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Cablegate: Taiwan Biotech: 2008 Outreach Proposals

VZCZCXRO9420
PP RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHVC
DE RUEHIN #0184/01 0360500
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 050500Z FEB 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8089
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 TAIPEI 000184

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE PLEASE PASS TO AIT/W AND EAP/RSP/TC, EAP/PD, R, ECA/PE/V/F,
EEB/TPP/ABT/BTT
STATE PASS USTR/DAVID KATZ AND JARED RAGLAND
USDA FAS FOR OSTA - Mike Henney and Melissa Clarkson
USDA FAS FOR OCRA - Lori Smith
USDOC FOR 4430/ITA/MAC


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ETRD KPAO OEXC OIIP SENV TBIO TW
SUBJECT: Taiwan Biotech: 2008 Outreach Proposals

Ref: 07 STATE 160639

1. (U) This is an action request. See paragraphs 4, 11, and 18.

Background
-----------

2. (SBU) Taiwan is the U.S.'s sixth largest agricultural export
market. In 2006, the United States exported more than USD 2.5
billion of agricultural, fish and forest products to Taiwan, USD one
billion of which was biotech products. Taiwan has committed
significant resources to domestic biotechnology research, but none
of Taiwan's many locally-developed products have been approved for
commercial development, due mostly to environmental concerns about
biotechnology. In addition, international firms seeking approval
for biotech products in Taiwan often face requests for information
that are not pertinent to food safety, and Taiwan's slow biotech
approval process has sometimes threatened to disrupt trade.

3. (SBU) AIT/T believes that Taiwan has the potential to become one
of the world's early adopters, commercializers, and exporters of
biotechnology. A biotech-friendly Taiwan would both increase
overall U.S. exports of biotech products to Taiwan, and reduce the
likelihood of costly disruptions to Taiwan's imports of U.S. biotech
products. To help achieve this goal, post would like to use USD
37,465 of funds available under the EB Biotechnology Initiative to
raise awareness of the benefits and safety of biotech products among
Taiwan's key policy-makers, scientists, agricultural producers, and
general public.

Part One: U.S. Speaker Program (Workshop)
-----------------------------------------

4. (U) Proposal: Co-sponsor with a local NGO a one-day seminar or
workshop on the future importance of biotech to Taiwan's economy, in
conjunction with the Executive Yuan (EY) Council for Economic
Planning and Development (CEPD) or similar pro-growth economic
organization. Focus would be on the safety of biotech products,
Taiwan's strong indigenous biotech industry, and the possible
economic benefits of biotech for high-quality economic growth in
Taiwan.

5. (U) Cost: USD 21,550. Including:

--No cost for the venue, which we could hold at the AIT/PAS American
Culture Center (ACC).

--No extra cost for lunch and refreshments, which will be covered by
the co-sponsor.

--USD 1000 to defray the cost of travel for researchers from outside
greater Taipei. This is essential to ensuring island-wide
participation, especially from the more agriculture-dependent
south.

--USD 1250 for one day of simultaneous interpretation services.

--USD 1300 for publications and small commemorative gift, such as
pens or mugs, which usually cost about USD five per set. Such gifts
are customary in Taiwan, and not giving out some small commemorative
item to the attendees would be unusual.

--USD 18,000 for two speakers on U.S. and world biotech issues,
including about USD 14,000 for two business-class airline tickets,
USD 300 for materials allowance for two speakers, USD 1600 for USD
200 honorarium for each speaker per day for four days (two days of
travel, one day of speaking, and one rest day), and $1758 for three
days of lodging and MI&E for two people. Please note that AIT's
speaker budget is extremely limited in FY 2008, and it won't be
possible to fund such speakers without using these special biotech
funds.

6. (SBU) The target audiences: 20-30 agricultural researchers at key
universities and institutes; 10-20 key policymakers at the
Department of Health and the Council of Agriculture, 10 participants
from regional agriculture institutions.

7. (SBU) Specific agbiotech issues to be addressed: Proven safety
and efficiency of biotech products, both from the United States and
(potentially) Taiwan; positive outlook for future growth of Taiwan's
indigenous biotech research industry; benefits of biotech products
for Taiwan's food producers; benefits of low-pesticide biotech
products for Taiwan's environment and public health; benefits of
agricultural biotechnology and the adoption and development of

TAIPEI 00000184 002 OF 003


biotechnology in other countries; helping Taiwan researchers and
regulators improve the commercialization of research.

8. (SBU) U.S. policy objectives: Our overall effort is focused on
giving Taiwan a stake in risk-based biotechnology regulation and
thereby reducing the likelihood of trade disruptions due to concerns
about biotechnology. Encouraging Taiwan to commercialize some of
its promising biotech research may turn Taiwan into an active
supporter of biotechnology in the WTO and other fora. Taiwan's
support for the G-10 may also diminish over the long term if, as is
likely, the new cultivars reduce area dedicated to rice production.

9. (U) Proposed length of program: One-day seminar

10. (U) Post responsible officers and contact information: Economic
Officer Matthew O'Connor (o'connorme@state.gov), FAS Officer Alan
Hallman (Alan.Hallman@usda.gov), and Cultural Affairs Officer Nick
Papp (pappn@state.gov)


Part Two: U.S. Speaker Program (Public Outreach)
--------------------------------------------- ---

11. (U) Proposal: Programming speakers from the United
States--already in Taiwan on Part One of the proposal--to speak on
biotech and biotech commercialization issues. Programs could include
round-table discussions with academic and other experts contracted
by the Taiwan authorities to draft food safety regulations for foods
derived from microorganisms and/or animals created with modern
transgenic techniques. The speakers would share the U.S. experience
and process of regulating biotech micro-organisms and/or animals,
answer questions about the safety of these products, speak with
policy-makers about the commercial outlook for this kind of
biotechnology, and help instill confidence in the U.S. regulatory
system.

12. (U) Cost: USD 5900. No cost for the travel to Taiwan, since we
will piggyback this on Part One of the proposal. Additional cost
for three days of lodging and MI&E for each speaker would be USD 293
* 3 = USD 879, or for two people = USD 1758, plus USD 200 honorarium
for two speakers for three days of speaking and travel = USD 1200,
USD 1250 per day for two days of interpretation = USD 2500, and
about USD 200 per person for domestic travel expenses = USD 400)

13. (SBU) The target audiences: Broad audiences of agricultural
researchers at key universities and institutes, food-safety
regulation experts, local and mid-level government officials,
agricultural associations, influential scientists, and the general
public.

14. (SBU) Specific agbiotech issues to be addressed: Proven safety
and efficiency of biotech products; positive outlook for future
growth of Taiwan's indigenous biotech research industry; benefits of
biotech products for Taiwan's food producers; benefits of
low-pesticide biotech products for Taiwan's environment and public
health; the importance of science-based safety assessment for GM
crops; benefits of agricultural biotechnology and the adoption and
development of biotechnology in other countries; helping Taiwan
researchers and regulators improve the commercialization of
research.

15. (SBU) U.S. policy objectives: The overall effort is focused on
giving Taiwan a stake in risk-based biotechnology regulation and
thereby reducing the likelihood of trade disruptions due to concerns
about biotechnology. In addition, encouraging Taiwan to
commercialize some of its promising biotech research may turn Taiwan
into an active supporter of biotechnology in the WTO and other fora.
Taiwan's support for the G-10 may also diminish over the long term
if, as is likely, the new cultivars reduce area dedicated to rice
production.

16. (U) Proposed length of program: three days of travel and
events.

17. (U) Post responsible officers and contact information: Economic
Officer Matthew O'Connor (o'connorme@state.gov), FAS Officer Alan
Hallman (Alan.Hallman@usda.gov), and Cultural Affairs Officer Nick
Papp (pappn@state.gov)

Part Three: U.S. Speaker Program ("Teach the Teachers")
--------------------------------------------- ----------

18. (U) Proposal: Bring a Mandarin Chinese speaker well versed in
agricultural biotechnology and instructional methods to Taiwan to

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host educational programs and speaking engagements for high-school
teachers and the general public. Media workshops are also possible.

19. (U) Cost: USD 10,015. Including about USD 7,000 for
business-class airline tickets, USD 150 for materials allowance, USD
1200 for USD 200 honorarium per day for six days (two days of
travel, three days of speaking, and one rest day), $1465 for five
days of lodging and MI&E, and about USD 200 for local travel costs.
Please note that AIT's speaker budget is extremely limited in FY
2008, and it won't be possible to fund such a speaker without using
these special biotech funds.

20. (SBU) The target audiences: High-school science teachers, with a
secondary audience of the general Taiwan public.

21. (SBU) Specific agbiotech issues to be addressed: Proven safety
and efficiency of biotech products, both from the United States and
(potentially) Taiwan; benefits of low-pesticide biotech products for
Taiwan's environment and public health; benefits of agricultural
biotechnology and the adoption and development of biotechnology in
other countries.

22. (SBU) U.S. policy objectives: This part of our biotech outreach
effort would focus on giving Taiwan's secondary-level science
teachers a better understanding of the science and safety of
agricultural biotechnology, thereby increasing general knowledge of
biotech and reducing trade disruptions due to unfounded public
concerns about biotechnology.

23. (U) Proposed length of program: Five days, including three days
of programming plus two days of travel and one day of rest.

24. (U) Post responsible officers and contact information: Economic
Officer Matthew O'Connor (o'connorme@state.gov), FAS Officer Alan
Hallman (Alan.Hallman@usda.gov), and Cultural Affairs Officer Nick
Papp (pappn@state.gov).

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