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Cablegate: Peru Request for Eeb Fy08 Biotech Funds

VZCZCXYZ0010
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHPE #0226/01 0381413
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 071413Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY LIMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7858
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 5497
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ FEB QUITO 1740
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 1739
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 7760
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS LIMA 000226

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EEB/TPP/ABT JFINN & GCLEMENTS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ENRG SENV ECON ETRD TBIO KPAO PE
SUBJECT: PERU REQUEST FOR EEB FY08 BIOTECH FUNDS

REF: STATE 9674 AND PREVIOUS

1. This is an action request. See paragraphs 5-7.

BACKGROUND
----------
2. Post appreciates the opportunity to request funding for
agricultural biotech initiatives. Peru is a high priority
country (reftels) and our newest free trade agreement
partner. Peru allows the import of agbiotech products, but
does not allow them to be grown in-country. There is a
proposed law promoting biotech pending before the Peruvian
Congress, which would allow cultivation of biotech crops.
U.S. firms, like Monsanto, are eager to plant biotech crops
in Peru.

EMBASSY ENGAGED ON BIOTECH
--------------------------
3. Embassy Lima's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) is in
constant engagement with GOP officials on biotech issues and
has been implementing a series of initiatives promoting
biotech in Peru. FAS has sent Peruvians to past APEC
High-Level Policy Dialogue on Agricultural Biotechnology
(HLPDAB) meetings, which include private sector days, and is
helping the GOP prepare to host the HLPDAB in late February
2008. In 2007, FAS also brought two academic speakers to
Peru to explain the benefits and safety of agbiotech to the
GOP, universities, NGOs, and the Peruvian Congress. FAS also
sponsored a 2007 agbiotech survey o the greater Lima area to
gauge understanding of the issues. FAS sponsored agbiotech
toolbox training in Lima in November 2007 to assess needs and
abilities, and will send Peruvians (from GOP's ag research
institute) to the next phase of training in the Philippines
in February 2008. Finally, FAS supported the creation of the
first biotech NGO in Peru, PeruBio.

FOCUS ON BIOFUELS IN 2008
-------------------------
4. While the Embassy is fully engaged on biotech issues, we
would like to increase our engagement in biofuels in response
to GOP requests and U.S. investor interest. The GOP, which
has established biodiesel and ethanol requirements for fuels
beginning in 2009 and 2010, has repeatedly asked for USG
assistance in this area. The GOP has selected U.S. standards
for its biofuels, and we are exploring the possibility of
signing a bilateral memorandum of understanding. U.S.,
European and Brazilian firms are swarming to Peru to take
advantage of excellent agricultural and economic
environments, as well as the provision of the U.S.-Peru Trade
Promotion Agreement (PTPA) that grants Peruvian ethanol
tariff free access to the U.S. market. FAS, the Economic
Section and the Public Affairs Section plan on using Cochran
Fellowships, Borlaug Fellowships, Faculty Exchange Programs,
PL-480 funds, Embassy Science Fellowships, International
Visitor Programs, and other opportunities to foster bilateral
cooperation and exchanges on biofuels in 2008.

ACTION: REGIONAL PROGRAM REQUEST
--------------------------------
5. Embassy Lima is working with Embassy La Paz and the OES
Hub in Brasilia to organize a biofuels conference in several
sites in Peru and Bolivia. The main purpose of the
conference will be to discuss ways to ensure a sustainable
biofuels industry that fully takes into account
environmental, development and agricultural (food crop
substitution) aspects. Peruvian sites include Lima and
possibly a jungle city (Iquitos or Pucallpa). We understand
this proposal has already been submitted to EEB and we fully
support the request for funds to help bring it to fruition.

ACTION: BIOFUEL CROPS EDUCATION
-------------------------------
6. In addition, post requests EEB funds to help both the
Peruvian public and agricultural researchers understand the
comparative benefits of the wide range of biofuel crops,
including those that use biotechnology. We request $5,000 of
funding for 2 experts (about $2,500 each) to come to Peru for
four days to discuss these issues with GOP officials,
researchers, and the public. The first two days in Lima
would include meetings with GOP officials, a public
presentation at a university and press interviews. The
subsequent two days would be in Tarapoto, San Martin region
(in the jungle) to have similar meetings at the regional
level plus a much more technical exchange with the Tropical
Crops Institute (ICT).

7. The ICT is a modern, USG-funded alternative development
agricultural research center that is beginning to focus on
biofuel crops. It was launched with NAS (INL) funding, and
the USG has invested $10 million in what is Peru's best
jungle research center. ICT provides training to farmers,
conducts scientific agricultural research applicable to all
of Peru's distinct environments, and is a key tool in
alternative (to coca) development and poverty reduction. NAS
funding for the center is drying up, so post is exploring
ways to make the ICT self-sufficient, including through
commercial applications, fee-for-service and incorporation of
biofuel crops. The EEB funds would help us inform GOP
decision makers and the Peruvian public, respond to the GOP's
request for biofuels cooperation, and help keep the vital ICT
afloat.

EMBASSY POINTS OF CONTACT
-------------------------
8. Post's agbiotech POCs:

Marcos Mandojana
Deputy Economic Counselor
mandojanamc(at)state.gov
(51-1) 618-2411

Carlos Gonzalez
FAS Agricultural Attache'
carlos.gonzales(at)fas.usda.gov
(51-1) 618-2789
MCKINLEY

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