Cablegate: Economia On Next Cca, Meat Inspection, Csf and End
DE RUEHME #0216/01 0222205
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 222204Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEHC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC
INFO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0157
UNCLAS MEXICO 000216
USDA FOR FFAS MILLER, FAS FOR OA/BREWER, STOLL
PASS APHIS AND FSIS
PASS USTR FOR JOHN MELLE AND LESLIE O'CONNOR
OTTAWA FOR ROBIN TILSWORTH
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ETRD MX TBIO EFIS
SUBJECT: ECONOMIA ON NEXT CCA, MEAT INSPECTION, CSF AND END
(SBU) SUMMARY: This message includes action requests (para 7).
Mexican Secretariat of Economy (Economia) envisions holding the
next meeting of the Consultative Committee on Agriculture in
mid-April in Mexico and wishes to get started on an agenda. Topics
high on Mexico's list will include Mexico's desire for a
declaration of disease-free areas for classical swine fever (CSF)
and exotic Newcastle disease (END). There is keen interest in the
stalled meat inspection framework document negotiated by Mexican
and U.S. meat inspection authorities. USTR Kirk can expect
trucking, tuna and country-of-origin labeling (COOL) to be on his
agenda during his upcoming visit to Mexico. Following several
ministerial visits from Canada in the last two weeks, Economia is
increasingly of the view that coming to common ground on bovine
spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) will require a trilateral approach.
(SBU) In an meeting with AgMinCouns January 22, Economia Director
General for Conduct and Evaluation of Negotiations Juan Carlos
Baker advised that Under Secretary Beatriz Leycegui will be
available the second and third weeks of April for a Consultative
Committee on Agriculture, and that Economia is engaging the
Secretariat of Agriculture (SAGARPA) to firm up a date in that
range. With that in mind, Baker said Mexico is looking at what
should be on the CCA agenda, mindful of the desire of both sides
following the last CCA to make the agenda shorter. Baker said the
Mexican side would appreciate hearing back from the U.S. side a
list of the most important priority topics along with the U.S.
side's sense of what technical issues can be left out as they are
being resolved at the technical level. Mexico will be particularly
interested in topics where movement is needed, and would like a
list of pending issues from the U.S. side.
(SBU) Baker said that at the next CCA Mexico will raise
disease-free status for certain areas of Mexico with respect to
classical swine fever (CSF) and exotic Newcastle disease (END), as
that is a high priority for Mexico both for improved access to the
U.S. market and for improvement of Mexico's ability to market pork
and poultry to third countries.
(SBU) Baker said that Mexico had hosted multiple Canadian ministers
in the past two weeks, with Minister of Agriculture Gerry Ritz
having visited Mexico last week. The tone of these meetings, Baker
said, drove home the point that Mexico needs to devote more
attention to resolving disagreements with Canada, and by extension
the United States, over beef access as it relates to BSE. Baker
said he is convinced that a trilateral approach will be necessary
but added he is unsure to what degree the Mexican agencies involved
are ready for that. Baker noted that the major obstacle to
improved access for beef is not SENASICA, the Ministry of
Agriculture's veterinary and phytosanitary service, but rather is
COFEPRIS, the Ministry of Health's consumer safety service.
USTR KIRK'S UPCOMING VISIT
(SBU) Baker said Mexico will want to discuss trucking, tuna and
country-of-origin labeling with USTR Kirk during the upcoming visit
to Mexico, "even though we know the reply on COOL will be that we
need to let the WTO process run its course." He said shrimp may
also be raised in the context of Mexico conceding that it needs to
enforce the regulations it said it would, but if so, only in
passing. With regard to shrimp, Baker mentioned as an aside that
the issue has come to the attention of the Mexican presidential
administration, which is ordering relevant agencies to "get moving"
on enforcement of the regulations, and is setting deadlines of days
rather than weeks or months for action in order to avoid a shutdown
of trade in shrimp.
(SBU) Mexico is keenly interested in completing work on the
framework document setting terms of reference for meat inspection
negotiated between the Mexican meat inspection authority, SENASICA,
and USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service. Baker noted that
this document could well serve as a model for future such documents
that will facilitate trade and enhance competitiveness.
(SBU) Washington addressees are requested to provide soonest a
response to the trial balloon on holding a CCA in the second or
third week of April, and a winnowed list of priority agenda items.
(SBU) Pushing the CCA back from the originally proposed
January-February timeframe to April was of course occasioned by the
turnover of three under secretaries of agriculture in SAGARPA and
the departure of SAGARPA's eminence gris for international affairs,
Victor Villalobos, to a new job. This may well be a blessing in
disguise as it will give both sides a chance to make progress on at
least a few more of the issues on our collective plates. In
particular we believe that with some more good-faith negotiating
the two sides should be able to resolve the outstanding issues
related to the FSIS-SENASICA meat inspection document.
(SBU) With regard to the CSF and END issue, our sense is that the
technical levels of SENASICA have been playing both sides against
the middle (Economia and the political level of SAGARPA on one
side, and APHIS and the rest of USDA on the other) by creatively
interpreting the APHIS-SENASICA communications on this touchy
subject. We have heard from SENASICA's upper echelons, Economia,
and the political level of SAGARPA a shared suspicion that APHIS'
non-declaration of certain areas of Mexico free of CSF and END is
due to protectionist sentiments in USDA out of sympathy for U.S.
pork and poultry producers. This is a suspicion we ought not to
allow to take root, for if it does, a Mexican backlash against
perceived protectionism would severely damage U.S. pork and poultry
export interests (already under threat in the event of a carousel
approach to punitive tariffs due to the trucking issue). With that
said, we believe that the issue must be resolved at the technical
level, though some political as well as technical pressure on
SENASICA may be required to ensure that SENASICA answers completely
APHIS' questions (which answers APHIS needs to perform its due
diligence). We should also consider offering assistance to the
technical level of SENASICA on how to obtain the information needed
to answer APHIS' questions.