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Cablegate: Draft Biotech Regulation Could Disrupt More Than 1

VZCZCXRO8613
PP RUEHDA
DE RUEHAK #1473 2861425
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 131425Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0940
INFO RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL PRIORITY 6347
RUEHDA/AMCONSUL ADANA PRIORITY 4203
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS ANKARA 001473

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR E, EEB/TPP/BTA, EUR/SE
DEPT PLEASE PASS USTR FOR CWILSON, MMOWREY
NSC FOR BBRINK
FAS FOR OCRA, OSTA
COMMERCE FOR CRUSNAK, KNAJDI, BWOOD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO EAGR ECON ETRD TU
SUBJECT: DRAFT BIOTECH REGULATION COULD DISRUPT MORE THAN 1
BILLION IN U.S. EXPORTS

This cable is sensitive but unclassified. Please protect
accordingly.

1. (SBU) Agricultural Affairs Office learned on October 9
that the Ministry of Agriculture intends shortly to issue a
new regulation on agricultural biotechnology. As written,
the regulation would have a drastic effect on U.S.
agricultural exports valued at more than USD 1 billion per
year. According to our source, the regulation may be issued
at any time and will have a six-month implementation period.

2. (SBU) We had the opportunity to see a copy of the
closely-held draft (please protect), which contains various
requirements that are not only unscientific but also with
which the United States would be unable to comply. For
example:

-- exporting country governments must certify the precise
transgenic content of every cargo;
-- Turkish procesors must maintain separate lines for
transgenic and conventional products;
-- products must be grown for three years in the country of
origin before they can be approved for entry into Turkey;
-- all transgenes are banned in baby food, without reference
to an assessment of actual risk;
-- the list of EU-approved transgenic events is not
grandfathered, as had been the case in some previous draft
regulations; and,
-- labeling of transgenic products above a 0.9 percent
threshold is required, as in the EU.

3. (SBU) Currently, Turkey has no regulation in force
regulating biotechnology. An unscientific biosafety law was
drafted in 2007, but Turkish supporters of biotechnology,
with USDA assistance, were able to block its approval.

4. (U) U.S. exports to Turkey of corn, soybeans, and their
derivatives in 2008 were valued at USD 700 million; through
August 2009 exports of these products are valued at USD 372
million. Exports of U.S. cotton, which might be affected by
this regulation, were valued at USD 536 million in 2008 and
USD 335 million through August. Turkey also imports
transgenic soybeans and meal from Brazil and Argentina.

5. (SBU) Comment: The Agricultural Affairs Office has polled
affected industry contacts such as the Feedmillers
Association. At this point, none intend to make a
representation to the GOT until the regulation is published.
Post strongly believes, however, that once the regulation is
published, it will be much harder for the GOT to back down or
modify the regulation. It is critical, therefore, to block
this regulation before it is published in the Official
Gazette. Turkey traditionally does not notify the WTO of
proposed regulatory changes to permit trading partners to
comment. End comment.

JEFFREY

"Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at http://www.intelink.s
gov.gov/wiki/Portal:Turkey"

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