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Cablegate: France Suspends Mon810/ Creates Biotech Planning Authority

VZCZCXRO6003
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHROV
DE RUEHFR #4660 3410755
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 070755Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1396
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2780
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC

UNCLAS PARIS 004660

SIPDIS

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 SUSPENDS MON810/ CREATES BIOTECH PLANNING AUTHORITY

REF: (A) PARIS 4606 (B) PARIS 4646

1. Summary: On December 6, the government published a ministerial
order suspending the sale and use of MON810 corn seeds, and a decree
instituting a new interim biotech committee on GMOs. This authority
will have two subcommittees, one will be scientific, while the other
will focus on social, economic and ethical issues. End Summary.

2. As expected (ref A), Agriculture Minister Barnier signed a
suspension of the "transfer to final user and use of MON810 corn
seeds until a law on GMOs is published, or at the latest, February
9, 2008."

3. Environment Minister Borloo announced today that Jean-Francois
Legrand, Senator from Normandy and former President of the Grenelle
Biotech Working Group, will be the President of the new Biotech
interim committee. Ministers of Environment, Agriculture, Research
and Health will jointly designate the 34 members of the new biotech
committee and may refer any issue relative to GMOs to it. The
Committee will review the effects of Mon810 on the environment and
public health. The committee is further to evaluate the mission,
composition and operation of the proposed High Authority on GMOs
which will subsequently be created. The interim authority's 15
member scientific subcommittee will include a wide range of
scientific expertise, including biodiversity, ecology, genetics,
molecular biology, toxicology, population genetics, genetic therapy,
epidemiology, agronomy, entomology, microbiology, veterinary
sciences, biomedical sciences, statistics, and virology.

4. The interim authority's social, economic and ethic subcommittee
will be comprised of 19 members, including specialists in law,
economy, sociology, a member of the National Ethics Committee for
Life Sciences and Health, representatives from environmental,
consumer, public health organizations, local authorities, biotech
industry, farm industry and biotech industry employee groups. There
will also be a representative from the Parliamentary Committee of
Science and Technology Evaluation.

5. Comment: As anticipated, French authorities are not suspending
the MON810 authorization based on the safeguard clause, most likely
due to concerns about EC and international perceptions. The
suspension's deadline of February 9 indicates the Government's
objective to have the new biotech law in place by this date.
Whether this objective is feasible remains to be seen. End
Comment.

STAPLETON

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