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Cablegate: Spain Approves Nine New Gm Corn Varieties

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

UNCLAS MADRID 000651

SIPDIS

State please pass to USTR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ECON ETRD SP EUN
SUBJECT: Spain approves nine new GM corn varieties

REF: Madrid 000513

1. SUMMARY. The Spanish government approved last week nine
new varieties of genetically modified (GM) corn for
commercial planting. This reflects a continued openness
towards GM cultivation for feed in Spain. In 1998 and 2003,
six other GM corn varieties were approved for planting. The
new GOS approval also contained labeling and tracking
requirements. END SUMMARY.

2. On February 16, 2004, the Spanish Official Gazette (the
equivalent of the Federal Register) published a list of new
biotech corn varieties that can now be planted in Spain.
The nine new varieties approved by the Ministry of
Agriculture, Food and Fish (MAFF) are:

-- Genetic modification CG 00256-176
19970357 SANSONE BT
19970348 ESCOBAR

-- Genetic modification MON 810
20000398 CAMPERO
20000421 CUARTAL BT
20000387 DKC 6550
19970303 GAMBIER BT
20000384 JARAL
19980499 PR32P76
19980528 PROTECT

3. The Spanish government first approved the commercial
cultivation of one GM corn variety, 00256-176 in 1998.
Later, in 2003, the MAFF decided to approve five more Bt
varieties, four with MON810 and one with CG176. The GOS
originally limited GMO planting surface to 25,000 hectares,
but raised the level in 2003 to 50,000 hectares. In 2003,
the total Spanish farmland planted with GM corn was 32,000
hectares. With the nine new varieties, the expectation is
that the GM corn acreage will increase this year.

4. The MAFF order requires that the seed packages of the
newly approved corn varieties be labeled: "genetically
modified variety." The order also says that sales catalog
descriptions of the newly approved corn varieties must state
that the varieties are genetically modified and that such
modification protects them from the corn borer. For
varieties containing the CG 00256-176 modification, it must
also say that they have increased tolerance to the herbicide
ammonium gluphosinate.

5. The order contains an annex requiring that all purchasers
of such seeds participate in a tracking plan. The annex has
several main points:

-- Seed suppliers must create a tracking plan to last at
least five years, and they must present that to the MAFF
within the next two months. (The industry has already held
discussions with the MAFF over the past months.)

-- Seed suppliers must report annually to the MAFF and the
newly-created GMO Interministerial Council the seed sales of
each variety by location including a purchaser list.

-- Tracking plans must contain, among other factors, an
evaluation of the effectiveness of the insecticide character
introduced in the varieties, and a study of possible
resistance in the borer population.

-- In the case of some insect resistance, farmers are
required to inform the GMO Interministerial Council as well
as the newly-created National Committee of Bio-vigilance and
the competent agency of their regional government.

MANZANARES

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