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Cablegate: U.S. Fda Commissioner Meets with Chinese Counterarts In

VZCZCXRO0095
RR RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHVC
DE RUEHBJ #6675/01 2882232
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 152232Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY BEIJING
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2811
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHINGTON DC
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RULSDMK/DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION WASHDC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEAEPA/HQ EPA WASHDC
RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 BEIJING 006675

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE SIPDIS

EAP/PD FOR NIDA EMMONS
EAP/CM/
HHS FOR OGHA/STEIGER AND PASS TO FDA/LUMPKIN
USDA FOR FSIS/RAYMOND
USDA FOR FAS OA/YOST, OCRA/ALEXANDER, OSTA/BRANT AND SHNITZLER
COMMERCE FOR ITA/HIJIKATA AND CINO
STATE PASS USTR CHINA OFFICE/TIM WINELAND
STATE PASS OMB/INT'L AFFAIRS
STATE PASS HOMELAND SECURITY COUNCIL
STATE PASS IMPORT SAFETY WORKING GROUP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO EAGR ETRD ECON PREL HHS CH
SUBJECT: U.S. FDA COMMISSIONER MEETS WITH CHINESE COUNTERARTS IN
SHANGHAI, OCTOBER 10-14, 2007.

REF:A) State 140228
B) State 86437
C) Beijing 6265

1. (SBU) Summary: U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner traveled to Shanghai October
10-14 to deliver one of the keynote speeches at the Fifth Annual
Sino-U.S Symposium on Medicine in the Twenty-First Century and to
participate in the centennial anniversary celebration of Jiaotong
University's Ruijin Hospital. The delegation also held meetings
with State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) Commissioner Shao
Mingli and Vice Commissioner Qu Shuhui, General Administration for
Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) Vice Minister
Wei Chuanzhong; and Ministry of Health (MOH) Minister Chen Zhu
regarding the two Memoranda of Agreement (MOA) on food and feed
safety and on drug and medical product safety. Both SFDA and AQSIQ
committed to sending their respective technical teams to Washington
this month to continue these MOA discussions face-to-face. Both the
U.S. and Chinese officials reaffirmed their commitment to working on
the agreements and emphasized the importance their governments place
on the safety of food, feed, drug and medical products for the
citizens of both countries. The Shanghai visit enabled the FDA
Commissioner to engage municipal-level FDA and CIQ (Entry-Exit
Inspection and Quarantine Bureau) officials facilitating
opportunities for exchanges on procedures and process at these
levels and offered them a glimpse of laboratories and port
inspection facilities. End Summary.

2. (U) Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, and FDA
Deputy Commissioner Dr. Murray Lumpkin traveled to Shanghai October
10-14 to meet with each of the three Chinese agencies or Ministries
responsible for the on-going MOA negotiations on food/feed and drug/
medical product safety.

Shanghai FDA Meetings and Site Visits
-------------------------------------

3. (U) Visiting the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration (SHFDA)
and its Institute for Food and Drug Control (SIFDC), Commissioner
von Eschenbach learned about the responsibilities and functions of
this municipal-level FDA office and its relationships with the
national-level SFDA. Introducing the SHFDA as the largest of the 31
provincial and municipal-level FDA, Director-General Dr. Wang
Longxing provided an overview on its structure, described the SHFDA
responsibilities, and outlined the process and testing methodologies
used in the regulation and control of food and drug producers and
manufacturers in the Shanghai area. SIFDC Director Dr. Wang Linda
outlined the systems used for food and drug supervision and
administration, focusing on the testing capabilities and procedures
used as well as the Institute's research and development activities.
Commissioner von Eschenbach and his delegation toured several
laboratories in the Institute.

4. (SBU) In a meeting on the drug/medical devices MOA, Vice
Commissioner Madam Qu Shuhui, the Chinese side's lead negotiator,
expressed appreciation for Commissioner von Eschenbach's visit to
Shanghai and acknowledged that since their June 15 phone call (Ref
B) there had been three rounds of discussions and two rounds of
document exchanges leading to this meeting. She reaffirmed SFDA's
commitment and in recognition of the pressures and challenges of
globalization, to work collaboratively with the United States FDA.
Madam Qu noted increased communications and collaboration between
the two agencies illustrated the importance of the agreement. U.S.
and Chinese sides expressed mutual appreciation for the earlier
joint efforts of the technical teams to achieve agreement on the
broad principles of the MOA and to help realize their differences
and conflicts yet to be resolved.

5. (SBU) Commissioner von Eschenbach emphasized his desire to see

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the two agencies build stronger and closer collaborative
relationships that would facilitate addressing a variety of
challenges. He noted that working together may allow more
opportunities to evolve, such as developing mechanisms to share drug
and medical product information and to build capacities that would
focus quality improvements on prevention throughout a drug or
medical product's lifecycle rather than on inspections at the
end-stage. Dr. von Eschenbach reiterated FDA's invitation for the
SFDA to travel to Washington soon to have further face-to-face
discussions on the MOA specifically responding to the second-version
sent to the Chinese on September 28. SFDA replied that they would
indeed travel to DC the week of October 22 and would provide their
written comments on the second-version of the MOA o/a October 17.
Both sides also noted that the expected signing of the MOA at SED
III will establish a strong foundation for on-going relationships
between their agencies to continue to evolve and would protect and
promote the health of their own citizens, further making drug and
medical products safer for the rest of the world.

Meeting with Health Minister Chen Zhu
-------------------------------------

6. (SBU) (SBU) Commissioner von Eschenbach in his official bilateral
meeting with Health Minister Dr. Chen Zhu said he observed from the
morning's presentations that both sides shared similar visions to
use science and technical knowledge to address global problems. HHS
and the MOH already collaborate on many health issues. He
congratulated the Minister on his being recently being named a
member of the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of
Sciences. The Commissioner also noted that, through these
collaborations in health, both of them were responsible to manage
the increasing expectations to bring new solutions and safe and
effective interventions to their citizens as quickly as possible.
These expectations would be facilitated through increased
information exchange and closer cooperation between their agencies.


7. (SBU) Minister Chen said he was looking forward to December's
Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) in Beijing. He also highlighted
the beneficial role of the existing MOU's (on HIV/AIDS and on
emerging infectious diseases) between his Ministry and HHS. The
Chinese government pays great ttention to food safety, he
eplained, and throughout history always saved the best products
(i.e., highest quality) for export, sometimes to the exclusion of
the Chinese people. However, even though less than one percent of
all food exports had problems, those products need attention; the
volume of trade means that the impact of this small percentage could
still be significant. [Comment: Interestingly in most other
interactions with the Chinese, this figure is presented to mean that
over 99 percent of food exports are compliant, meaning they pass
Chinese standards for export. This time, the Minister's comment is
focused on the small percent that does not pass quality inspection
standards. End comment.] Minister Chen recounted the Ministry's
many roles in food safety, highlighting its growing engagements with
international and multilateral coordination (e.g., with WHO, FAO,
and the Codex Alimentaris).

8. (SBU) Minister Chen referenced the new leading group on food
and product quality led by Vice Premier Wu Yi. China's priority
task was to enact new regulations and laws so that the legal
environment for food/product safety would be complete. There also
needed to be further clarity about the responsibilities among the
various Chinese government agencies charged with food and product
safety. At a State Council meeting, Chen said that Premier Wen
Jiabao had stated clearly that offenders should be punished. Within
the Ministry of Health, Chen said he had four priorities with
respect to food safety: (1) intensify market rectification; (2)
strengthen the supervision/examination system; (3) strengthen risk
assessment and reporting and precautionary (or prevention)systems;
and (4) establish better standards for food safety.

BEIJING 00006675 003 OF 004

9. (SBU) Minister Chen further indicated his desire to work more
closely with and to learn from the FDA in the areas of risk
evaluation, risk management and risk assessment. He expressed
appreciation for FDA's alert about shipments of contaminated U.S.
peanut butter to China. He praised the FDA's transparent approach
and commitment to protecting consumers. Echoing comments that each
had made in their morning speeches at the Symposium, the two
officials noted and agreed that another area for future
collaboration (beyond the current food and drug safety issues) was
in the research and development of new drugs and conducting clinical
trials. Minister Chen also welcomed additional U.S. efforts on
capacity building. He also noted that the Chinese media could play
a positive role in publicizing food safety problems.

Lunch with AQSIQ Vice Minister Wei Chuanzhong
---------------------------------------------

10. (SBU) In the lunch meeting, AQSIQ Vice Minister Wei Chuanzhong
acknowledged that he and Commissioner were old friends through
correspondence and that the recent discussions between their
technical teams was similarly bringing their agencies closer through
ongoing dialogues, information sharing, improved understanding and
mutual benefits. VM Wei continued by expressing appreciation for
the practical and sincere attitudes of the FDA in the food and feed
safety discussions where consensus on the main points had already
been reached. Promising to provide written feedback next week, VM
Wei pledged to try and convince the technical teams to travel to
Washington the last week of October. The Vice Minister also
indicated that AQSIQ would bring with them on that trip the next
batch of information (further data on 15-20 different farm-raising
firms) to clear Chinese aquaculture firms from the current detention
order. Commissioner von Eschenbach responded by expressing
appreciation for the AQSIQ commitment in working towards their
common goals of assuring that products are of highest quality and
that the MOA, once signed, will serve as a strong foundation upon
which both sides can build capacities, address challenges, and learn
from each other.

Visit to Shanghai Port
----------------------

11. (U) A visit the Weigaoqiao Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine
bureau (CIQ) facility offered a glimpse of testing procedures for
food safety, demonstrated using a recent arrival of chicken legs.
During this tour, the Commissioner indicated to CIQ hosts Shanghai
CIQ Deputy Director-General Xu Chaoje, and Weigaoqiao CIQ Director
Dong Chao that the receiving and laboratory inspection facilities as
well as the container terminals compared favorably to the
Commissioner's recent visits to similar facilities in the United
States [Comment: CIQ hosts indicated that Shanghai is the largest
port in China, and that last year the Weigaoqiao facilities
processed 28,800 ships, over 110 million tons or 21 percent of
Shanghai's volume.]


Commissioner's Keynote Speech
-----------------------------

12. (U) Commissioner von Eschenbach's and Health Minister Chen's
keynote speeches contained forward-looking acknowledgements of the
rapid bio-medical developments occurring; acknowledgements of the
epidemiological shifts in the types of diseases being faced today
(fewer communicable and more chronic); and positive assessments of
the valuable contributions arising from Sino-U.S. scientific
exchanges. Both leaders noted their agencies' efforts to move
toward early detection and prevention intervention of diseases.
Minister Chen highlighted China's efforts to deliver, and health
care for the rural population in the medium and long-term. Advances
in science and technology serve as change-agents to facilitate

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delivery methodologies and knowledge. The Commissioner's talk
similarly acknowledged the rapid changes of science and technology
but emphasized a need for both of our countries to focus on the ties
that bind us together, uniting the people of the world to fight the
common enemy of disease using new interventions and therapeutic
agents as well as sharing information. Both speakers referenced how
health care is changing and how it needs to incorporate the "four
P's" (personalization, predictability; pre-emptive or
prevention-focused; participation) to be more effective.

Comment
-------

13. (SBU) Commissioner von Eschenbach engaged Minister Chen on
several occasions, and the two spoke easily together in English and
as scientific colleagues with a high degree of mutual respect and
friendliness readily apparent. Their dialogues covered a wide-range
of topics including the Minister's research in leukemia and the
differences in his responsibilities from a hospital-based (Ruijin
Hospital) researcher to now serving as the new Minister of Health.
Minister Chen even introduced the Commissioner to his parents during
the Symposium dinner banquet as the culmination of his story about
his decisions to become a doctor and relating experiences of his
early career during and immediately after the Cultural Revolution.
Highlighting the difference between these informal interactions and
the other formal meetings, Minister Chen before their formal
bilateral meeting quietly and apologetically said to Commissioner
von Eschenbach in English that, since this was a government meeting,
he would have to speak in Chinese.

14. (SBU) The Commissioner's interactions with SFDA Commissioner
Shao Mingli were characterized by a high-level of mutual
friendliness and respect that had clearly developed over the past
year since the FDA centennial celebration which Shao attended.
Noting that he was but the second SFDA Commissioner (compared to Dr.
von Eschenbach being the 20th FDA Commissioner) Commissioner Shao
indicated he hoped that he could learn from their relationship and
that SFDA could benefit more from the budding collaboration and
cooperation evolving between their agencies. Madam Qu, as she had
done in July in Washington, provided frank and open assessments on
the relationships between the agencies and the MOA document. While
not as warm an encounter as with the SFDA Commisioner Shao, Madam Qu
and Commissioner von Eschenbach talked easily, sharing experiences
and looking forward to on-going discussions between the technical
teams as well as closer relationships between their agencies.

16. (SBU) The meeting with AQSIQ VW Wei over a short lunch still
demonstrated that both the Commissioner and Wei were confidant and
comfortable letting their staff (technical teams) work out the
details of the MOA language in the up-coming negotiations. Despite
only meeting face-to-face once before, they were relaxed and
comfortably talked about personal things like their home towns and
professional experiences leading up to their current positions.
They were at ease sharing the developing and improving collaboration
between AQSIQ and FDA as they each reaffirmed to one another the
benefits of increased product safety that would accrue for their
citizens and their governments.

RANDT

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