combined nomenclature, and the sector itself is covered by the single common organisation of the markets in agricultural products, as laid out in EU Regulation 1308/2013. The European Commission monitors production, market and trade flows in the sector.
In the framework of the common organisation of the markets in agricultural products, the Commission is authorised to:
- help adjust supply to reflect market requirements by taking measures to improve quality, better organise production, processing and marketing, make it easier to track market price trends, and help establish short and long-term forecasts based on means of production;
- require import licences for certain products, as a tool for managing their markets;
- fix annually (before the marketing season) one or more minimum prices for exports to non EU countries of bulbs, tubers, tuberous roots, corms, crowns and rhizomes, and dormant (products falling under CN code 0601 10). In this case, such products can only be exported at a price equal to or above the minimum fixed price.
To ensure that the Commission's responsibility for adopting implementing acts is exercised under the control of EU countries, various committees – composed of government representatives and chaired by a Commission representative – are linked to the Commission.
The committee for the common organisation of the agricultural markets meets regularly to discuss areas such as the evolution of market prices, production and trade in EU and non-EU countries in relation to live plants and flowers.