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Cablegate: Post Promotes Biotech While Gvn Considers More Restrictive

VZCZCXRO9940
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHHI #1050 2750940
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 020938Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0257
INFO ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY 0074
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE USD FAS WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS HANOI 001050

SIPDIS
STATE TO EEB/TPP/ABT
HHS/OSSI/DSI PASS TO OGHA (WSTEIGER/LVALDEZ/CHICKEY) AND
FDA (MPLAISER/RCAMPBELL/BCOREY)
USTR FOR DBISBEE AND MCLARKSON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO EAGR ETRD EAID ECON VM
SUBJECT: POST PROMOTES BIOTECH WHILE GVN CONSIDERS MORE RESTRICTIVE
BIOTECH LAWS

1. SUMMARY: Ambassador sent Minister-Chairman of the Office of
Government Phuc a letter on September 28 requesting that the
Government of Vietnam (GVN) remove provisions in current draft food
and biosafety legislation that require mandatory labeling of all
genetically modified food and agricultural products. Meanwhile,
Post continued outreach to Vietnamese biotech stakeholders on
development of biotech agriculture by sponsoring a series of
conferences throughout the country September 21-25. "Vietnam
Biotech II: Growing the Future" brought together 450 participants,
including Vietnamese scientists, policymakers, academics,
journalists, and agribusinesses, to discuss how best to develop
commercialized biotech agriculture. Conference presenters urged
the GVN not to adopt mandatory labeling. END SUMMARY.

CRITICAL TIME FOR VIETNAM BIOTECH

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

2. The Post-sponsored conference, "Vietnam Biotech II: Growing the
Future," took place soon after the release of the most recent
version of draft food and biosafety legislation requiring mandatory
labeling of all food and agricultural products that contain
"genetically modified organisms" (GMOs). Ambassador sent a letter
September 28 to Minister-Chairman of the Office of Government Phuc
raising our concerns with this draft legislation and requesting a
meeting to follow up.

3. The conference aimed to raise awareness about the benefits of
biotechnology for Vietnam and encourage development of the sector,
thereby advancing US biotech policies in the region. As a leading
agricultural producer and exporter, Vietnam has the potential to be
among the leaders in biotechnology. "Vietnam Biotech II: Growing
the Future" provided a rare public forum for Vietnamese scientists
and policy makers who support biotech agriculture to exchange
views, and respond to concerns raised by the private and public
sector. Dr. Ha Thanh Toan, National Assembly Member, said publicly
that the program was very useful for the promotion of biotechnology
in Vietnam and thanked the USG for its support.

4. Over 450 people participated in the four events. Biotech
experts discussed how biotechnology can be safely and effectively
implemented, as well as the negative impact of mandatory labeling,
including potential costs to producers and consumers. Over 30
media representatives attended the four conferences, providing
extensive print, internet, and Vietnam TV coverage. Television
interviews with the program speakers were aired for several days
after the events. As part of the outreach activities, Mission
Vietnam is finalizing a three part television documentary on the
advantages of biotechnology for Vietnam to be aired on Vietnam's
science channel. In addition, Mission Vietnam posted coverage on
the Embassy website.

5. COMMENT: This biotech conference is another example of the
considerable support the USG has provided to assist the GVN in
modernizing its food and food safety regimes, including support for
the drafting of new food safety and biosafety laws. Post is
disappointed that current draft legislation requires mandatory
labeling, and will continue to raise our concerns with the GVN. We
will keep Washington apprised of any new developments. END
COMMENT.
Michalak

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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