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Cablegate: Turkish Officials to Suspend New Quarantine Regs

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

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 001035

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE


STATE FOR EUR/SE, EB/EPD, AND EB/TPP/ABT
DEPT PLEASE PASS USTR FOR NOVELLI, DBIRDSEY
USDA FOR FAS FOR ITP/BERTSCH, MACKE, MEYER, THORBURN;
CMP FOR ALL COMMODITY DIVISIONS
EMO/FREEDAN
USDA FOR APHIS/ACKERMAN, PATEL
USDA FOR GIPSA/FGIS REILLY
USDOC FOR DEFALCO
VIENNA FOR APHIS/VINCINANZA


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD EAGR KPAO TU USTR
SUBJECT: Turkish Officials to Suspend New Quarantine Regs


Ref: (A) 2002 Ankara 9192 (B) 2003 Ankara 441


Sensitive but Unclassified. Not for Internet Distribution.


This is an action message. See para .


1. (SBU) Summary. Turkish officials announced that the
temporary suspension of new phytosanitary regulations
implemented on January 3, 2003 that have impacted
agricultural trade with Turkey. Post expects official
announcement shortly. Pressure from Turkish poultry and
feed representatives, trading companies and foreign
governments played a major role in this decision. At
subsequent meetings between USDA and Turkish officials
agreement was reached on a number of technical issues which,
if implemented, will ensure continued access to the Turkish
market for U.S. commodities and plant products. End
Summary.


-------------------------------
Suspension of Phyto Regulations
-------------------------------
2. (SBU) On February 6, Vedat Uzunlu, Turkey's Deputy
Under Secretary for Agriculture and Rural Affairs told USDA
officials that Turkey's new phytosanitary regulations
implemented on January 3 (Ref A) would be suspended until
July. The announcement was made during a meeting with USDA
officials including representatives from Animal and Plant
Health and Inspection Service (APHIS) and Federal Grain
Inspection Service (FGIS). APHIS and FGIS officials were in
Ankara to discuss U.S. concerns about the new regulations
with Turkish officials. Dr. Uzunlu noted that the Turkish
government would be reviewing the regulations over the next
several months with industry and foreign governments in the
hope that new regulations could be announced in July that
would not impact trade. Uzunlu welcomed any help USDA could
provide in furthering these discussions.


3. (SBU) It appears that pressure from industry groups as
well as foreign governments persuaded Ministry of
Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) officials to take
action to rescind these regulations. Since they were
implemented in early January, the regulations had severely
impacted agricultural trade and in turn Turkey's domestic
agriculture industries. At a meeting with the Turkish
poultry producers association, MARA officials were informed
that the poultry industry would soon run out of feed unless
the regulations were lifted. U.S. exports of corn were
completely halted as a result of the regulations which left
Turkey's feed and poultry industries without any raw
materials. According to traders, corn prices had increased
by close to $40 a ton during the month the regulations were
in place.


--------------------------------
Confirmation from Other Sources
--------------------------------


4. (SBU) Post was contacted by industry officials as well
as representatives from the Hungarian and EU delegations in
Turkey who had received the same information about the
suspension. According to DUS/Uzunlu the suspension would be
announced shortly in the Official Gazete which is the
equivalent to the U.S. Federal Register. Post is monitoring
this publication for this announcement and will inform
Washington immediately. Unfortunately, due to the Muslim
holiday, publication may be delayed until the week of
February 17th.


--------------------------
USDA Technical Discussions
--------------------------
5. (SBU) On February 6, the USDA delegation met with
Protection and Control officials to discuss their concerns
with the new regulations. USDA officials stressed the
importance of greater more communication between U.S. and
Turkish technical staffs as a way of exchanging information
and avoiding any misunderstandings in the future.
6. (SBU) Technical concerns in grains, seeds, wood
products, oilseeds and vegetables were discussed. In each
case, the Turkish officials agreed in principal to change
the regulations after a further review. However, until
these changes are officially announced, it is not certain
that they will actually be accepted and implemented. Post
will work with APHIS officials on a follow-up letter to
confirm these changes.


-----------------------------
ACTION REQUEST: TIRF Proposal
-----------------------------


7. (SBU) During the technical discussions in Ankara, it
became clear that current Turkish quarantine and research
officials had little understanding of the U.S. grain
inspection system and the U.S. approach to phytosanitary
issues. APHIS/FGIS/FAS delegation suggests that a
delegation of Turkish technical officials would greatly
benefit from visits to grain inspection and testing
facilities. FAS/ITP along with APHIS officials will prepare
a proposal under the Technical Issues Resolution Fund (TIRF)
with the hope of sending a Turkish team to the United States
in April. Post supports this proposal as a first step in
improving communications between U.S. and Turkish Officials.


------------------------------
Comment: Timing is Everything
------------------------------


8. (SBU) The combination of immediate pressure from
Turkey's domestic industries along with foreign governments
played a major role in the suspension of the phytosanitary
regulations. In addition, the lack of feed in Turkey and
the absence of alternative corn imports also helped Turkish
officials to respond positively on these issues. The timely
visit of the APHIS/FGIX team to Ankara added additional
weight and legitimacy to these concerns. By responding to
the situation quickly the team was able to maximize these
factors. The new Turkish Ministry of Agriculture officials
appears to be more open to discussions, at least initially.
(Septel) It is essential that the meetings between USDA and
Turkish agriculture officials this past week only be the
first step in order to ensure continued cooperation and
access to this market.


MARCIEL

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