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Cablegate: France's Draft Biotech Bill

VZCZCXRO4249
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHROV
DE RUEHFR #4646 3391428
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 051428Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1375
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2779
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC

UNCLAS PARIS 004646

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

BRUSSELS PASS USEU FOR AGMINCOUNSELOR
STATE FOR OES; EUR/ERA(GRAY); EEB/TPP/ABT/BTT (BOBO);
STATE PASS USTR FOR MURPHY/CLARKSON;
OCRA/CURTIS;
STA/SIMMONS/JONES/HENNEY/SISSON;
EU POSTS PASS TO AGRICULTURE AND ECON
GENEVA FOR USTR, ALSO AGRICULTURE


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR SENV ECON ETRD EU FR
SUBJECT: FRANCE'S DRAFT BIOTECH BILL

REF: PARIS 4606

1. (SBU) The final version of the French biotech bill, transmitted
on November 30 to the Council of State (in French, "Conseil d'Etat)
for review, is very similar to the preliminary version described in
reftel with the notable exception that not only farmers but seed
companies will be held liable for accidental biotech presence.

2. (SBU) Key points of the bill are: (1) biotech farmers must
contribute to a "financial guarantee" covering economic loss to a
conventional crop due to accidental presence of biotech material
(the language on this is less specific than in earlier drafts with
regard to mechanism); (2) seed distributors must also contribute
(compared to full responsibility solely on farmers in the
preliminary version); (3) location of biotech crops at the parcel
level will be publicly available (as in earlier draft); (4) biotech
authority name change from "High Authority on Biotechnology" to
"High Authority on GMOs" with 2 committees, one scientific, and the
other socio-economic.

3. (SBU) The Council of State is projected to have the bill's legal
format and Constitutional compatibility assessment completed by
December 19, after which the French Council of Ministers is expected
to support the bill and officially transfer it to the French
Parliament, for a vote in January.


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