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Cablegate: Ambassador Michalak and Mard Minister Phat Discuss

VZCZCXRO4775
RR RUEHAG RUEHAP RUEHCHI RUEHDE RUEHDF RUEHDT RUEHGI RUEHHM RUEHLZ
RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHPB RUEHRN
DE RUEHHI #1627/01 2550811
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 120811Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6327
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 3678
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1206
RUEHZS/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE
RUCNWTO/WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION COLLECTIVE
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC//USDP/ISA/AP//
RHMFISS/CJCS WASHINGTON DC//J2/J3/J5//
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC//DHO-3//
RHMFIUU/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI//J00/J2/J3/J5//
RHEFAFM/DIRAFMIC FT DETRICK MD//MA-1A//
RUEHSUN/USUN ROME IT

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HANOI 001627

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE PASS TO USTR (BISBEE,GLAUBER,BURST)
USDA FOR DUS TERPSTRA
USDA PASS TO FAS (OA,OCRA,ONA,OFSO)
STATE FOR EAP/MLS, EAP/EP, AIAG, OES/IHA, MED
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR ANE AND GH
STATE PASS TO HHS/OGHA (STIEGER/VALDEZ/BELL/HICKEY)
CDC FOR OGHA (BLOUT/MCCALL) AND DIV-FLU (COX/MOHEN)
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE FOR OSD/ISA/AP (STERN)
HHS PASS TO FIC/NIH (GLASS)
USDA PASS TO APHIS, FAS (OSTA AND OCRA), FSIS
BANGKOK FOR RMO, CDC (MALISON), USAID (MACARTHUR/BRADY)
BEIJING FOR HHS HEALTH ATTACHE (ROSS)
PHNOM PENH FOR CDC INFLUENZA COORDINATOR(BRADY)
VIENTIANE FOR CDC INFLUENZA COORDINATOR (CORWIN)
ROME FOR FAO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD EAGR TBIO SOCI WTRO KFLU VM
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR MICHALAK AND MARD MINISTER PHAT DISCUSS
AGRICULTURAL TRADE, RURAL DEVELOPMENT, AND AVIAN INFLUENZA


HANOI 00001627 001.2 OF 003


1. (SBU) Summary: During his September 10 courtesy call with
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) Cao Duc Phat,
Ambassador Michalak advocated on behalf of U.S. agricultural
products, praised Vietnam's adherence to international agricultural
standards, and thanked Phat for Vietnam's strong cooperation on
Avian Influenza (AI). The Ambassador emphasized the U.S. commitment
to provide fair access to Vietnamese agricultural products,
particularly fruits currently under review by the U.S. Department of
Agriculture (USDA) for import approval, and stated that the United
States would continue to assist Vietnam' integration into the world
agricultural trading system. Phat stressed Vietnam's need to work
with international partners, particularly the United States, to
adjust to the global economy and its responsibilities as a new
member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Phat noted that
Vietnam faced many challenges as it looks to improve agricultural
productivity and rural incomes, while introducing its agricultural
businesses to world markets. Phat commended the United States for
its assistance to Vietnam in fighting Avian Influenza. Phat agreed
that Vietnamese consumers enjoy American agricultural products and
asked that the U.S. continue to send beef to Vietnam. End summary.

Vietnam's International Commitments
-----------------------------------

2. (SBU) Cao Duc Phat, a 1992 graduate of the Kennedy School at
Harvard, stated that his studies in the United States introduced him
to the United States, market economics and the international
community. Phat then thanked the United States for the important
role it played in Vietnam's accession to the WTO. However, Phat
stressed that Vietnam realized that it could not meet its
commitments to the international community on its own and that the
Government of Vietnam (GVN) needed to focus on transparency to
better foster international cooperation.

Increasing Agricultural Trade
-----------------------------

3. (SBU) Phat remarked that Vietnamese consumers find American
produce attractive, particularly grapes and apples, and asked the
United States to send more beef. Ambassador Michalak thanked Phat
for Vietnam's continued purchases of U.S. agricultural products but,
noting the trade disparity between the two nations, urged Vietnam to
expand the range of American farm products it imports. The
Ambassador praised recent Vietnamese moves to lower tariffs and
streamline regulations, along with Vietnam's quick action to comply
with World Organization for Animal Health guidelines. In turn,
United States would continue to assist Vietnam better understand the
U.S. regulatory system and to provide fair access to the U.S.
market, including Vietnamese tropical fruits currently under USDA
import review.

Avian Influenza
---------------

4. (SBU) Ambassador Michalak praised Vietnam's cooperation on AI
and noted that Vietnam's response is considered a model for national
programs around the world. He cautioned, however, that the GVN and
the donors must stress to farmers and consumers that the threat has
not diminished and all must continue their vigilance. Though

HANOI 00001627 002.2 OF 003


responding to AI remained a challenge for the GVN, particularly
given the huge numbers of ducks and chickens bred each year, Phat
singled-out U.S. AI assistance as particularly helpful. In response
to a question from the Ambassador, Phat recognized that part of the
problem came from poultry smuggled in from China. Phat stated that
Vietnam would soon hold a nationwide meeting to discuss the national
poultry vaccination program.

Agricultural Productivity
-------------------------

5. (SBU) Phat acknowledged that Vietnam needed to focus on
increasing agricultural productivity. According to Phat, Vietnam's
annual agricultural exports currently totaled about USD 8 billion.
To increase that number (and to provide the Vietnamese people with
safe food for domestic consumption), Vietnam needed to implement the
Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) agreement. However, while the GVN
understood the need to conform to international regulations and to
build public support for modernization efforts, it lacked the human
resources to do so effectively. Ambassador Michalak stated that the
United States hoped to directly assist Vietnam to meet international
SPS standards and that the United States also currently provides
some assistance on SPS issues through projects pursuant to the Trade
and Investment Framework Agreement with ASEAN. The Ambassador also
highlighted the positive role that biotechnology could play to help
Vietnam increase agricultural productivity through increased yields
and lower input costs. Phat reiterated MARD's desire to learn more
about biotechnology applications.

Rural Development
-----------------

6. (SBU) Phat detailed the main challenges Vietnam faces in
promoting sustainable and environmentally acceptable rural
development. According to Phat, ninety percent of Vietnamese poor
live in the countryside. Seventy percent of Vietnamese rely on
agriculture for their income, while agriculture now only makes up
twenty percent of GDP. Thus, the GVN worries about the growing gap
between urban and rural incomes, while also noting decreases in
agricultural land and an increase in migration to the cities. Each
year, Vietnam loses 200,000 members of its rural labor force. At
the same time, the GVN is developing plans to help those mired in
extreme poverty and members of minority groups. MARD seeks to
increase competitiveness in rural provinces through reliance on
science and technology to increase value-added to agricultural
products. MARD also plans to improve rural entrepreneurship to grow
agricultural businesses and update and expand infrastructure to ease
transportation of agricultural goods and attract investment to
further upgrade facilities.

Comment
-------

7. (SBU) On agricultural issues, Vietnam gets it. GVN agricultural
policy-makers understand the benefits of trade and the need to
reduce tariffs and other regulatory obstacles to imports and
exports. Though policies always are subject to change, we have seen
few attempts to create obstacles to U.S. farm products. To date,
GVN efforts to comply with Vietnam's international obligations have

HANOI 00001627 003.2 OF 003


been excellent. Embassy Hanoi urges continued United States efforts
to assist Vietnam's integration into global agricultural markets and
to ensure that Vietnam perceives it has fair access to the U.S.
market - particularly for its tropical fruits. We believe such
actions will buttress Vietnam's policies to open its markets to
American goods.

MICHALAK

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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