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Cablegate: Manila Response to Apec Food Defense Pilot Projects

VZCZCXRO6113
OO RUEHCHI RUEHFK RUEHHM RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHPB
DE RUEHML #1887 2210623
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 080623Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1528
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHZU/ASIAN PACIFIC ECONOMIC COOPERATION IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS MANILA 001887

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

STATE PASS USTR FOR AA/ANE, AA/G

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER TBIO APECO EAGR RP
SUBJECT: MANILA RESPONSE TO APEC FOOD DEFENSE PILOT PROJECTS

REF: SECSTATE 83232

1. (SBU) Summary: Post offers pros and cons for including the
Philippines as pilot area for the APEC Food Defense Projects. The
Philippines is a willing partner with a great deal of bilateral
trade in food and food products, but at times has issues with
program follow-through.

2. (U) The Philippines enjoys a robust trade in agriculture,
fisheries, and forest products with the United States. The
Philippines is a key U.S. market in ASEAN, and the U.S. is the
number one market for Philippine agricultural, fish, and forestry
exports. In 2007, Philippine exports to the U.S. reached $992
million, an 8% increase from 2006. Major exports are coconut oil;
fish and seafood; tropical fruits and vegetables; and sugar. The
Philippines imported $1.15 billion worth of agricultural products
from the U.S. in 2007, an increase of more than 25% from 2006. Top
U.S. exports to the Philippines include wheat; soybean and soybean
meal; dairy products; processed fruits and vegetables; and snack
food.

3. (U) The Philippine Department of Agriculture and its line
bureaus (Animal Industry, Fisheries and Aquatic Resource, Plant
Industry, Agriculture and Fisheries Product Standards, etc.),
attached agencies (National Food Authority, Food Development Center,
National Meat Inspection Service, etc.), and the regional operations
units address food defense, safety, and security. State's
Biosecurity Engagement Program in the Philippines collaborates with
the Philippine Department of Health and the Bureau of Animal
Industry.

4. (U) In general, Philippine laws and regulations on food mirror
international standards and processes, using science-based
principles and practices. In general, Philippine food laws are
compliant with and complementary to World Trade Organization
agreements. Also, many Philippine laws are patterned after U.S.
laws, which would make a pilot program here somewhat easier to
harmonize.

5. (U) The United States and the Philippine Department of
Agriculture Secretaries signed an agreement on June 24, 2008 to
collaborate on the adoption of sanitary and phyto-sanitary
regulations; marketing; biotechnology; processing and post-harvest
technologies; private sector agribusiness trade and investments. In
1998, our two nations signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the
Implementation of Minimum Access Commitments. The MOU states that
both countries will adhere to WTO commitments negotiated in the
Uruguay Round; ensures that the Philippine licensing mechanism
conforms to the Agreement on Import Licensing Procedures and does
not have trade-restrictive effects; and modifies certain Philippine
orders to promote transparency and fair trade.

6. (SBU) The Philippines has been cooperative in USG-driven
programs. It has ongoing projects under the Biosecurity Engagement
Program. Through that same program, the Department of State
purchased an animal incinerator, but the Department has not yet been
able to ship it since the accepting agency has not completed the
paperwork necessary to receive delivery. Philippine port
authorities and law enforcement were given instruments and trained
to detect radioactive materials in the Megaports initiative, but the
equipment was reportedly seldom used for months after the training.

Kenney

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