Finding the Upside

The Holy Grail of risk management is to turn a risk around (even an already crystallised risk), to turn it into a benefit by finding and exploiting the upside.

In July this year, after lobbying by domestic producers, the American government slapped a 34.7% tariff on the importation of black olives.  Spanish exports to the U.S. fell by 40% almost immediately.

The tariff did not, however,  apply to green olives. The U.S. market for olives is primarily for black olives which, usually in sliced form, are mainly used as pizza toppings.

DCOOP, a Málaga-based co-operative, found an upside.  It bought a stake in one of the U.S. domestic producers that had lobbied for the tariff.  It then started selling it green olives, with no tariff,  which were then turned into black olives*.  As a result, its exports of olives to USA have increased four-fold, and the investment in the US producer has given it a US entry point for its olive oil as well.

Sources:  El País, The Independent online, Wikipedia

* Olives may be green, purple, or black naturally; however, you can turn green olives into black by soaking them in alkaline solution for a week to 10 days.  These olives are also firmer than naturally black ones which makes them easier to pit mechanically, and this represents a cost-saving when the outcome you want is a load of sliced black olives.

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