Cablegate: New Turkish Quarantine Regulations

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: New Turkish Quarantine Regulations

Sensitive but Unclassified. Not for Internet Distribution.

1. (SBU) Summary. Turkey has issued new quarantine
regulations governing imports of all plants and plant
products that is scheduled to go into effect on January 3,
2003. Turkey did not notify the WTO of the new regulations
nor did Turkish officials notify Embassies of these changes.
Despite requests for flexibility on implementation, Turkish
officials will not postpone implementation. It is too soon
to determine the regulation's effect on trade. End Summary.

New Regulations Announced

2. (SBU) In July 2002, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural
Affairs (MARA) published new regulations concerning
quarantine of plants and commodities. No notification was
sent to foreign embassies in Ankara regarding the
regulations that are to be implemented on January 3, 2003.
AgOffice became aware of the new regulations in October and
requested more information. MARA officials from Protection
and Control stated that the changes were minor. In
addition, MARA officials promised to provide an English
version of the 100-page document.

Ministry of Agriculture No Help

3. (SBU) After repeated delays and promises, MARA provided
an English copy of the regulations at the beginning of
December. A copy was sent to the regional APHIS official in
Vienna who in turn sent it to Washington for review. After
consulting with APHIS/Vienna, AgCounselor met with the
Turkish General Directorate of Protection and Control, Dr.
Huseyin Sungur, on December 19 to discuss the new
regulations and request some flexibility in implementation.
Dr. Sungur repeatedly stated that he had no authority to
postpone implementation and insisted that he foresaw no
major problems with the new regulations. Sungur also noted
that his country had notified the World Trade Organization
of the new regulations. Note: A Subsequent check with the
WTO turned out that there had been no formal notification.
End note.

4. (SBU) Following the Sungur meeting, AgCounselor met with
Sinan Varol, head of the Department for External Relations
at MARA. In addition to several other issues, AgCounselor
informed Varol of the situation and the difficulties it
would cause both U.S. and Turkish businesses. Varol stated
that this was the responsibility of Protection and Control
and that his office had no control or influence on this

Little Help at Foreign Trade

5. (SBU) On December 19, AgCounselor and EconOff met with
Tuncer Kayalar, the Under Secretary for Foreign Trade.
U/S Kayalar was sympathetic to our request and asked some of
his staff to contact the Agriculture Ministry regarding our
request. However it was clear, given the various comments,
that Foreign Trade had to follow MARA's lead on this issue.
Moreover, there was little that could be done to change the
law by January 3. Kayalar's staff acknowledged that Turkey
had not submitted a notification on the new regulations to
the WTO but other than looking a little sheepish offered
little to rectify the situation. In fact, the Ministry felt
that it was MARA's responsibility to inform all parties on
the any changes in regulations.

Impact on Trade

6. (SBU) It is difficult to fully assess the impact the new
regulations will have on trade. AgAnkara has already
received calls from concerned importers. The initial
assessment from APHIS/Washington is that there will be a lot
to review and that the changes are not as "minor" as the
Turks have stated. On the other hand, the Turkish officials
stated that they are based on EU quarantine regulations so
that there should not be any major surprises. In any case,
Post will monitor the situation after implementation and
report any disruption in trade.

Comment: Keeping the Pressure On

7. (SBU) In recent years, we have consistently raised with
GOT our concerns about its failure to notify the WTO
systematically of rule changes. We will continue to make
this point to the new government, and will emphasize the
link between implementing international rules and attracting
foreign investment.


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