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Cablegate: Chile: Trilateral Cooperation Begins with Cafta-Dr Countries

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DE RUEHSG #0856/01 2541754
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O R 111753Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0027
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC IMMEDIATE
INFO MERCOSUR COLLECTIVE
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHDG/AMEMBASSY SANTO DOMINGO 0001
RUEHGT/AMEMBASSY GUATEMALA 0001
RUEHMU/AMEMBASSY MANAGUA 0001
RUEHSJ/AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE 0001
RUEHSN/AMEMBASSY SAN SALVADOR 0001
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SANTIAGO 000856

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
USDA FOR PATRICIA SHEIKH, OCBD, FAS
TREASURY FOR BLINDQUIST
COMMERCE FOR KMANN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ECON ETRD ECIN PREL CI
SUBJECT: CHILE: TRILATERAL COOPERATION BEGINS WITH CAFTA-DR COUNTRIES
ON AGRICULTURAL INSPECTIONS

REF: SANTIAGO 812

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: USDA sponsored 18 delegates from Costa Rica, the
Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua in a
study tour of Chilean agricultural inspection and quarantine
facilities August 31-September 4. Post proposed the visit, in
keeping with the commitment made by Presidents Obama and Bachelet
in June to increase trilateral cooperation in the Hemisphere. The
delegates observed Chile's agricultural inspection services as well
as how public sector regulation is balanced with private sector
export needs. Post's USDA offices and its Chilean counterparts
have selected Costa Rica to conduct further trilateral cooperation
projects. END SUMMARY.

Background

----------

2. (U) Presidents Obama and Bachelet committed to increasing
trilateral cooperation in the Hemisphere during their White House
meeting in June. In keeping with this commitment, Post's USDA
offices and the GOC focused on improving agricultural export
procedures among the Central American Free Trade Agreement -
Dominican Republic (CAFTA-DR) member countries. Chile, also a U.S.
FTA partner, has a world-class agricultural and livestock
inspection service (SAG) along with extensive experience exporting
agricultural products to the U.S. SAG has the second largest U.S.
agricultural pre-clearance process in the world. Chile also has
previous experience working with Central American nations (see
ref).

3. (U) CAFTA-DR partners export many agricultural products to the
U.S. While their current port and container inspection practices
have improved, detentions of fruit and vegetable shipments still
occur at the port of entry in the U.S. These detentions result not
only in a preventable loss of revenue but also prompt further
inspections in future shipments. As a result, CAFTA-DR
agricultural exports become less competitive. These countries have
requested technical assistance in inspection techniques and
quarantine facilities in order to reduce the number of shipments
detained and destroyed in the U.S.

4. (U) USDA sponsored 18 delegates from the Ministries of
Agriculture and private sectors of Costa Rica, the Dominican
Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua to participate in a
study tour of Chilean inspection and quarantine facilities August
31 - September 4, 2009. The tour allowed Chile to demonstrate its
successful agricultural export practices and to showcase the
relationship between public sector regulation and private sector
export needs -- reportedly an element that needs development in
Central America.

Visit

-----

5. (U) FAS put together a schedule for the CAFTA-DR visitors
including appointments at the Ministry of Agriculture, packing
houses, and exporters in the private sector. SAG officials
presented their inspection and quarantine system in detail, which


impressed the group of delegates. The visitors also received a
briefing from the Fresh Fruit Export Association (ASOEX) and fresh
fruit producers of the Central Region in Chile. These briefings
allowed the delegates to hear about the importance of good
relations between exporters and the government.

6. (U) The CAFTA-DR delegates also visited SAG inspection sites in
Valparaiso, the border crossing with Argentina (Paso Los
Libertadores), and the International Airport in Santiago to see
Chile's agricultural inspections at ports of entry. While at these
sites, the group saw inspection techniques and phytosanitary
certification, entomology laboratories (where insects are kept for
reference and pests are identified), and SAG's quarantine station
and central laboratory. The program ended with a visit to an
avocado and orange packing house where the visitors saw Chile's
agricultural surveillance program.

Results and Next Steps

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

7. (SBU) The CAFTA-DR delegates expressed a strong interest in
forging a deeper relationship with SAG authorities. Chilean
authorities indicated they will assist the Central American region
in attempts to improve the flow of agricultural exports to the U.S.
FAS had worked with SAG independently of the visit to identify a
country in the region in which to collaborate. Both parties have
agreed that Costa Rica appears ripe for trilateral cooperation,
given that its agricultural inspection system is a little more
advanced than other countries in the region.
SIMONS

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