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Cablegate: Proposals for Biotech Education Activities

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

UNCLAS ZAGREB 000085

SIPDIS


USDA FOR FAS/OA/BSIMMONS

USDA FOR APHIS/DRS/JTURNER

STATE FOR EB/MTA/ATT

VIENNA FOR FAS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ECON ETRD SENV TBIO TSPL HR
SUBJECT: PROPOSALS FOR BIOTECH EDUCATION ACTIVITIES

REF: A) FAS WASHDC 663775 B) 03 ZAGREB 2224

1. In response to ref A, Mission proposes the following
biotech outreach activities:

-- placement of biotech articles targeted for Central
European market, especially those by European authors.

-- funding to help promote local pro-biotech organizations.

-- organize trips for regulators to EU countries that are
relatively pro-biotech, e.g., Spain, to see their approval
process.

-- funding to support travel of Croatian biotech
stakeholders and journalists to U.S. and to Europe, for
international conferences and to meet pro-biotech groups
(currently, anti-biotech NGOs fund travel to meet with
anti-GMO speakers and groups).

2. Target Markets:

The U.S. has export growth potential in the following
markets, which would be stymied by anti-biotech attitudes
and legislation:

-- soybeans
-- processed food that contains soybeans and corn
-- feed that contains soybeans and corn

3. Current Conditions in the Targeted Markets - affecting
the intended commodity or product:

-- FAS Zagreb will email table containing details of
imports to Croatia from World and U.S. for the targeted
commodities to FAS/ICD and FAS/OA/BIG. In 2002 the U.S.
exported approximately $1 million in course grains, $1
million in soybean meal, $1 million each in non-nut snack
foods, breakfast cereal and pet food, and $7 million in
other consumer-oriented products.

-- Please see ref B for details of Croatian legislation
regarding biotech. In brief, a framework of laws has been
enacted that in theory will allow the import and
cultivation of biotech products, under heavy regulation.
How these laws will be implemented will in great part
depend on how the public perceives the risk of biotech
products.

4. Project Objectives:

To open the door for U.S. products in Croatian market by:

-- demonstrating that Croatia can be "European," risk-
adverse, environmentally sensitive and use biotech at the
same time.

-- convincing consumers, regulators and politicians that
biotech is safe.

5. Performance Measures:

Changes in market accessibility for mentioned products, to
be measured by:

-- increased number of neutral or positive press reports on
television and in print;

-- first approvals for biotech products

6. Rationale:

This market could close for almost all food products
containing even traces of "GMOs." In the future, the
Croatian model may be followed by Bosnia and Herzegovina
and other countries in the region, increasing the injury to
U.S. exporters and local consumers. We need not only
to communicate the safety of this technology and
quality of U.S. products, we need to "Europeanize"
biotech. Currently, biotech is seen in Croatia as an
American imposition. Anti-biotech forces continually
say they are following the "European way," which to
their minds means no-GMOs. We need to show that biotech
has been used in Europe for years, and that there
are pro-biotech countries and forces in Europe.
Activities will probably not have an immediate,

obvious impact but over time they should create a more
balanced Croatian position about biotechnology, openness to
consumer choice, and allow U.S. products to re-enter the
market.

FRANK


NNNN

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