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Cablegate: Sri Lanka: 2010 Nte: Report On Sanitary and Phytosanitary

VZCZCXRO8225
RR RUEHBI
DE RUEHLM #1009/01 3080201
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 040201Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0720
INFO RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA 2008
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 9044
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 7282
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 3437
RUEHKP/AMCONSUL KARACHI 2558
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI 9607
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI 6901

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 001009

SIPDIS

USTR FOR GBLUE and VICTORIA KADER; DEPARTMENT FOR EB/TPP/BTA and
SCA/INSB

E.O 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ETRD EFIN CE

SUBJECT: SRI LANKA: 2010 NTE: REPORT ON SANITARY AND PHYTOSANITARY
(SPS) AND STANDARDS-RELATED FOREIGN TRADE BARRIERS

REF: SECSTATE 105978

COLOMBO 00001009 001.10 OF 002


ZFR ZFR ZFR ZFR - COLOMBO 1009 WILL BE RESENT UNDER A NEW MRN - ZFR ZFR

COLOMBO 00001009 002.3 OF 002

SANITARY AND PHYTOSANITARY (SPS) MEASURES

7. (U) POULTRY: Sri Lanka has banned the importation of U.S.
chicken meat that is not mechanically deboned. During the October
2009 United States-Sri Lanka TIFA meeting, Sri Lanka openly admitted
that this measure was in place to protect its domestic industry and
contended that this was permitted under the use of a WTO safeguard
mechanism. The U.S. government responded that if this were the
case, that safeguard should be formally raised within the WTO.
Additionally, Sri Lanka had imposed avian influenza bans on all
poultry and poultry products imported from several U.S. states. As
of October 2009, these bans were all removed. Sri Lanka imposed
these bans due to the detection of low pathogenicity notifiable
avian influenza, an action which is not supported by the World
Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Sri Lanka was reluctant to
remove the bans and continues to believe that their actions were
justified - raising concerns that such action may reoccur.

8. (U) BEEF: A ban on U.S. beef imports remains in effect due to
the detection of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in the
United States in 2003. This ban is also not supported by the OIE,
and Sri Lanka is one of five countries in the world to have taken
absolutely no action to lift any part of their BSE-related U.S. beef
ban. This issue was raised during the October 2009 TIFA. Sri Lanka
defended their position by incorrectly citing the guidelines and
recommendations of the OIE's guidelines for meat and poultry.

9. (U) MICROBIOLOGICAL TESTING OF MEAT IMPORTS: In September 2009,
Sri Lanka started 100% testing of all imported meat products for
various pathogens. This policy change was not notified to the WTO.
Importers have complained that the additional demurrage costs
associated with the testing are unnecessary, and that government
testing methods are not sound. The U.S. Department of Agriculture
additionally argues that the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service
attestation which mandatorily accompanies all meat exports is a
sufficient assurance of wholesomeness. During the October 2009
TIFA, Sri Lanka was asked to provide its regulation on
microbiological testing, especially as it relates to their testing
protocol, targeted pathogens, and acceptable pathogen levels. The
U.S. government also emphasized the importance of notifying the WTO
SPS committee of this regulation.

10. (U) SEED POTATOES: Sri Lanka lifted a ban on imports of seed
potato from the United States in March 2007. The ban was initially
put in place due to fears that the Colorado Potato Beetle (CPB)
could be introduced into Sri Lanka via seed potato imports.
However, Sri Lanka now requires a certificate from a plant
entomologist stating that the CPB does not exist in the potato tuber
to accompany the seed potato imports. The United States has pressed
for the removal of this certificate requirement on the grounds that
it is not scientifically justified.

11. (U) Additionally, Sri Lanka requires unreasonable virus
tolerance levels for seed potatoes and overly restrictive
requirements on generation that USDA is unable to meet. In July
2009, a Sri Lankan team including an official from the Department of
Agriculture (DOA) visited the U.S. on an industry/inspection visit
to review the issue. Although Sri Lanka requires zero tolerance for
viruses, post-shipment tests of seed potatoes from other countries
presently supplying Sri Lanka have detected viruses, despite the
virus-free certification provided by these countries to the Sri
Lankan DOA. The APHIS/USDA area representative met with DOA
officials in September 2009 and discussed the matter. The APHIS
representative provided a list of viruses present in Sri Lanka and
presented a draft protocol for seed potato importation. Although
the DOA subsequently recommended a Pest Risk Assessment (PRA), APHIS
has questioned the need for a PRA since extensive discussions,
industry visits and exchange of letters have taken place on this
issue. The DOA will respond to APHIS in this regard after
consultations among its officials. Virus tolerances and restrictive
generation requirements need to be resolved before the Sri Lankan
market can grow into a strong commercial export market for U.S. seed
potatoes.

12. (U) Information contained in this cable will also be provided to
requesting offices as a Word document via email. Questions should
be directed to EconOff Ken Kero-Mentz at keroka@state.gov.


BUTENIS

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