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AJR-13 International trade: ripe olives.(2019-2020)

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AJR13:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Joint Resolution
No. 13


Introduced by Assembly Member Mathis

March 27, 2019


Relative to international trade.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AJR 13, as introduced, Mathis. International trade: ripe olives.
This measure would urge the Congress of the United States to close a loophole in United States trade regulations that gives the Spanish ripe olive industry an unfair advantage over American olive processors and growers.
Fiscal Committee: NO  

WHEREAS, California’s ripe olive industry was established over a century ago; and
WHEREAS, At its peak, California’s ripe olive industry had over 20 olive processors and 1,100 American olive growers farming more than 37,000 acres; and
WHEREAS, Today, as low-priced, subsidized Spanish ripe olives saturate the United States market, California’s ripe olive industry now has only two olive processors and 890 American olive growers farming fewer than 19,300 acres; and
WHEREAS, The Spanish ripe olive industry is supported by extraordinary European Union and Spanish subsidies that allow the Spanish ripe olive industry to grow and expand its sales in the United States in ways that would not otherwise be economically possible; and
WHEREAS, A loophole in United States trade regulations allows a foreign company that acquires ownership interest in a United States olive processor to import raw unprocessed olives into the United States without paying a tariff that was designed to offset those subsidies; and
WHEREAS, As a result, the Spanish ripe olive industry has already claimed most of the United States institutional market and is now systematically seizing much of the United States retail market; and
WHEREAS, The United States olive processor Bell-Carter Foods recently cancelled processing contracts on nearly 4,500 acres of olives from the County of Tulare after acquisition of a partial ownership interest in the company by a European conglomerate, Dcoop, enabled it to import Spanish and Argentine olives more cheaply; and
WHEREAS, If this loophole is not fixed, it will continue to have a devastating impact on California’s workers, including olive growers who rely on processing contracts and thousands of farm workers across the state who rely on harvest work during olive picking season; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Assembly and the Senate of the State of California, jointly, That the Legislature recognizes the harmful impacts that the highly subsidized expansion of the Spanish ripe olive industry has had on American olive processors and growers; and be it further
Resolved, That the Legislature urges the Congress of the United States to close the loophole in United States trade regulations that gives the Spanish ripe olive industry an unfair advantage over American olive processors and growers; and be it further
Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the President and Vice President of the United States, to the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, to the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, to each Senator and Representative from California in the Congress of the United States, and to the author for appropriate distribution.