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Cablegate: No Security - No Business: Readout From June 2007 Apec

VZCZCXRO4473
RR RUEHCHI RUEHFK RUEHHM RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHPB
DE RUEHHI #1261/01 1980918
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 170918Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5831
INFO RUEHZU/ASIAN PACIFIC ECONOMIC COOPERATION
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE USD FAS WASHINGTON DC
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HANOI 001261

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP AND OES
USDA FOR FAS (SMITH/BEASLEY)
USDA FOR FSIS (MACZKA)
HHS FOR FDA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO PTER APECO EAGR ETRD CA JA RS AS TH VM ID MY
RP, MX, RS, SN, BX, PP, HK, CH, CI, NZ, KS, PP, PE, TW
SUBJECT: NO SECURITY - NO BUSINESS: READOUT FROM JUNE 2007 APEC
FOOD DEFENSE WORKSHOP IN VIETNAM

REF: 2006 STATE 184154

1. (U) Summary: On June 14-15 in Hanoi, Vietnam, the United States
and the Government of Vietnam hosted the follow-on Asia Pacific
Economic Cooperation (APEC) bioterrorism workshop to protect the
food supply from deliberate contamination, in support of the APEC
Food Defense initiative "Mitigating the Terrorist Threat to the APEC
Food Supply." The workshop focused on the potential threat to the
food supply and distribution system, ways to communicate information
among the various stakeholders, developing the appropriate
supportive infrastructure, writing food defense plans that work for
industry, and developing food defense communication strategies in
advance of, during, and post event. Speakers and participants
continued to emphasize the importance of building a relationship
between the private sector and government counterparts, engaging law
enforcement (as well as the intelligence community), sharing
information with all stakeholders in a timely manner, and
prioritizing what areas need to be addressed first based on each
economy's individual needs. The discussions also led to the
drafting of the groundbreaking APEC Food Defense Principles that the
United States hopes to have endorsed by APEC Leaders and Ministers
in September 2007. By endorsing these Principles, APEC would be
taking an unprecedented progressive stance on food defense,
exceeding that of any other multilateral forum. The meeting
concluded with a consensus among APEC participants for the
importance of continuing the dialogue and encouraging follow-on APEC
discussions in the years to come. End Summary.

----------
BACKGROUND
----------

2. (U) In 2006, the United States, along with co-sponsors Australia
and Chile introduced and began implementing the "Mitigating the
Terrorist Threat to APEC Food Supply" initiative at the Asia Pacific
Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum's Counter-terrorism Task Force
(CTTF). This initiative looks to strengthen protection of the food
supply from deliberate bioterrorist contamination through the use of
vulnerability assessment tools applied to the food distribution
system and to identify countermeasures to threats.
3. (U) In November 2006 the United States and Thailand co-hosted
the first-ever APEC Food Defense Workshop in Bangkok, Thailand
(reftel). APEC Leaders also committed to working together to
protect the food supply from deliberate contamination (APEC 2006
Leaders' Statement issued in Hanoi).
4. (U) Building on these 2006 efforts, the United States and
Vietnam co-hosted a follow-on workshop in Hanoi in June 2007, which
focused on building appropriate infrastructure, developing risk
communication strategies, and building partnerships between
governmental bodies and the private sector. Fifteen APEC economies
participated in the Hanoi workshop. In addition to building on the
work from the Bangkok workshop, the experts in Hanoi prepared a
draft set of voluntary "APEC Food Defense Principles" that APEC
economies are reviewing. These principles put APEC in the forefront
of international thinking on critical issues in protecting the food
supply against deliberate terrorist contamination -- and help pave
the way for sustained APEC counterterrorism efforts on food
defense.
--------------------------------- -------------------------
THE APEC "FOOD DEFENSE" WORKSHOP: DEVELOPING EFFECTIVE FOOD DEFENSE
STRATEGIES IN APEC ECONOMIES
---------------------------------- -------------------------

5. (U) The two-day workshop in Hanoi addressed the overarching
goal of "Developing Effective Food Defense Strategies in APEC
Economies" by focusing on four strategic topics: potential
information sharing mechanisms, developing supportive infrastructure
within the government and between governmental entities and the
private sector, writing and developing food defense plans, and
developing food defense communication strategies in advance of and
during a food defense incident. The United States and Vietnam set
the tone at the outset of meeting by highlighting the
interconnectivity of the global food supply in their welcoming
remarks. Both emphasized the importance of this on-going dialogue
and called for a Food Defense deliverable at the APEC Summit later
this year.

6. (U) Over the course of two days, several key themes emerged and
were self-reinforcing. Participants acknowledged the importance of
establishing and strengthening public-private partnerships. Several
speakers (as well as participants) emphasized the importance of law
enforcement's role in food defense preparedness and response, and
the intelligence community's role in supporting food defense

HANOI 00001261 002 OF 003


activities. (Comment: This was particularly notable given that
earlier discussions had indicated reticence about the law
enforcement inclusion -- signaling a maturation in APEC economies'
understanding of the truly multi-sectoral nature of addressing
bioterrorism, including food defense. End Comment) All presenters
repeatedly emphasized that food defense builds on a strong food
safety foundation. Participants noted the importance of timely and
transparent reporting and information sharing in order to minimize
the risk to human health, trade, and society. The developing
economies also inquired how their economies could begin building
such infrastructure given limited resources. The last session of
the workshop, in which the experts began developing potential Food
Defense Principles, clearly reflected the exchange of ideas
throughout the meeting.

----------------
NOT A NEW THREAT
----------------

7. (U) Harry Gardiner from Canada's Food Inspection Agency touched
on these elements, noting that targeting the food supply and
distribution system was not a new threat, nor should it come as a
surprise that it is a soft target given the ease in which one might
target a node along the farm-to-food continuum. He outlined steps
Canada has taken to address food defense concerns, such as
conducting threat and vulnerability assessments, exercises, building
partnerships with Canadian private sector firms, and identifying
gaps in risk assessments to determine S&T needs. Both publicly and
privately, he applauded U.S. efforts to address food defense
concerns.

------------------------- ------------------------------
NO SECURITY, NO BUSINESS: THE PRIVATE SECTOR PERSPECTIVE
------------------------- ------------------------------

8. (U) Participation and engagement from individual companies and
trade associations were particularly critical to the workshop's
discussions and success. Given that the private sector owns most,
if not all, of the infrastructure, these participants described why
it is important to build better relationships with the government,
what type of regulatory landscape they need to implement or enforce
certain measures, how to prioritize and implement certain food
defense measures, and what they see as the risks if they do not take
action. At each opportunity, the private sector noted the
importance of incorporating food defense into every aspect of their
enterprise. One of the private sector experts summed it up by
succinctly stating, "NO SECURITY, NO BUSINESS" - meaning that lack
of planning and preparedness would be disastrous in the event of a
hoax or a deliberate contamination.

-----------------------------------------
DEVELOPING PLANS FOR DIVERSE STAKEHOLDERS
-----------------------------------------

9. (U) It was very clear that developing economies are thinking
about how to begin building food defense infrastructure (e.g.,
specialized offices and lab capacity) and creating effective
public-private partnerships to protect the food supply from
terrorist attack. Much discussion, for example, focused on how
those just beginning to address food defense should do so with
limited or no budgets. The United States noted that it had faced
similar dilemmas of limited or no resources when initiating efforts
and emphasized the importance of prioritizing and adapting to
individual needs. The private sector also acknowledged there would
be upfront costs, but noted many of the efforts improved efficiency
over the longer term and in some instances, added to product
marketability.

-------------------
INFORMATION SHARING
-------------------

10. (U) Both the private sector and government experts emphasized
the importance of communication among ALL stakeholders - noting that
this includes not only the obvious stakeholders, such as health,
food regulators, agriculture, and affected sectors, but also law
enforcement and intelligence communities. Additionally, all agreed
for the need to share information in a timely and transparent
manner. For example, New Zealand (NZ) noted during its presentation
that an economy runs the risk of losing its international market
share if it is not forthcoming with trade partners, citing NZ's own
response to minimize the impact of an accidental contamination to
their export market. WHO's Jenifer Bishop presented WHO's work on

HANOI 00001261 003 OF 003


the International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN), as a
potential example for sharing information internationally. She
noted that the newly-revised and adopted International Health
Regulations (IHR) specifically included food defense under the
public health emergencies of international concerns (PHEIC) and that
INFOSAN would be responsible for the dissemination of the
information in such an event.

---------------------------------------
DEVELOPING APEC FOOD DEFENSE PRINCIPLES
---------------------------------------

11. (U) To move APEC's food defense work forward, experts from the
range of economies collaborated on the development of "APEC Food
Defense Principles" -- fundamental areas of importance in protecting
the food supply from deliberate contamination. The draft principles
represent the start of a process that could help put APEC on the
road to giving multilateral voice to an important issue. The United
States indicated it will push for APEC endorsement of the
principles, and signaled its desire for acknowledgement of the work
in this year's APEC Leaders' and Ministerial Statements.

12. (SBU) Comment: The level of interest and awareness among APEC
economies has increased considerably since the 2006 Bangkok meeting
- resulting in more robust and lively exchange among economies on
how to address food defense across the spectrum of stages of
economic development. Unlike the Bangkok meeting where it was clear
that only the United States, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand were
focusing on food defense, the other economies came this time seeking
information on ways to introduce and begin implementing food defense
efforts in their respective economies. (Note: Canada did not attend
the last meeting. End Note.) One reason for possible increased
awareness and engagement is likely due to the fact that many of the
experts participated in the first meeting in Bangkok.

--------------------------------------------- --------
U.S. DELEGATION OBSERVATIONS ABOUT SELECTED ECONOMIES
--------------------------------------------- --------

13. (U) PERU - During side bar conversations, it was apparent Peru
is thinking ahead to its own APEC host year. Peru expressed strong
interest in hosting any follow-on work in 2008, and intimated having
funds to support the activity. It also appears that Peru was trying
to obtain regional support and possibly assistance from its
neighboring APEC members.

14. (U) THAILAND - Technical experts from Thailand noted that
Thailand would begin incorporating food defense into their internal
dialogue, noting that it hoped the United States would provide
speakers to their national Food Safety meeting. They also inquired
if the United States would be willing to co-host the event. The
U.S. delegation indicated it would have to consult with Washington
and asked for a written request (proposal), which could be shared
with the appropriate USG agencies for review.

15. (SBU) On a final note, while none of the economies have directly
or overtly accused the United States of using food defense as a
means of creating a trade barrier, at least within APEC, some have
questioned whether this will inadvertently happen. To date, the
United States has managed to address all trade concerns raised by
various economies and has avoided any contentious discussions during
the food defense discussions. The United States should be aware
that these unvoiced concerns might be a subtext for future
discussions. (Australia and New Zealand both candidly acknowledge
they participate in this effort not only out of mutual concern, but
also to learn about any changes or efforts underway that may impact
their exports to the United States.) End Comment.

16. (U) The U.S. delegation drafted and cleared this cable. Any
questions regarding this workshop and these efforts should be
directed to OES's Office of International Health and Biodefense
(COMELLANX@STATE.GOV; 202-647-4689).

17. (U) Posts' and Department's work, along with the strong
interagency collaboration with USDA's Food Safety and Inspection
Service (FSIS) and Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), and HHS's
Food and Drug Administration helped make the APEC Food Defense
Workshop a success.

MARINE

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