HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES             H.R. NO.160           
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 1999                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            
                                                             
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                     HOUSE  RESOLUTION

  SUPPORTING AND ENCOURAGING THE EFFORTS OF OUT-OF-STATE BUYERS
    OF KONA COFFEE TO PROMOTE AND MARKET THIS UNIQUELY LOCAL
    PRODUCT.


 1        WHEREAS, coffee grown in Hawaii is an important product to
 2   the State's economy and is positioned for rapid growth.  The
 3   best known coffee grown in the State is Kona coffee.  Kona
 4   coffee, which--by definition--must be grown in the districts of
 5   North Kona and South Kona, has been raised on the island of
 6   Hawaii for over one hundred years.  Coffee is now grown on the
 7   islands of Kauai, Molokai, Oahu, and Maui, as well as Hawaii.
 8   These gourmet coffees offer a wide range of flavors and,
 9   together with Kona coffee, are the only coffees grown in the
10   United States; and
11   
12        WHEREAS, a little over two years ago, a company in
13   California with operations in Kona allegedly marketed and sold
14   coffee from Central America as Kona coffee.  The amount of
15   Central American coffee allegedly sold as Kona coffee exceeded
16   the entire output of real Kona coffee by three to four hundred
17   per cent.  Criminal charges were lodged against the alleged
18   perpetrators of this fraud, and legal proceedings are currently
19   in progress to bring this matter to trial; and
20   
21        WHEREAS, five people in Kona have filed a civil lawsuit in
22   federal court against the alleged perpetrators of this fraud
23   and their customers.  These customers, however, also did
24   business with many of the legitimate sellers of green Kona
25   coffee beans.  There are also two other lawsuits that have been
26   filed in the State of Hawaii and in the State of California;
27   and
28   
29        WHEREAS, the customers who are being sued have either
30   stopped buying Kona coffee or have greatly reduced other
31   purchases.  This is partially to blame for the buildup of
32   inventory and reduced prices for Kona coffee.  These factors
33   have also led to reduced prices for other coffees grown in the
34   State; and
35   
36        WHEREAS, this body believes that the alleged perpetrators
37   of this fraud should be prosecuted to fullest extent of the
38   law.  This body, however, does not condone the civil action
39   filed against the legitimate customers of the alleged
40   perpetrators of this fraud.  The people responsible for

 
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                                  H.R. NO.160           
                                                        
                                                        


 1   bringing the civil actions against these customers make up less
 2   than one per cent of the people engaged in the coffee business
 3   in Kona and do not speak for the majority of the industry.
 4   These civil actions are adversely affecting the State's coffee
 5   industry and do not promote Kona coffee or other coffees grown
 6   in Hawaii; now, therefore,
 7   
 8        BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the
 9   Twentieth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session
10   of 2000, that this body supports and encourages the efforts of
11   out-of-state buyers of Kona coffee to promote and market this
12   uniquely local product; and
13   
14        BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this body neither endorses nor
15   condones any civil actions that encompass the legitimate buyers
16   of Kona coffee who were also victimized by the alleged
17   perpetrators of the recent Kona coffee fraud; and
18   
19        BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a certified copy of this
20   Resolution be transmitted to the President of the Kona Coffee
21   Council.
22   
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26                         OFFERED BY:  ____________________________