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Cablegate: Ivlp Alum Meet in France

VZCZCXRO5000
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHROV
DE RUEHFR #3077 1981604
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 171604Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9008
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES
RUEHMRE/AMCONSUL MARSEILLE 1826
RUEHSR/AMCONSUL STRASBOURG 0452
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2715
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC

UNCLAS PARIS 003077

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

BRUSSELS PASS USEU FOR AGMINCOUNSELOR
STATE FOR EUR/ERA, EUR/WE, EUR/PPD, IIP AND ECA;
EEB/TPP/ABT(SPIRNAK);
STATE PASS USTR FOR MURPHY;
USDA/OS/JOHANNS/TERPSTRA;
USDA/FAS FOR OA/YOST;
OCRA/CURTIS
STA/SIMMONS/JONES/HENNEY
FAA/YOUNG;
EU POSTS PASS TO AGRICULTURE AND ECON
GENEVA FOR USTR, ALSO AGRICULTURE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ETRD EU FR
SUBJECT: IVLP ALUM MEET IN FRANCE


1. Summary: Alumni from the 2003 European biotech and food safety
group of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) met
June 10-12 in Toulouse, France to continue their review of
agricultural biotech issues. Representatives from FAS/Paris and the
American Presence Post in Toulouse consulate updated the group on
U.S. biotech developments since 2003 and facilitated their
interaction with French biotech stakeholders. End Summary.

2. Since 2003, the group has met in Copenhagen (Sept 2004) and
Talinn, Estonia (May 2006) in an effort to continue their
examination of biotech and food safety issues. This time, the
group, composed of Delphine Guey, communication director of the
French planting seed organization, GNIS; Jan O.F. Lausten, Deputy
Director General, Danish Agricultural Council; Reili Kivilo, Chief
Inspector, Consumer Protection Board of Estonia; Jonathan Leake,
Science and Environment Director, London "The Sunday Times," Odd
Anders Nilsen, Norwegian lawyer; and Hans van Dongen, Department of
Food Quality and Animal Health, Dutch Ministry of Agriculture,
Nature and Food Quality, met with French biotech companies and
farmers in southern France.

3. The Agriculture Attache and Agriculture Economist from FAS/Paris
and the Consul from the American Presence Post in Toulouse joined
the group and briefed it on current U.S. developments in agriculture
biotechnology. GNIS reps presented the latest developments in the
French agriculture biotech sector in terms of research, development
and production.

4. Afterwards, the group visited the headquarters and facilities of
Syngenta and Pioneer, biotech seed companies, where it received
additional briefings on the economic impacts of issues such as the
EU's lengthy GMO approvals process; and the impact that the lack of
an EU standard for the adventitious presence of biotech in planting
seeds is having on players in the French biotech sector. For
example, Syngenta's Bt11 corn, submitted in France in 1996 and
approved by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) in 2006, and
Pioneer's 1507 corn, submitted for approval in Spain in 2001 and
approved by EFSA in 2006 are both still waiting final approval at
the European level.

5. The group also visited two farming operations, one organic and
one biotech, where discussions centered on coexistence issues and
the expansion of Bt corn acreage in 2007 (20,000 ha) from 2006
(5,200 ha). According to the farmers, the strong increase resulted
from several factors: reduced pesticide costs, higher yields, and
lower mycotoxin levels of the 2006 biotech corn crop. In addition,
as more companies licensed Monsanto's Mon810, the only event
authorized for cultivation in France since 1998, to produce their
own biotech corn seeds, French farmers also had a wider variety of
biotech seeds to choose from this year.

7. Delphine Guey, the French IVLP participant and organizer of this
meeting, has developed, since her trip to the United States, into a
solid ally in favor of agricultural biotechnology, and advocates its
benefits to a host of French agricultural stakeholders. Also,
London's Sunday Times published an article on July 1 written by the
British IVLP participant titled "Europe set to lift ban on GM
crops." The article mentioned the considerable activity on the part
of the U.S. government to persuade European authorities to deploy
greater biotech resources.

8. The group plans to meet again in 2008 in the United Kingdom.
This Embassy will continue to support the group's ongoing
examination of biotech issues and encourage its positive influence
in France.


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