Search

 

Cablegate: Vietnam Project Nomination for 2010 Biotechnology Outreach

VZCZCXRO3861
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHHI #0128/01 0330920
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 020919Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0819
INFO ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHINGTON DC
RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY 0435
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE USD FAS WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HANOI 000128

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
STATE PASS TO FDA (MPLAISER/RCAMPBELL/ECOREY)
USDA FOR FAS/OSTA/EPORTER
HHS/OSSI/DSI FOR OGHA (WSTIEGER/LVALDEZ/CHICKEY)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO EAGR ETRD ECON EAID VM
SUBJECT: VIETNAM PROJECT NOMINATION FOR 2010 BIOTECHNOLOGY OUTREACH

REF: 2009 STATE 122732 - FY 2010 BIOTECH OUTREACH STRATEGY AND
DEPARTMENT RESOURCES
2009 HANOI 1050 - POST PROMOTES BIOTECH WHILE GVN CONSIDERS MORE
RESTRICTIVE BIOTECH LAWS

1. (SBU) Summary: Mission Vietnam is pleased to submit a two part
project proposal for consideration by EEB as part of the 2010
Biotech Outreach Strategy (Reftels A and B). Vietnam is at a
critical stage in its development of biotechnology. Although the
Government of Vietnam (GVN) says it plans to launch biotech field
trials this year and is building biotech partnerships with the
United States, it continues to proceed with the draft Food Safety
Law requiring mandatory labeling of food products with a minimum
five percent biotech content. Mandatory labeling would
disadvantage U.S. food and agricultural exports to Vietnam, and
could negatively impact Vietnam's nascent biotech industry. Time
to positively influence the DFSL is running out, as the Vietnam
National Assembly (NA) will hold its final vote in early June.

2. (SBU) To address this critical situation, and to build on the
successes of our previous biotech outreach activities, we propose a
two part plan. Part one sends key NA members to the United States
for a targeted U.S. Government-sponsored workshop focused on the
economic implications of mandatory labeling. Part two builds on
the last two years' outreach activities and national lecture
series, "Vietnam Biotech: Growing the Future," which have provided
an important forum for Vietnamese scientists and biotech supporters
and helped educate the public and the media. The 2010 series will
focus on the advantages of biotechnology for food security, climate
change and sustainable development. End Summary.

MEETING UNITED STATES POLICY OBJECTIVES

3. (SBU) Mission Vietnam's proposed outreach activities will
promote a greater understanding of the practical benefits of
biotechnology as the GVN develops its biotech regulatory framework,
including labeling requirements. Once completed, the framework
could better secure the lucrative biotech market in Vietnam for
U.S. biotech exports and help to expand the market to include
biotech seeds and plants. Convincing the GVN to remove the
mandatory labeling provision in the Food Safety Law could
significantly help U.S. companies, as well as Vietnam's own biotech
industry. (Note: A mandatory labeling regime in Vietnam could
negatively impact U.S. exports of feed grains and ingredients,
soybeans, meal and oil to Vietnam, which totaled more than $237
million in 2009. End note.) Greater support for biotechnology in
Vietnam could also help position Vietnam as a key ally in the
region to advocate for and support broader adoption of
biotechnology products in ASEAN. This proposal also addresses
issues of food security and sustainable development.

PROPOSAL PART ONE: FOCUS ON KEY NA DECISION MAKERS

4. (SBU) Since the GVN first tabled the Food Safety Law three
years ago, USDA, State Department, and USAID have worked together
to try to convince the GVN to remove the mandatory labeling
provision. Unfortunately, the provision remains, and the NA is
expected to take a final vote on the draft law in early June 2010.
Despite the USG's sustained efforts, the "eleventh hour" has
arrived, and time and opportunities to positively affect the NA's
understanding of biotechnology are now very limited.

5. (SBU) As the NA's Science, Technology and Environment Committee
(STEC) is the committee in charge of shepherding the Food Safety
Law through the NA's legislative process, it can significantly
influence how the NA ultimately votes on the law. STEC recently
contacted us to see if we could organize a workshop in the United
States for several key members of the STEC to increase their
awareness and understanding of the economic ramifications of
mandatory biotech labeling.

PART ONE: ACTIVITIES, BUDGET AND TIME FRAME

6. (U) Post would send NA STEC members to the United States for a
workshop targeted at educating the members on the benefits of
biotechnology and the economic costs of mandatory labeling in March
2010. The program cost is estimated at $15,000 for 10 economy
class, round-trip airfare tickets from Hanoi to Washington, DC for
the 10 participants. The workshop will be funded by the
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), which is
implementing the U.S. Agency for International Development's
Program on Biosafety Systems (PBS). IFPRI/PBS, which has been
working with the GVN to launch a practical, operational biosafety
system in Vietnam, will design the workshop.

HANOI 00000128 002 OF 003


7. (U) Post action officer for the NA workshop is Agricultural
Counselor Jeanne Bailey, Jeanne.bailey@fas.usda.gov,
84-4-3850-5000, ext 5118. Back-up contact is Agricultural Attach????
Justin Taylor, Justin.tayor@fas.usda.gov, 84-4-3850-5000, ext 5083.

PROPOSAL PART TWO: NATIONAL LECTURE SERIES AND MEDIA OUTREACH

8. (U) Based on our successful 2008 and 2009 biotech outreach
activities and in consultation with our partners at the Ministry of
Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), we propose a national
lecture series, "Vietnam Biotech III: Growing the Future,"
focusing on the benefits of biotechnology for food security,
climate change and sustainable development. Project activities
will complement ongoing U.S. efforts to promote the acceptance of
biotechnology in Vietnam, and to encourage Vietnamese policymakers
to finalize draft regulations favorable to biotechnology trade,
research and development.

9. (SBU) Although some senior level GVN officials, academics, and
researchers have expressed support for biotechnology, some key
ministries and officials, as well as the public, are uninformed (or
misinformed) about the safety of biotechnology for agricultural
products. Therefore, Mission Vietnam proposes to focus 2010
outreach activities on increasing knowledge about the safety and
benefits of biotech products, and their role in Vietnam's
sustainable development, among targeted ministries, officials,
researchers, and businesses (via a lecture series), as well as the
general public (via media channels).

PART TWO: ACTIVITIES, BUDGET AND TIME FRAME

10. (U) The 2010 biotech lecture program would be a weeklong
series of events with four half-day workshops featuring an American
keynote speaker who is a biotech expert. Each half-day workshop
would have a slightly different but related target audience. All
events would be designed to build an understanding of biotechnology
and its role in Vietnam's sustainable development goals, including
the importance of biotech in responding to climate change. Each
workshop would include media coverage and opportunities for
information sharing with Vietnamese experts and participants. Our
American guest speaker would also be available for additional
related meetings and discussions as appropriate.

Project activities will begin as soon as possible. The proposed
outreach conference series locations include:

- Hanoi, the capital, focus on policy makers.
- Ho Chi Minh City, the commercial center, focus on agricultural
businesses
- University of Can Tho (Can Tho is the breadbasket of Vietnam),
focus on researchers, academics and students.
- Vinh Phuc (a maize growing province interested in field testing
biotech), focus on local agriculture officials and farmers.

11. (U) Working with our partners at MARD and at the Biotech
Center in Ho Chi Minh City, we would organize a media round-table
with participation of biotech experts and journalists. The
participants will discuss the safety and benefits of biotech
products, which would contribute to achieving Vietnam's goals of
producing more food while protecting the environment. This
discussion will be televised so the message can reach the broader
public.

12. (U) The total program cost would be approximately $22,700 as
follows:

National Lecture Series Costs

--Travel costs (1 expert): $5,600
--Hotel, per diem, honorarium (1 expert for 6 days): $3,600
--Four half-day workshops (total): $10,000
------------------
Lecture Series Total: $19,200

Round-table Costs

-- Facility cost for a half-day round-table, and filming cost:
$3,500

13. (U) Post action officer is Economic Officer Marcie Friedman,
friedmanmh@state.gov, +84 4 850 5092. Backup contact is Andrew

HANOI 00000128 003 OF 003


Herrup, ESTH Officer, herrupar@state.gov, +84 4 850 5017.

CONCLUSION

14. (U) Promoting the development of biotechnology in Vietnam
remains an important U.S. policy goal. Mission Vietnam's two part
proposal integrates both the immediate and longer term needs by
specifically targeting key NA decision makers in Part One of the
proposal, while continuing broader outreach to the public, media,
scientists, and commercial agricultural community in Part Two.

15. (U) This cable was coordinated with U.S. Consulate General in
Ho Chi Minh City.
Michalak

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN News: Vaccine Inequity Triggers ‘Huge Disconnect’ Between Countries

Although COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to decline globally for a second consecutive week, the UN health agency chief said on Monday that “a huge disconnect” is mounting between some highly vaccinated countries, which see the pandemic as largely resolved, ... More>>

Save The Children: Almost 60 Children Killed In Gaza In The Last Week Alone

Save the Children is calling for an immediate ceasefire by all parties, as 58 children[i] in Gaza and two children in southern Israel have been killed in the last week. More than a thousand people in Gaza, including 366 children[ii], have also been injured. ... More>>


IPPPR: The Independent Panel Calls For Urgent Reform Of Pandemic Prevention And Response Systems

Expert independent panel calls for urgent reform of pandemic prevention and response systems The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response is today calling on the global community to end the COVID-19 pandemic and adopt a series of bold and ... More>>


Focus On: UN SDGs

ILO Voices: A Future With Hope, Free From Bonded Labour

By Padma Kumari Tamata Formerly in bonded labour, Padma Kumari Tamata is now a farmer, and grows and sells her own vegetables in the Kanchanpur district of Nepal. My name is Padma and I come from Vashi, a small hamlet in Nepal’s far-west Kanchanpur district. ... More>>

UN: Economic Recovery Under Threat Amid Surging COVID Cases And Lagging Vaccination In Poorer Countries

New York, 11 May — While the global growth outlook has improved, led by robust rebound in China and the United States, surging COVID-19 infections and inadequate vaccination progress in many countries threaten a broad-based recovery of the world ... More>>

Study: Cut Methane Emissions To Avert Global Temperature Rise

6 May 2021 Methane emissions caused by human activity can be reduced by up to 45 per cent this decade, thus helping to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, according to a UN-backed ... More>>