FRESNO, CA – After learning that dozens of hard-working Armenian American raisin farmers in the San Joaquin Valley are going out of business due in part to the dumping of Turkish raisins in the U.S. market, the ANC of California is calling on Congress to act.
In a letter issued to Congressmen George Radanovich and Cal Dooley, on September 16, 2002, the ANC of Central California is urging these Members of Congress and the rest of the California Congressional Delegation to call on President Bush to launch an investigation into the possible dumping of Turkish raisins into the U.S.
“Just like Turkish steel has been dumped into the U.S. market and resulted in massive layoffs for hard-working American steel-workers, now it appears they are dumping raisins here in our country, commented ANC of Central California chairwoman, Hygo Ohannessian. “My father was a raisin farmer. He was lucky; we sold our vineyard two years ago. My heart goes out to those farmers because I know exactly what they are going through. As a Californian, I am disgusted and outraged that our farmers are being driven out of business by imported raisins from Turkey, raisins which are probably illegally dumped into our country. I urge everyone to buy California raisins, added Ms. Ohannessian.
“We share the concerns of Fresno’s Armenian community and are committed to protecting the proud legacy of the hard-working farmers who have developed the in Central Valley into the number one agricultural producing region in the world, said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. “The American farmer should be protected against illegal foreign dumping that threatens their very livelihood. For this reason, and others, we are working in Washington, DC to block legislative initiatives to grant preferential trade treatment to Turkish products.”
According to an article which appeared in the September 5, 2002 edition of The Los Angeles Times, Turkish raisins now account for 25% of the world’s supply. In that article Fresno area farmer Harry Rustigian blames imported raisins from Turkey, the land his father fled more than 85 years ago at the outbreak of the Armenian genocide, for creating the oversupply. On September 6th, ANC-Central California representative Richard Sanikian participated in a meeting on this subject between a leadership group of Fresno Armenia farmers and the District Director from the office of Congressman George Radanovich.
The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.