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Cablegate: Aqsiq Vice Minister Discusses Salmonella And

VZCZCXRO0291
PP RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHVC
DE RUEHBJ #6347/01 2702223
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 272223Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY BEIJING
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2250
INFO RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RULSDMK/DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION WASHDC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEAEPA/HQ EPA WASHDC
RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BEIJING 006347

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

EAP/PD FOR NIDA EMMONS
HHS FOR OGHA/STEIGER AND PASS TO FDA/LUMPKIN
USDA FOR FSIS/RAYMOND
USDA FOR FAS OA/YOST, OCRA/ALEXANDER, OSTA/BRANT AND
SHNITZLER
COMMERCE FOR ITA/HIJIKATA AND CINO
STATE PASS TRANSPORTATION FOR NHTSA ABRAHAM/KRATZKE
STATE PASS CONSUMER PRODUCTS SAFETY COMMISSION RICH
O'BRIEN/INTL PROGRAMS
STATE PASS USTR CHINA OFFICE/TIM WINELAND
STATE PASS OMB/INT'L AFFAIRS
STATE PASS HOMELAND SECURITY COUNCIL
STATE PASS IMPORT SAFETY WORKING GROUP

E.O. 12958: n/a
TAGS: TBIO EAGR ECON ETRD BEXP CH
SUBJECT: AQSIQ VICE MINISTER DISCUSSES SALMONELLA AND
SOYBEANS

Ref: A. Beijing 3252

B. Beijing 3406

1. (SBU) Summary: General Administration of Quality Supervision,
Inspecion, and Quarantine (AQSIQ) Vice Minister Wei Cuanzhong
discussed with FAS Mincouns
September 26 the issue of poultry import restrictions in both
countries, salmonella-contaminated Chinese fish exports, possible
contamination of recent U.S. soybean shipments to China, and the
negative test results of China's pet food testing for melamine.
The conversation occurred during a four-day AQSIQ-sponsored visit to
food, textile, and toy processing and manufacturing facilities in
Shenzhen and Guangzhou, as well as to local AQSIQ (or "CIQ") offices
and laboratories in the province. FAS Mincouns, Guangzhou econoff,
and Beijing econoff participated in the visit (septel). As they
have
in past meetings, both sides acknowledged that cooperation and
communication are key to resolving differences. VM Wei announced
that a Food Safety Summit will be held in Beijing late November,
possibly timed to coincide with a visit by the EU Commissioner and
other EU officials at that time, but did not provide further
details. End Summary.

Poultry and Aquaculture:
The Salmonella Connection
-------------------------

2. (SBU) FAS Mincouns in a September 26 meeting with Vice Minister
Wei expressed concern about the delisting of poultry plants because
of pathogens and suspension of seven U.S. states as eligible to
export poultry to China because of low pathogenic avian
influenza (LPAI). Wei said that the two sides addressed this issue
in September's food safety bilaterals in Washington and in recent
USDA meetings with AQSIQ Minister Li Changjiang. AQSIQ's Bureau of
Import/Export Food Safety is considering science-based ways to
address the issue, Wei said, noting that the root of the problem is
the difference
in national standards. Mincouns suggested that AQSIQ consider two
possible solutions: (1) the adoption of U.S. testing procedures for
salmonella, or (2) the adoption of a model similar to what USDA has
implemented with Russia for pathogen sampling and testing
methodology.

3. (SBU) Vice Minister Wei, in turn, expressed concern about the
lack of movement of China's 2004 request to export poultry to the
United States and pending U.S. legislation that would preemptively
restrict those exports. Wei said the United States indicated in
2004 that they would need 5 months to review the import of Chinese
poultry, but said that China was informed during the food safety
bilaterals that the rule was still in USDA's clearance procedures.

4. (SBU) On aquaculture, Import and Export Food Safety Bureau
Deputy Director General Li Chaowei noted that, like U.S. poultry
exports to China, China's aquaculture exports to the United States
sometimes contain salmonella, leading to the detention or
destruction of those imports. Li acknowledged that salmonella in
aquaculture products,
as in poultry, could be eliminated by the consumer through the
cooking process. He suggested that a bilateral discussion of
salmonella be broadened to include both aquaculture and poultry
products. Offering to follow-up on this issue upon return to
Beijing, Mincouns stated that this kind of
cooperation exemplifies the cooperation the
two sides should have on these kinds of complex issues.

Soybean Contamination

BEIJING 00006347 002 OF 003


---------------------

5. (SBU) Regarding China's possible detection of live Trogoderma
granarium beetles, other live insects, and quarantine weeds such as
Ambrosia sp. in recent U.S. soybean shipments to Guangzhou, Mincouns
noted that Trogoderma granarium is not known to occur in United
States, but is suspected to be found in Asia. He assured VM Wei
that U.S. researchers and entomologists were taking this very
seriously and, after studying the alleged infestation, would inform
the Chinese side of results, cautioning that the
contamination may be from the shipping container. VM Wei emphasized
that the increase in importation of U.S. soybeans, totaling 13
million tons in 2006, could naturally lead to an increase in the
detection of problems. AQSIQ wants to cooperate with the
United States to resolve this issue and has made the deliberate
decision not to notify the press or the public about the issue to
give the two sides time to resolve it. VM Wei said he would ask the
AQSIQ research team to speed up their efforts. AQSIQ Department
for Supervision on Animal and Plant Quarantine Assistant Counsel and
Senior
Veterinarian Feng Xueping noted that Trogoderma granarium could pose
a serious threat to Chinese agriculture.

Melamine Revisited
and Bonsai Trees
-------------------

6. (SBU) On the issue of melamine contamination of pet food, Feng
said that no U.S. or Chinese analyses had discovered melamine in pet
food and he lamented the fact that Wal-Mart had voluntarily removed

Chinese manufactured pet food from its shelves. Some
veterinarians, he noted, believe that the pet deaths in spring 2007
may have been caused by coliforms such as e-coli. Mincouns said he
would pass this information to HHS Attache and encouraged AQSIQ to
communicate research results and information on
critical issues to both HHS/FDA and FAS/APHIS offices at the U.S.
Embassy in Beijing to ensure timely treatment of sensitive issues.

7. (SBU) Division of Foreign Affairs Director General Qi Xiuqin
expressed concern
about U.S. standards on bonsai trees, which Qi said were ten years
in the making. Without elaborating, she said that China's bonsai
exporters are unable to meet the U.S.
standards.

8. (U) List of Participants:

Chinese Participants:

Vice Minister Wei Chuanzhong, AQSIQ
Feng Xueping, Assistant Counsel, Senior Veterinarian, Department for
Supervision on
Animal and Plant Quarantine, AQSIQ
Qi Xiuqin, Director General, Division of Foreign Affairs, AQSIQ
Li Chaowei, Deputy Director General, Import and Export Food Safety
Bureau, AQSIQ
Ma Wenxiu, Director, Division of Foreign Affairs, AQSIQ
Fan Leilei, Division of Foreign Affairs

U.S. Participants:

FAS Minister Counselor Bill Westman
Guangzhou Econ Officer Nolan Barkhouse
Beijing Econ Officer Michael Pignaello


BEIJING 00006347 003 OF 003


RANDT

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