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Cablegate: Latvia Will Vote Against All Biotech Crop Approvals

VZCZCXRO2113
PP RUEHIK
DE RUEHRA #0520 2891453
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 161453Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY RIGA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6102
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHDC

UNCLAS RIGA 000520

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
DEPT FOR EEB/TPP/ABT, AND EUR/ERA
STATE ALSO PLEASE PASS USTR AND USDA/FAS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ETRD EUN TBIO LG
SUBJECT: LATVIA WILL VOTE AGAINST ALL BIOTECH CROP APPROVALS

REF: SECSTATE 106819

1. (SBU) The Latvian parliament's European Affairs Committee told
the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) to vote against any EU approval of
biotech food. Thus, the MOA will vote against the biotech varieties
in reftel.

2. (SBU) Pol/Econ Off delivered reftel demarche to Inese Birgele,
head of the MFA's International Trade and Investment Division, and
to Janis Briedis, deputy director of the MOA's International Affairs
and Strategy Analysis Department. Mr. Briedis said that the ban
hurts Latvian farmers and that the MOA would like to evaluate
biotech varieties on a case-by-case basis, but it must follow the
committee's guidance. Ms. Birgele said that the Latvian public is
overwhelmingly opposed to biotech food and some in the Latvian
government would like to position Latvia as an organic biotech-free
food producer.

3. (U) Post will follow up by engaging committee members.

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