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Cablegate: Putin Calls for International Standards To

VZCZCXYZ0002
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #2543/01 2810647
ZNR UUUUU ZZH (CCY ADC00433 MSI0671-695)
P 080647Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5030
INFO RUEHVI/AMEMBASSY VIENNA 4774
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 5386

UNCLAS MOSCOW 002543

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
C O R R E C T E D COPY CAPTION
USDA FAS FOR OCRA/RIKER; ONA/TING,
- OSTA/BEAN, HAXTON
PASS FSIS/JONES, DUTROW
STATE FOR EUR/RUS
STATE PASS USTR FOR MURPHY, CHATTIN, HAFNER
VIENNA FOR APHIS
BRUSSELS PASS APHIS/FERNANDEZ
GENEVA FOR USTR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ETRD ECON RS
SUBJECT: PUTIN CALLS FOR INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS TO
REPLACE RESTRICTIVE SPS TRADE MEASURES

REF: A) Moscow 001556 B) Moscow 001206 C) Moscow 001187 D)
Moscow 1150


1. (U) SUMMARY: Prime Minister Vladimir Putin issued Resolution
#761,
which calls for Russian restrictive, non-science-based
sanitary/phytosanitary
(SPS) measures to be harmonized with international norms. However,
the
details of Resolution #716's implementation remain unclear as
officials in
the Ministry of Health and Social Development (MinHealth) and
Ministry of
Agriculture (MinAg) await more specific orders and certain GOR
Commissions are already in the midst of resetting such overarching
SPS
policy. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) Resolution #761 calls for harmonizing Russian sanitary and
epidemiological requirements, veterinary, sanitary and phytosanitary

measures with international standards where Russian standards are
more
restrictive and are not science-based. According to the Resolution,

MinHealth and MinAg should establish procedures to compare Russian
and
international standards before 2010. The evaluation will take into

consideration the requests of interested entities, including foreign

governments. At this time, it is not clear if requests responding
to
Resolution #761 are currently being accepted or what deadline would
be set
for the implementation of international standards. Instead,
Resolution #761
appears only to oblige the respective Ministries to set a roadmap
for
comparison of standards by January 1, 2010, while the actual
comparison of
standards and eventual adoption of international norms would likely
take
place sometime thereafter.

3. (U) Resolution #761 is online at
. An unofficial embassy

translation of Resolution #761 follows.

BEGIN TEXT:

Resolution of September 28, 2009, #761 "On ensuring harmonization of

Russian sanitary-epidemological requirements, veterinary-sanitary
and
phytosanitary measures with international standards".

With the purpose of improvement of the system of legal regulation in
the
area of protection of life and health of humans, animals and plants,
further
harmonization with international standards of sanitary and
epidemiological
requirements, veterinary, sanitary and phytosanitary measures in
force in
Russia with international standards, the Government of the Russian
Federation stipulates:

Determine that legal acts, establishing sanitary-epidemiological
requirements, veterinary-sanitary and phytosanitary measures are
subject to
expertise for their compliance with the standards, recommendations
and
other documents of international organizations, including the World
Health
Organization, Codex Alimentarius Commission, World Organization for

Animal Health (OIE), and corresponding international and regional

organizations, which are acting within the framework of the
International
Plant Protection Convention (hereafter referred to as expert
evaluation and
international standards)

Legal acts establishing sanitary and epidemiological requirements,
veterinary, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, which, as a result
of the
expert evaluation have restrictive character compared to
international
standards, without scientific basis of such restriction or risk
level for life or
health of humans, animals and plants, are subject to be brought in
compliance with international standards.

The Ministry of Health and Social Development of the Russian
Federation
and the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation shall:

--within 3 months from the effective date of this Resolution develop
and
approve the order of carrying out an expert evaluation within their

competence;

--ensure the carrying out of the expert evaluation is on the basis
of written
requests from interested entities, including the governments of
foreign
countries, with their possible participation in its implementation
or upon
their initiative. Within 30 days from the receipt of a written
request, the
corresponding federal executive entity shall acknowledge the receipt
of the
request to the requesting party.

The present Resolution becomes effective of the date of its official

publication.

Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation
V.Putin

END TEXT.

4. (U) Mid-management authorities in the MinAg and MinHealth did not

appear fully aware of what changes Resolution #716 would bring when

Agricultural Specialists contacted them Friday, October 2. The
MinAg
officials were unaware of the Resolution's existence but insisted
that
Minister Skrynnik will likely appoint the Russian Federal Veterinary
and
Phytosanitary Surveillance Service (VPSS) as the MinAg point of
contact.
The MinHealth officials were aware of the Resolution but insisted
that no
changes were likely to result from it unless additional budget
allocations
were made to MinHealth for such a special review. Instead,
MinHealth
officials insisted they already accept applications from the
scientific
community and interested industries to establish such norms
addressed in
Resolution #761 via the Commission for the Development of Federal
Sanitary-epidemiological Norms, located within MinHealth.

5. (U) Meanwhile, the Interagency Expert Commission, led by the
MinAg
and including the MinHealth, is currently considering a draft
Federal Law
regarding the Special Technical Regulation "On the Requirements for

Poultry, Poultry Meat, Processed Poultry Products, their Production
Process,

and Handling." The USG, U.S. industry, and Russian industry have
argued
against measures contained within this draft document since the
current
version would actually increase restrictions on trade and local
production
practices rather than standardize them with international norms and
current
production practices in both Russia and the United States. We know
that the
Russian National Meat Association has formally objected to the draft

Federal Law, pointing out that these are contrary to scientific,
international
norms and are in many cases not realistic for Russian producers.
The draft
Federal Law is online at .

6. (SBU) On September 29, MinAg specifically called upon the
Russian
poultry and meat associations and select companies to provide
comments on
specific points of tension within the draft Federal Law, including
those
points related to proposed bans on chlorine-treated poultry,
restrictions on
water content, and restrictions on using frozen poultry for
processing. One
recipient of this letter was U.S. joint-venture Eleanor Broiler.

6. (SBU) Comment: We like the message Putin sent with Resolution
#761;
however, we are concerned if these comments will truly transcend
into real
policy change. Such movement to adopt international standards on
SPS
issues would move Russia closer to WTO accession as well as deliver
a
much more favorable, predictable, and science-based trading
environment
for U.S. meat and poultry products. The immediate benefits to
current trade
could include the successful conclusion of several U.S.-friendly
veterinary
certificates, including pork; the elimination of current and future
trade
restrictions related to A/H1N1; a significant reduction in the
number of
banned U.S. meat and poultry facilities; and the dismissal of the
chlorine ban
which is set to become effective January 1, 2010. However, we are
concerned Russia will likely hide behind caveats and creative
interpretation
to maintain many of these restrictive SPS trade policy measures. As
a result,
we expect Resolution #761 will only provide a political cover to
finally
dismiss both trade linkages to A/H1N1 and the threatened chlorine
ban,
which would otherwise stop all U.S. poultry trade on January 1,
2010.

BEYRLE

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