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Cablegate: Ethiopia: Sanitary and Phytosanitary and Standards-Related

VZCZCXRO8649
RR RUEHROV
DE RUEHDS #2618/01 3081222
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 041222Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6719
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEPADJ/CJTF HOA
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEWMFD/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ADDIS ABABA 002618

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/EPS - ABREITER AND GMALLORY; EEB/IFD/OMA -
JWINKLER AND EEB/CBA - DWINSTEAD; EEB/TPP/BTA
DEPARTMENT PASS TO USTR FOR PATRICK COLEMAN, BARBARA GRYNIEWWICZ,
GLORIA BLUE, JANE DOHERTY, AND JEFF WEISS
DEPT OF COMMERCE FOR ITA MARIA RIVERO
DEPT OF TREASURY FOR REBECCA KLEIN
USAID FOR AFR/EA - HELLYER, DALTON, AFR/SD - CURTIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD ECON EFIN EINV BEXP AF ET
SUBJECT: ETHIOPIA: SANITARY AND PHYTOSANITARY AND STANDARDS-RELATED
FOREIGN TRADE BARRIERS REPORT FOR 2010 NATIONAL TRADE ESTIMATE
REPORT

REF: STATE 106353

ADDIS ABAB 00002618 001.2 OF 002


1. (U) This cable is a response to reftel request for reports on
Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) and Standard-Related foreign trade
barriers.

Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS)
--------------------------------

2. (U) On September 9, 2009, the Ethiopian Government enacted
Proclamation No. 655/2009, establishing a regulatory framework for
biosafety in Ethiopia. The stated objective of the proclamation is
to protect biodiversity, as well as human and animal health, from
the "adverse effects of modified organisms." This law places a
significant regulatory burden on those who seek to import food
commodities containing "modified organisms" (MO) and is both more
expansive and comprehensive than internationally accepted norms on
biosafety outlined in the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. For
example, it makes no distinction between viable (i.e., able to
reproduce in the environment) and non-viable organisms, as outlined
in the Cartagena Protocol. As a result, the proclamation may result
in a significant barrier to trade in both processed and raw food
products, as well as a variety of agricultural products. Corn, soy,
and cotton derivative products are among the potentially affected
products. The estimated impact of this trade barrier ranges from
USD 100-500 million.

3. (U) The biosafety law grants the Ethiopian Environmental
Protection Authority (EPA) the power to regulate the making or use
of any MOs in "teaching, research, production, import, export,
transit, release, contained production, transport, placing on the
market, or use as pharmaceutical, as food, as feed, or for
processing." According to the law and directives, an Advanced
Informed Agreement (AIA) must be obtained before a viable or
non-viable MO may enter Ethiopia. The AIA application process
includes submission of product characterization information,
environmental and human health risk assessments, social and economic
impact assessments, and risk management plans. By contrast, the
Cartagena Protocol only requires an AIA for living modified
organisms intended for direct release into the environment, not for
those intended for food, feed, or processing.

Standards, Testing, Labeling, and Certification
--------------------------------------------- --

4. (U) The Quality and Standards Authority of Ethiopia regulates all
exports and imports that are subject to Ethiopian standards.
Certification is required for foodstuffs, construction materials,
chemicals, textiles, and pharmaceuticals. Outside of the new
biosafety legislation affecting food and agricultural products, the
standards appear to be consistent with international norms.
Pharmaceuticals that have been extensively tested and licensed in
other countries are allowed to enter the Ethiopian market without
further testing. Industry sources have reported instances in which
burdensome regulatory or licensing requirements have prevented the
import and/or local sale of products from the United States and
other countries, particularly personal hygiene and health care
products.

5. (U) Ethiopia established a National Codex Committee (NCC) in
2003, which advises the Ethiopian Government on food standard
issues. The NCC is a member of the Food and Agricultural
Organization of the United Nations (FAO)/World Health Organization
(WHO) Coordinating Committee for Africa (CCAFRICA), which
participates in Codex (the WTO-recognized body for setting
international food safety standards).

6. (U) The new biosafety law imposes rigorous examination and
burdensome labeling requirements for MO-related food and
agricultural products. The EPA must be notified before any MO is
transported into Ethiopia and MOs must be declared at points of
entry. MO-related products must be labeled, in English and the
local language (Amharic), with the words "contains modified

ADDIS ABAB 00002618 002.2 OF 002


organism." Customs officers have the authority to examine, sample,
and detain loads if they are thought to contain unauthorized MOs.
Transporters must obtain a special license to bring viable MO
products into Ethiopia.

USG Action
----------

7. (SBU) CDA Meece and various USAID officials have held several
meetings with Government of Ethiopia (GoE) officials to discuss our
concerns regarding the restrictive biosafety legislation. USAID has
also submitted written comments to the GoE requesting clarification
of the language to be used in the law's implementing directives. It
seems unclear at this point how the GoE will define the broad-based
language used in the law and corresponding directives or whether GoE
officials have the capacity to implement the new legislation.
Notably, this law could restrict the importation of the vegetable
oil and rice portions of USAID's food aid. USAID currently has
approximately 31,000 metric tons of food aid en route to Ethiopia
that contains corn and soy processed commodities.

8. (U) FAS and the US Codex Office are implementing a comprehensive
program to enable members of CCAFRICA to participate more
effectively in Codex and to adopt Codex and other internationally
recognized standards related to agricultural trade. In July 2009,
the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) hosted a week-long Codex
seminar in Ethiopia. The focus of the training activity carried out
in Ethiopia was on helping the NCC better understand its respective
role and responsibilities and to provide it with tools with which to
achieve more effective participation in the standards-setting
activity of Codex. As a result of the training, FAS plans to
follow-up with Ethiopia on its regional coordination activities and
monitor its planned evaluation and development of its national food
control system. [Note: The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) has
not yet studied Ethiopian SPS regulations and non-tariff barriers.
FAS will appoint an Agricultural Attache to begin work in AmEmbassy
Addis Ababa during FY10. End Note.]

9. (U) As requested, Post will forward electronic copies of the
biosafety legislation as well as meeting report summaries to stated
reftel USTR points of contact in addition to a Word version of the
reports contained in this cable.

MUSHINGI

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