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Cablegate: James Murphy's Meeting with Key French Agricultural

VZCZCXRO1659
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHROV
DE RUEHFR #1294/01 0921159
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 021159Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6148
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES
RUEHMRE/AMCONSUL MARSEILLE 1637
RUEHSR/AMCONSUL STRASBOURG 0381
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2638
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 001294

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

BRUSSELS PASS USEU FOR AGMINCOUNSELOR
STATE FOR OES; EUR/ERA;
STATE PASS USTR FOR MURPHY;
USDA/OS/JOHANNS/TERPSTRA;
USDA/FAS FOR OA/YOST; LA/CHURCH;
OCRA/CURTIS
ONA/RIEMENSCHNEIDER
FAA/YOUNG;
EU POSTS PASS TO AGRICULTURE AND ECON
GENEVA FOR USTR, ALSO AGRICULTURE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ETRD EU FR

SUBJECT: JAMES MURPHY'S MEETING WITH KEY FRENCH AGRICULTURAL
OFFICIALS


PARIS 00001294 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) Summary: James Murphy, Assistant US Trade Representative
for Agricultural Affairs, met with high-level French agricultural
officials to discuss a number of U.S./EU ag trade issues. Mr.
Murphy was accompanied by Embassy staff from FAS and ECON. The
French participants were: Francois Riegert, Deputy Chief of Cabinet
of Ag Minister Bussereau, Philippe Duclaud, Diplomatic Adviser to Ag
Minister and Jean-Marc Bournigal, General Director for Food at the
Ministry of Agriculture. The conversation indicated the desire on
both sides to resolve these issues on the basis of a rational,
science-based approach. The French acknowledged their difficulties
taking such an approach against the backdrop of anti-GMO activists,
animal welfare activists and a generally mistrustful public. End
summary.

2. (SBU) Poultry AMTs: Mr. Murphy outlined the slow progress this
dossier had made since having obtained EFSA's positive assessment,
emphasizing the difficulty the US plants would have complying with
EU requirements (only one AMT followed by a rinse in potable water).
Notwithstanding the fact that few US firms could meet such a
standard at this point, he said that the US poultry industry would
like to see the new regulation approved. We have been told that the
regulation will be approved by September. French officials stressed
the need to avoid the perception that sanitary procedures would
become more lax as operators were relying on the AMT, rather than
employing strict control at every juncture. They also mentioned that
environmentalists were concerned about the impact of releasing used
AMTs into the environment.

3. (SBU) Beef Market Access: Mr. Murphy acknowledged that progress
had been made in negotiations with DG Agri for a new, larger TRQ for
U.S. hormone-free beef, but that SPS barriers, particularly on AMTs,
needed to be removed to achieve a positive outcome. He said that
the US industry was about to submit a data package on AMTs to DG
SANCO. In return for an improvement in market access for US hormone
free beef, the USG would withdraw retaliatory tariffs. French
officials underscored their misgivings about estradiol, and also
said that the EU would wait to hear from a WTO panel reviewing the
US-EC hormone dispute before moving forward. The panel's
conclusions are reportedly due April 16.

4. (SBU) EU Enlargement: Romania had been a $50 million pork import
market, with an applied duty of zero. Under Article 28, no
compensation was due, since under EC accession; its bound duty would
go down. Mr. Murphy stated that the U.S. is requesting changes in
TRQ administration to remove barriers to trade. Since the EC has
refused to negotiate seriously, the USG has just sent a retaliation
list to the Federal Register for the purpose of getting the EC to
the table. Mr. Murphy also cited the trichina testing issue,
stating that DG SANCO is reviewing USDA procedures. It was
acknowledged that some MSs (e.g. France, Germany, Denmark) support
the U.S. position of lowering the trichina testing requirement for
low-risk farm operations (like indoor pork production).

5. (SBU) Cloning: Mr. Murphy cited the recent FDA finding on the
safety of products derived from cloning and said it wasn't too soon
to start a dialog with the EU on this. French officials stated that
in Europe, this was more an issue of animal welfare and ethics than
product safety. The French stated that they are "jumping on the
brake" against the animal welfare lobby, but nonetheless had to be
attentive to such issues.

6. (SBU) Biotech: The French officials stated that biotech is not
popular among the French public and that there was a risk of
backlash. Notwithstanding, they proudly reported that they had
successfully transposed the EC's coexistence directive despite
political obstacles. Mr. Murphy stated that the EU and US should
undertake discussions about normalizing trade in biotech. He
stressed the need to develop approaches for handling our
governments' asynchronous approvals process and legacy events i.e.
those events no longer offered for commercial sale. The French
response was that on biotech, they need to be totally transparent
with the public.

PARIS 00001294 002.2 OF 002

7. (SBU) Meat Inspections: The French officials noted the upcoming
FSIS inspection of French foie gras plants, noting how cumbersome it
is for such plants to have to meet two governments' often different
sets of requirements. Mr. Murphy encouraged further work on this
general issue.

8. Comment: It was clear that the French regulatory officials are
often frustrated by the political minefield that limits their room
to maneuver on some of these issues, but generally favor
science-based resolutions. End Comment.

Stapleton

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