Cablegate: Demarche Response, Ottawa: Strategic Approach To
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
061842Z Sep 05
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 OTTAWA 002658
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV ETRD ECON
SUBJECT: DEMARCHE RESPONSE, OTTAWA: STRATEGIC APPROACH TO
INTERNATIONAL CHEMICALS MANAGEMENT
REF: SECSTATE 157172
1. Summary: Econ officers met with officials from
Environment Canada, International Trade Canada (ITCan), and
Foreign Affairs Canada (FAC); at the meeting, all officials
made it clear that Canada will be guided in the SAICM process
by Environment Canada. The Canadians suggested that a
voluntary initiative such as SAICM would benefit from a
"split message", where it could be clarified that
hazard-focus might be appropriate for industry and private
organizations while risk-management is more appropriate for
government regulatory efforts. ACTION REQUEST: if there is
evidence that REACH is becoming part of the SAICM process,
the Canadian officials would like to have specific
information. END ACTION REQUEST and Summary.
2. The Canadians seemed surprised by the demarche in
general, stating that they had no indication that the SAICM
process was proceeding in ways that could adversely affect
industry or trade. The ITCan officer separately indicated
that he had heard of no concerns from Canadian companies,
which incidentally will form part of the SAICM delegation.
(Comment: We may receive a different readout of industry
opinion from Industry Canada, but they will not be able to
respond until next week. End Comment.)
3. In particular, the Canadian officials were surprised by
the inclusion of REACH as an element of concern in our
talking points. FAC, ITCan and Environment Canada
representatives all stated that they had no evidence that
REACH was part of SAICM and said that their sense is that the
EU is no longer pushing REACH in SAICM. Separately, ITCan
provided us with the UK draft compromise text and Canada's
Position paper on Reach submitted to the European Parliament
and shared with U.S. Department of Commerce earlier this year
(we can provide these documents upon request.) The Canadian
position on SAICM is that it is now a case more of "what's in
it for the developing countries" than a developed-nation push.
4. The Canadian officials, particularly the representative
from Environment Canada (John Arseneau, Director General,
Risk Assessment), did not seem concerned about specific
details outlined in the talking points that indicated that
SAICM's reach may be becoming overly broad (for example, they
do not share U.S. concern about the potential broadening of
the definition of the precautionary principle, but did
confirm that they wish to see precaution defined as it was in
the Rio declaration of 1992.) DG Arseneau emphasized that
SAICM will be voluntary and stated Environment Canada's
opinion that there was no time to get the text perfect.
5. The Canadians recommended that the United States
fine-tune its message on these concerns, suggesting
specifically that SAICM could include multiple approaches.
For example, DG Arseneau emphasized that a hazard-based
approach might be appropriate for companies or NGOs, while a
risk-management approach might be more appropriate for
government regulators. Arseneau suggested that separating
private and government approaches and focusing on the
voluntary nature of SAICM would improve the U.S. message.
Also, he suggested that focusing on concerns over 'releases'
and 'exposure' (both inherently risk-based) might encourage
SAICM delegates to move beyond a limited hazard focus.
6. Per reftel request (paragraph 15), we had specifically
demarched the FAC officer who will be attending the APEC
Chemical Dialogue Steering Group meeting September 7. Ryan
Kuffner, Economic Policy Officer (APEC), explained however
that he will basically be the "face" for Environment Canada
at this meeting, and consequently DG Arseneau provided
specific comments on our talking points. The Canadian stance
is that, since SAICM is just "informational", they do not see
APEC as an influence.
7. With respect to structure and funding of SAICM, Canada,
like the USG, opposes creating a new financial mechanism to
fund SAICM and proposes using the existing Global
Environmental Fund. Canada suggests two phases of funding:
20-30 million dollars of voluntary contributions,
partnerships and bilateral in phase 1 and long-term
implementation using the Global Environment Fund in Phase 2.
8. Comment: It was clear from our meeting with Canadian
officials that SAICM will continue to be a responsibility of
Environment Canada, and unless we can provide more specific
evidence of trade implications or renewed interest in REACH,
it is unlikely that FAC and ITCan will be much involved. If
Industry Canada has any different information, we will
provide it as soon as possible. End comment.
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