Search

 

Cablegate: Usda Under Secretary Keenum Co-Chairs 3rd U.S.-Brazil

VZCZCXRO4940
RR RUEHRG
DE RUEHBR #1000/01 2061026
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 241026Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2163
INFO RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 2482
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 6443
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 8309

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 BRASILIA 001000

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

STATE FOR USAID
USDA FFS USEC KEENUM
USDA FAS/OA FOR MYOST & CJACKSON
USDA FAS/OFSO FOR AREA DIRECTOR JBAILEY
USDA FAS/OCRA FOR BZANIN
USDA FAS/OSTO FOR JHAIN
USDA FAS/OGA FOR RSCHWARZ & MDWYER
USDA APHIS/IS DSHEESLEY
USTR JMURPHY
USTR KDUCKWORTH

TOFAS 004 ADMIN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ETRD BR
SUBJECT: USDA UNDER SECRETARY KEENUM CO-CHAIRS 3RD U.S.-BRAZIL
CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE IN BRASILIA MAY 19-20

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Dr. Mark Keenum, USDA Under Secretary Farm and
Foreign Agricultural Services co-chaired the 3rd U.S.-Brazil
Consultative Committee on Agriculture in Brasilia May 19-20, 2008
which was successful in expanding bilateral dialogue and in nudging
the agricultural trade agenda with Brazil forward. Under-Secretary
Keenum's visit, which included meetings with major agribusiness
representatives, also provided opportunities to counter unfavorable
international press information linking the rise in world food
prices to U.S. biofuels feedstock production. END SUMMARY

THE U.S.-BRAZIL CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE

2. (SBU) The US-Brazil Consultative Committee on Agriculture (CCA)
was the result of the initiatives of Presidents George W. Bush and
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on the occasion of their first official
meeting in June 2003, and established through an official document
signed the same month by then USDA Secretary of Agriculture Ann M.
Veneman and Brazilian Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Food
Supply (MAPA) Roberto Rodrigues. The first plenary session of the
CCA was held in March 2004 in Brasilia and the second meeting in
September 2005 in Washington D.C. A CCA Mid-Term Review also took
place in Washington in September 2004, and a meeting of the CCA
Working Group on Multilateral Issues occurred in February 2006 in
Brasilia.

3. (SBU) Following opening comments from Celio Porto, MAPA's
Under-Secretary of International Relations for Agribusiness and USDA
Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Keenum,
the third meeting of the U.S.-Brazil Consultative Committee on
Agriculture at the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and
Food Supply (MAPA) quickly got down to more specific discussion of a
range of bilateral issues, principally regarding market access
requests of both countries. Michael Yost, Administrator of the
Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), and Dan Sheesley, Deputy
Administrator for International Services, Animal and Plant Health
Inspection Service (APHIS), also led U.S. delegation discussion
during the meeting.

DISCUSSION OF BRAZIL'S TOP PRIORITY MARKET ACCESS REQUESTS

4. (SBU) Brazil raised the status of its request to export fresh and
frozen beef to the United States. MAPA noted that USDA had completed
its risk analysis and expressed a keen interest in eventually
shipping product under the U.S. WTO tariff rate quota for third
countries. The U.S. Delegation recognized the importance of the
issue to Brazil but also expressed concerns about Foot-and-Mouth
Disease (FMD) and referred to FMD outbreaks that occurred in Brazil
at inopportune points during the risk assessment process. The U.S.
side acknowledged, however, that work on Brazil's request is again
moving forward.

5. (SBU) MAPA officials also raised its interest in U.S. recognition
of the state of Santa Catarina ("regionalization") for exports of
beef and pork to the U.S. market, and expressed concern that after
one year of official recognition of Santa Catarina as a FMD-free
area without vaccination by the World Organization for Animal Health
(OIE), no practical results have been achieved. The U.S. Delegation
confirmed that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
(APHIS) had recently received additional required information from
Brazil and that an APHIS technical visit to Santa Catarina was
scheduled for June 9.

6. (SBU) MAPA renewed its interest in exporting poultry meat to the
United States and clarified that the official Food Safety and
Inspection Service (FSIS) questionnaire is being completed and is
expected to be finished before technical sanitary and phytosanitary
meetings scheduled between both countries occur in August 2008.

7. (SBU) MAPA discussed the long term efforts Brazil has invested in
establishing the Anastrepha grandis pest free area in the Northeast
region of Brazil, its impact on the local economy and hopes that the
area would soon be expanded according to its official request
previously submitted. The U.S. side explained that Brazil's request
is being assessed under the new Quarantine 56 (Q56) process and a

BRASILIA 00001000 002 OF 004


result would come soon. Note: official approval of expansion of
this area was announced in early June.

8. (SBU) The Brazilian delegation also requested a reduction in the
number of on site APHIS inspectors for Brazilian mango exports and
the transfer of inspection responsibilities to Brazilian
technicians. MAPA said it will send an official request for further
training, required by APHIS, to facilitate its request. The
Brazilian side expressed hope this all would occur in time for the
upcoming harvest season. APHIS agreed to review this request
expeditiously and said that further technical discussions are
needed.

9. (SBU) MAPA asked for an update on the status of the Pest Risk
Analysis (PRA) for Citrus latifolia (Tahitian lime) and stated that
it would like to resubmit its earlier request in order to expand it
to include tangerines, oranges and lemons. The U.S. delegation said
this highly technical issue will be discussed at the August
technical meetings noting that an official request needs to be sent
to the USDA office in Brasilia.

DISCUSSION OF THE UNITED STATES' TOP PRIORITY MARKET ACCESS REQUESTS


10. (SBU) Under Secretary Keenum made clear U.S. concerns that one
year after receiving its controlled risk classification regarding
Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) by the World Organization for
Animal Health, Brazil has not opened its market to U.S. beef, beef
products, and live cattle. He requested further discussions to
determine the specific steps needed to export U.S. ruminants and
ruminant products to Brazil consistent with OIE recommendations on
BSE. MAPA indicated a need for additional information in order to
start a detailed risk analysis. Brazil also stressed that equal
consideration should cover the whole range of diseases in matters
such as equivalence and regionalization. Note: innumerable
interventions and demarches by the U.S. Embassy and top level USDA
officials over the past year and a half have been unproductive.

11. (SBU) Dr. Keenum also expressed concern about restrictions
regarding certain specified varieties of wheat and specific ports
authorized to import wheat into Brazil. MAPA said its main concern
is the introduction of quarantine (exotic) pests. MAPA noted that
analysis of the specific U.S. request on wheat is in process, and
that it will allow for recognition of new pest-free areas and
approval of all wheat varieties. Officials added that publication of
new requirements is expected to be completed by the end of 2008.

12. (SBU) Dr. Keenum expressed appreciation for the recent agreement
on new sanitary conditions for shipping day old chicks and stated
that he looks forward to the publication of the Normative
Instruction in the official gazette of the Government of Brazil
(equivalent of the Federal Register). MAPA clarified that it will be
published soon, as it depends now only on administrative
procedures.

13. (SBU) Administrator Yost requested an update on Brazil's
requirement of an official consular stamp purchased from the
Brazilian Embassy or Consulates in the United States for all
sanitary and phytosanitary certificates for agricultural products.
The continuing requirement for consular stamps for live animals,
such as day old chicks, continues to be a trade irritant for U.S.
exporters that increases costs and delays shipment. MAPA clarified
that for animal products, a consular stamp is no longer required due
to a modification in Brazilian legislation. They also said that
through an administrative error in the regulation, the stamp
requirement for live animals was not eliminated but that a proposal
legally modifying administrative procedures is dependent on
administrative procedures for sending the proposal of legal
modification to the Brazilian National Congress. Post discussed
this issue recently with MAPA officials, who informed us that such a
change in legislation does not need to go to Congress, but only to
the President's office. MAPA has not formalized the request yet.
The U.S. Delegation requested a waiver for the consular stamp
requirement until Brazil resolves this issue.

BRASILIA 00001000 003 OF 004

USDA PRESENTATION ON RISING WORLD FOOD PRICES

14. (SBU) Under Secretary Keenum gave a concise presentation about
the causes of rising global food prices, touching on macroeconomic
factors, market dynamics and specific policy measures. The
presentation highlighted the situation for four commodities
specifically: corn, soybeans, rice and wheat. MAPA also presented
its interpretation and noted that its conclusions are similar to
that of USDA.

BRAZIL'S BIOFUELS PROGRAM AND REGULATORY PROCESS FOR ANIMAL PRODUCT
IMPORTS

15. (SBU) MAPA gave a cogent presentation that covered Brazil's
potential for all biofuels production, main production areas,
expansion of sugarcane production, status of the ethanol industry
and the role of flex-fuel vehicles. MAPA's analysis demonstrated
that the Amazon region is inappropriate for sugarcane production due
to logistical problems and agricultural growing conditions. MAPA
argued that Brazilian agricultural area expansion will occur through
a reduction in livestock area.

16. (SBU) MAPA also discussed in detail its regulatory process for
approving imports of animal products and explained aspects of its
organizational structure, highlighting details regarding MAPA's
specific competencies as well as Brazilian legislation and
procedures of risk analysis for importing animals and animal
products. Administrator Yost inquired if MAPA has any further
concerns with USDA's economic analysis under its risk assessment
process, an issue that Brazil raised during the World Trade
Organization Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Committee Meeting in
April 2008. MAPA indicated they had no concerns. APHIS asked how
Brazil's SPS regulations are linked to SPS regulations implemented
by Mercosur. MAPA indicated that it implements its own regulations
and follows international rules.

COOPERATION IN INTERNATIONAL FORA

17. (SBU) USDA took the opportunity to promote the candidacy of Dr.
Karen Hulebak for Chair of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. MAPA
indicated its support, but duly noted that the Brazilian official
position is coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and
involves other governmental agencies that participate in the
inter-agency processes regarding Codex. MAPA said it would propose
Dr. Hulebak's candidacy during inter-agency discussions on Codex.

18. (SBU) MAPA explained its concerns about geographic dispersion of
Codex committees and proposed that they should all be hosted in a
single location in order to facilitate participation by more
countries. The Brazilian side said that it has the support of Latin
American and Caribbean countries and requested U.S. support on the
issue. Brazil also requested a meeting with the United States,
Argentina, Canada and Mexico before the next meeting of the
Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)
Executive Committee scheduled for July 16th, 2008 in Costa Rica in
order to discuss more optimal use of IICA resources. The United
States said it would consider these recommendations.

19. (SBU) Administrator Yost expressed U.S. appreciation for the
positions taken by Brazil in the recent May COP/MOP 4 meeting in
Bonn, Germany, particularly with regard to liability and redress
issues under the Cartagena Protocol. Both delegations agreed with
the view that the Cartagena Protocol should not discourage
biotechnology development nor result in trade restrictions.

20. (SBU) MAPA expressed concerns over the growing use of private
standards in trade of agricultural products and the fact that these
standards can be used to inhibit trade. MAPA asked the U.S. opinion
regarding Argentina's proposal to establish a working group within
the WTO SPS Committee to address this issue. Administrator Yost
informed MAPA that USTR is the lead on this issue for the U.S.
Government.


BRASILIA 00001000 004 OF 004


CAPACITY BUILDING

21. (SBU) MAPA expressed interest in trade capacity training in the
following areas: information exchange regarding pest risk analysis
and plant quarantine procedures, alternative microbiological methods
for analysis of meat products, and FSIS analysis methods for
antibiotics detection in animal products. MAPA indicated it would
cover its expenses. USDA agreed to take these requests under
consideration.

NEXT STEPS ON SPS ISSUES AND THE NEXT CCA

22. (SBU) MAPA reconfirmed its earlier request that technical
meetings with APHIS take place in Washington D.C. August 12-15 in
order to discuss technical aspects of issues raised during the CCA
meeting. MAPA also requested to meet with FSIS and FAS staff during
this visit. USDA tentatively agreed on the date and venue of the
meeting and requested that a detailed agenda be sent to USDA
representatives in Brasilia well in advance. Both delegations
tentatively agreed the next CCA meeting should take place in
Washington D.C. in September 2009.

COMMENT

23. (SBU) Although MAPA was initially skeptical of the proposed
agenda for the CCA during discussions earlier in May, the Brazilian
side was very pleased with the outcome of the meeting and the fact
that technical meetings in August had been agreed to.

24. (SBU) Under Secretary Keenum and Secretary Porto held a joint
press conference and made very similar comments regarding the jump
in world food prices, the actions of a number of major world food
importers and exporters, and global criticism of biofuels programs.

25. (SBU) Under Secretary Keenum was interviewed by Brazil's leading
business newspaper in Brasilia and while visiting with agricultural
industry members in Sao Paulo earlier during his visit, all of which
resulted in accurate accounts of developments regarding world food
prices, the U.S. Farm Bill, the WTO Doha Round negotiations and the
recent release of the WTO Appellate Body Report on Brazil's cotton
case.

SAO PAULO AND FIELD VISITS

26. (SBU) Prior to the CCA, Dr. Keenum met with a cross-section of
industry leaders in the city of Sao Paulo, including the Brazilian
Sugar and Ethanol Producers' Association (UNICA) and FIESP, the Sao
Paulo State Federation of Industries. Dr. Keenum also visited
sugarcane/ethanol and coffee producing areas of Sao Paulo State and
a large commercial farm in the state of Goias that produces
soybeans, corn, coffee, wheat and cotton. Discussions largely
focused on the state of Brazilian agribusiness, high global food
prices, the U.S. Farm Bill and the WTO Doha Round.

SOBEL

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO: