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Cablegate: U/S Jeffery Calls French Ambassador On Possible

VZCZCXRO2441
OO RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHMRE RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHC #0199 3030128
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O R 300112Z OCT 07
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS IMMEDIATE 5431
INFO RUEHMRE/AMCONSUL MARSEILLE 1686
RUEHSR/AMCONSUL STRASBOURG 0239
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 8880
EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUEHRC/USDA/FAS WASHDC

UNCLAS STATE 150199

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR SENV ETRD FR EU
SUBJECT: U/S JEFFERY CALLS FRENCH AMBASSADOR ON POSSIBLE
MORATORIUM ON PLANTING GENETICALLY ENGINEERED CORN SEEDS

REF: PARIS 4170 AND PREVIOUS

1.(SBU) BEGIN SUMMARY: On October 25, Under Secretary for
Economic, Energy, and Agricultural Affairs Reuben Jeffery
III underscored to French Ambassador Pierre Vimont the
importance of market access in France of U.S. genetically
engineered (GE) products. Any decision France reaches
through the Grenelle process, Jeffery stressed, should be
consistent with EU law and WTO principles. Vimont
acknowledged that France is constrained by EU law in this
matter. He suggested that France is most likely to
establish a scientific authority to look at the question of
the use of GE products in France. END SUMMARY

2.(SBU) On October 25, U/S Jeffery called Ambassador Vimont
to raise USG concerns about a possible French ban or
moratorium on planting genetically engineered (GE) corn
seeds. French farmers currently sow approximately 22,000
hectares with a Monsanto biotech variety. A ban or
moratorium could cost the U.S. $30-50 million in exports to
France.

3.(SBU) In response to U/S Jeffery's inquiry about the
status of a possible ban or moratorium on GE corn seeds,
Vimont said that President Sarkozy will make the final
decision on outcomes from the Grenelle process. Vimont
assured that the French government would try to be as
balanced as possible. He indicated that he understood that
the decision would likely be to establish a scientific
authority to look at the question of the use of GE products
in France. He thought that any process established to
reach final decisions on the use of GE products would be
transparent and based on objective and scientific
assessments. He added that it would also likely establish
legal responsibilities regarding potential "pollution,"
including provisions for punishment of convicted polluters.

4.(SBU) U/S Jeffery made clear that market access for U.S.
GE products is very important for our industry and for
France's own farmers. He stressed that any decision France
makes on the issue should conform to existing EU law and
WTO rules and therefore not prohibit the use of GE products
that are approved by the EC. Vimont acknowledged that
France is constrained in this matter by existing European
legislation, and advised that he would report U/S Jeffery's
demarche to Paris upon his arrival (Vimont was departing
for a trip to Paris on the evening of October 25). He
added that U.S. biotech sector representatives had also
contacted him regarding this issue.
RICE

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