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Cablegate: French Feedback On U.S. Australia Group Proposals

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FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
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INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS PARIS 001194

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PARM ETTC FR
SUBJECT: FRENCH FEEDBACK ON U.S. AUSTRALIA GROUP PROPOSALS

REF: A. STATE 87595
B. STATE 87596
C. STATE 87597
D. STATE 88010

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. With several specific exceptions, France is
generally supportive of U.S. proposals for the September
21-25 Australia Group plenary. Specific feedback is
summarized below in informal translation, arranged by reftel.
The original responses, in French, will be sent separately
by email to POC. Post notes that, in response to Ref A, the
GOF supports the creation of an experts group to discuss
chemical micro-reactors, but prefers that such a group be
restricted to government experts and not include industry
representatives. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) Summary of French response to Ref A (STATE 87595):
The Australia Group (AG) currently does not currently deal
with micro-reactors, which can however produce between 20 -
300 milliliters per minute but are small enough to fit into
compact locations. They can also produce chemical agents
with a level of purity that reduces the need for extra
purification stages and the amount of waste produced. Before
submitting these production systems to AG control, it is
necessary to answer the following questions: what are the
current production capabilities of micro-reactors? How are
they integrated into the chemical industry? What are
emerging trends? France also supports the creation of a
group of experts to examine the proliferation risks of micro-
and meso-reactors. However, France prefers that this group
be restricted to governmental exports, who would be
responsible for liaising with their national industry.

3. (SBU) Summary of French response to Ref B (STATE 87596):
The addition of a technical note under the "Valves" section
(NOTE: French original incorrectly references item "number 9"
here. END NOTE) clarifying the term "nominal size" is logical
and acceptable. However, the technical note under the
"Pumps" section restricting the term rotors to vacuum pump
rotors only is too restrictive, since other types of pumps,
including centrifuge pumps, also have rotors.

4. (SBU) Summary of French response to Ref C (STATE 87597):
France supports the addition of a technical note specifying
that listed alloys are those that "contain a higher
percentage by weight" of the named metal than any other
metal. Setting a lower limit of a 35% by weight fluorine
composition for controlled fluoropolymers is also logical.
Since the compounds with the lowest amount of fluorine by
weight contain 39%, the lower limit could even be set at 38%
or 39%. Regarding the technical note on ferrosilicon, it
would be logical to clarify that the controlled ferrosilicon
alloys in the "Pumps" section are those containing 10-18%
silicon to distinguish them from other silicon-containing
alloys. Due to the anti-corrosive and anti-abrasive
properties of certain ceramic materials, France also agrees
on the need to include mention of ceramics in the control
language in the "Pumps" section. However, this language
should also be maintained in the "Valves" section, as
recently added.

5. (SBU) Summary of French response to Ref D (STATE 88010):
The argument to add a technical note to set a control
threshold of 2.5 millimeters or greater for fluoropolymer
coatings on products is convincing. However, although a 2.5
millimeter coating is necessary to protect against abrasion,
coatings as thin as 0.75 millimeters could protect against
corrosion. Therefore, a lower threshold of 1, 1.5, or 2
millimeters might be considered, although administratively it
will be necessary for the control limits for anti-corrosion
and anti-abrasion coatings to be identical, given the
practical impossibility of determining whether the end user
wishes to protect against corrosion or abrasion.
RIVKIN

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