Cablegate: France Agricultural Biotech Outreach Proposal
DE RUEHFR #0235 0421134
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 111134Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1927
INFO RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS 2181
UNCLAS PARIS 000235
STATE FOR EEB/TPP/ABT/BTT Q JOHN FINN AND GARY CLEMENTS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ECON TBIO ETRD KPAO FR
SUBJECT: FRANCE AGRICULTURAL BIOTECH OUTREACH PROPOSAL
REF:07 STATE 160639
1. (U) Economic Minister-Counselor, Agricultural Minister-Counselor,
Public Affairs Minister-Counselor and Science Counselor present this
joint request for support from EEB FY 2008 biotech outreach funds
for critical public outreach in France. In the wake of late 2007
GOF broad-based environmental consultations, government policy on
agricultural biotechnology has succumbed to populist non
science-based pressures and has turned decidedly negative. With its
upcoming EU presidency, FranceQs views on the subject will impact
the evolution of the global environment for this technology not only
in the European Union, but worldwide.
2. (U) When President Sarkozy held a press conference to announce
the conclusions of the environmental consultations, he highlighted
concerns about Qpesticide GMOsQ and announced a freeze on their
planting. High-level Ministry of Environment officials have made it
known that their concern about biotech is environmental (as opposed
to food safety). The proposed program would improve understanding of
how GMOs interact with the environment and encourage acceptance of
the environmental benefits of biotechnology by policymakers and
consumers. The program would also be designed to encourage the
adoption of a science-based regulatory system in France.
3. (U) A. Program description: We are requesting a high-level
speaker who will address how GM plants interact with the
environment, particularly, those with pesticide-resistant traits.
-What is the U.S. experience with the sustainability of
pesticide-resistant and herbicide-tolerant transgenic technology and
its impact on non-GM plants and weeds?
- How do U.S. farmers use biotechnology as part of their sustainable
disease management system?
- How does the USG (particularly EPA) regulate pest-resistant
-Do GM plants threaten local insect populations?
B. (U) Time Frame: We are requesting a high-level speaker for at
least three days in Paris. If available for a longer period, we
could develop other programs outside of Paris.
Best periods and venue are:
- Annual French agricultural show in Paris, held in late
- Economic committee meeting of leading French farmers union (FNSEA)
C. (U) Purpose of the Program: To counterbalance the recent French
negative stance on biotechnology by increasing understanding by
policy makers and the public of how genetically-modified crops
interact with the environment. To encourage France to adopt a
rational, science-based co-existence regime, and to discourage the
GOF from using spurious scientific arguments to justify a negative
policy approach in France and at the EU level.
(U) This program can be expected to positively address French
policymakersQ and consumersQ concerns associated with biotechnology.
It will provide practical information on how GM technology can be
safely integrated into the agricultural economy without significant
negative impacts on conventional crops and the environment, and can
offer environmental benefits.
D. (U) Audience: The speakers will give presentations to French
regulators (government representatives and Parliamentarians), farm
organizations, planting seed associations, the animal feed industry,
agri-food industry, students and press.
E. (U) Proposed topics and nature of events: how GM plants interact
with the environment, particularly, pest-resist GMO varieties; and
environmental benefits of agricultural biotechnology. We will
organize various presentations, more or less technical, depending on
the audience. We will also have presentations for students in
science and in agriculture.
F. (U) We anticipate the cost of the proposed program to be
I. (U) NAME AND CONTACT OF PROGRAM OFFICER: Sylvie Vacheret,
Economic Public Affairs Specialist. Tel. 33-1-4312-4897, cell
phone: 33-6-20 35 16 41, fax 33-1-4312-4932. E-mail:
J. (U) We would like to use EB fund for speakers on agricultural