US embassy cable - 09STATE122732


Identifier: 09STATE122732
Wikileaks: View 09STATE122732 at
Origin: Secretary of State
Created: 2009-12-01 01:58:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
DE RUEHC #2732/01 3350204
R 010158Z DEC 09
E.O. 12958: N/A 
STATE 00122732  001.2 OF 005 
1. (U)  Summary.  Agricultural biotechnology has great 
potential to help address the challenges of food 
insecurity and mitigate climate change.  To realize 
this potential, and to protect the interests of U.S. 
farmers and exporters, we seek to promote understanding 
of the technology and encourage the adoption of fair, 
transparent, and science-based policies and practices 
in other countries.  This cable outlines key elements 
of our current biotech strategy as well as some of the 
tools and resources (including EEB's biotech outreach 
funds) available to help posts pursue an active biotech 
agenda in support of this strategy and encourages the 
various sections and agencies in your missions to work 
together as they pursue our shared goals on this issue. 
I encourage missions to prepare thoughtful, interagency 
coordinated proposals for use of this year's EEB 
biotech outreach funds (see paragraphs 10-16 for 
instructions on submitting proposals).  The deadline 
for these proposals is January 15, 2010; however we may 
begin allocating EEB biotech outreach funds before the 
deadline, as necessary.  End Summary. 
Biotech Outreach Objectives for 2010 
2. (U) Our biotech outreach objectives for 2010 are to 
increase access to, and markets for, biotech as a means 
to help address the underlying causes of the food 
crisis, and to promote agricultural technology's role 
in mitigating climate change and increasing biofuel 
production.  We will pursue these objectives by: 
-- Encouraging science and technology to play crucial 
roles in unleashing additional agricultural 
productivity, particularly in the developing world. 
Many international organizations have called for a 
second Green Revolution in Africa, and biotechnology 
will be a central part of that effort.  Biotechnology 
is being used to increase crop yields and enhance the 
ability of food crops to sustain climate shocks. 
-- Publicizing the fact that agricultural biotechnology 
can help address the food crisis and serve as a 
development tool by increasing food productivity, 
reducing crop input costs, and helping to alleviate 
-- Recognizing the role biotechnology can play in 
mitigating climate change by increasing the efficiency 
of land already in production and by increasing 
adoption of agricultural practices such as low till 
agriculture that trap carbon in the soil. 
-- Reinforcing the environmental gains from decreased 
insecticide use, reduced soil erosion, and increased 
plant efficiency, stressing the potential for improved 
nutrition and disease prevention, and encouraging the 
development and commercialization of ag-biotech 
products that meet the unique needs of developing 
-- Encouraging countries to abide by global trading 
rules and accept science-based evaluation of food 
production methods.  The U.S. will continue its effort 
to open markets and advocate responsible regulation. We 
will continue to seek full EU compliance with the 2006 
WTO ruling against the EU de facto moratorium on 
approving agricultural biotechnology products. 
-- Taking full advantage of the WTO biotech ruling by 
explaining the significance of the case, particularly 
to developing countries, and by stressing the global 
scientific consensus on the safety of ag-biotech 
products noted by the final WTO panel decision.  Some 
countries, especially in the developing world, lack the 
opportunity to utilize advanced crop technology due to 
concerns that the EU will not accept their agricultural 
exports if produced with the aid of biotechnology.  The 
U.S. should support developing countries that seek 
access to biotechnology, and reaffirm the WTO's 2006 
panel ruling on this issue. 
-- Ensuring that activities taken pursuant to the 
Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and the Codex 
STATE 00122732  002.2 OF 005 
Alimentarius are in line with those countries' 
obligations under international trade agreements. 
-- Promoting the understanding that ag-biotech 
contributes to production of biofuels through increased 
yields and improved feedstocks, and helps ensure food 
Strategy and Resources 
3. (U)  We urge posts to pay particular attention to 
advancing this strategy with countries that have key 
biotech legislation pending or are at a cross-roads on 
the technology, those that provide opportunities for 
active engagement on ag biotech to address food 
production and mitigate climate change, and those that 
are active players in international fora where 
biotechnology issues are discussed (e.g., CODEX 
Alimentarius and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety). 
4. (U)  The Department works with a host of other USG 
agencies, international organizations, NGOs and 
industry to promote understanding and acceptance of 
biotechnology as well as new initiatives related to 
this technology.  Within the State Department, the 
Agriculture and Biotech Trade Affairs Division 
(EEB/TPP/MTAA/ABT) takes primary responsibility for ag- 
biotech issues.  EEB has available biotech outreach 
funds that can be allocated to posts to further ag- 
biotech policy and promote acceptance of the 
technology.  These funds are administered by 
EEB/TPP/MTAA/ABT with the assistance of EEB/EX. Please 
see sections 10-16 for more information. 
5. (U)  Other USG agencies, such as USDA and USAID, 
have resources to help posts support USG biotech 
policy.  Close collaboration among all relevant embassy 
sections and agencies is key to ensuring that posts 
fully exploit the range of available USG biotech 
resources.  Many posts establish ag-biotech working 
groups to put together successful ag-biotech advocacy 
programs.  In order to facilitate effective 
coordination between EEB and the field on ag-biotech 
issues, posts should forward points of contact for ag- 
biotech issues to EEB/TPP/MTAA/ABT, Marcella Szymanski 
and Jack Bobo. 
6. (U)  Posts are encouraged to utilize the services of 
the Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP). 
Funds are available through EEB's Biotech Outreach 
Program to fund IIP Speaker Programs for Biotechnology. 
(Note:  Posts wishing to work with IIP in the 
recruitment of speakers and the administration of 
speaker programs must conform with the policies and 
guidelines of IIP.  If IIP is to be involved, then 
speakers must be U.S. citizens, and that they must be 
offered an honorarium of $200 per day (excepting USG 
employees) for each day of the program, and must be 
offered business class seating if the travel exceeds 14 
hours' duration.  It is suggested that posts work 
closely with Public Affairs Sections during the 
development and implementation of such programs, as the 
PA sections are familiar with IIP program requirements, 
procedures and request submission formats.  All IIP 
program requests MUST/MUST go through PA.) 
7. (U)  Posts are encouraged to use ECA's International 
Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP) by including ag- 
biotech participants---under their regular allotments-- 
-in the program.  For example, visits to U.S. farms 
where biotech crops are being cultivated, as well as 
discussions with U.S. farmers, have proven to be 
effective ways of dispelling concerns about biotech on 
the part of foreign visitors.  Posts should consider 
adding a biotech component to International Visitor 
programs for a wide range of opinion leaders, not just 
biotech specialists. 
8. (U)  Specially designed biotech Voluntary Visitors 
projects involving host government officials, industry 
leaders, and academics might also be considered.  The 
Foreign Press Center could arrange biotech reporting 
tours for U.S.- based foreign media and/or arrange 
visits by foreign media to the U.S. PAO's should 
coordinate these efforts directly with the relevant PA 
and ECA offices, although EEB/TPP/MTAA/ABT would 
appreciate receiving info copies of proposals and 
STATE 00122732  003.2 OF 005 
nominations, and stands ready to assist ECA and posts 
with programming efforts. 
9. (U)  EEB/TPP/MTAA/ABT staff are available as 
appropriate to advocate in host capitals, troubleshoot 
problematic legislation, and participate as public 
speakers on ag-biotech.  In particular, this is the key 
role of the State Department's Senior Advisor for 
Biotechnology, Jack Bobo. 
10. (U)  The Bureau of Economic, Energy and Business 
Affairs (EEB) has received funding in each of the last 
seven fiscal years for ag-biotech outreach projects. 
Although the full level of funding for fiscal year 2010 
is not yet certain, EEB encourages embassies and their 
consulates to propose projects such as speaker 
programs, conferences, workshops and seminars to take 
advantage of these funds to promote the acceptance of 
11. (U)  Funds are targeted towards public outreach to 
develop support for USG trade and development policy 
positions on biotechnology.  Projects should aim to 
provide accurate information on the benefits of 
biotechnology to policymakers and consumers in other 
countries and to encourage the adoption of science- 
based regulatory systems.  In light of discussions with 
Congressional staff, funds should be used to create 
support for USG positions in regions outside the 
European Union (EU) or to limit the influence of EU 
negative views on biotechnology.  We do, however, 
consider on a case-by-case basis, and have provided 
funding for, proposals from EUR posts that are 
consistent with our overall strategy. 
12. (U)  Acceptance and receipt of funds are contingent 
on posts' agreeing to provide, within one month of 
completion of the project, a report including the 
following elements: 
-- A financial report that itemizes the expenditures of 
-- A detailed description of the audience reached 
of attendees and nature of audience, e.g. producers, 
consumers, policymakers), with a particular emphasis on 
those individuals who may influence national biotech 
-- Analysis on whether the program influenced public 
-- Level of media coverage (and, if possible, the size 
the audience serviced by media). 
We urge post public diplomacy officers to consult with 
econ officers, ESTH officers, and Foreign Agricultural 
Service staff in crafting proposed projects prior to 
submission of requests.  Posts are encouraged to send 
proposals for FY 09 ag-biotech projects to the 
Department not later than January 10, 2010.  Projects 
received after that date will be considered based on 
available resources. 
Requests should outline: 
-- The cost of the proposed program; 
-- The target audiences; 
-- The specific ag-biotech issues to be addressed; 
-- How the project would help meet USG policy 
objectives (purpose and impact); 
-- Proposed length of program; 
-- Whether posts wish to go through the IIP Speaker Program 
or arrange for speakers themselves; and 
-- Name of post responsible officer and contact 
Please note:  IIP will be sending separate messages to 
select posts soliciting proposals for speaker projects 
as funds become available from EEB. 
14. (U)  Program proposals will be reviewed by 
STATE 00122732  004.2 OF 005 
EEB/TPP/MTAA/ABT.  Please slug cables for 
EEB/TPP/MTAA/ABT/ - Marcella Szymanski 
( and Jack Bobo 
15. (U) EEB/TPP/MTAA/ABT will work with posts to 
further develop promising proposals.  Average size of 
program has been $10,000-25,000, with some as small as 
$500 and others as large as $50,000. 
16. (U)  Funds may be used to pay for travel by 
participants or speakers to an international meeting or 
conference hosted by the USG in the United States or 
for travel by speakers from the United States to 
another country.  The funds can also be used to pay for 
speakers from neighboring countries or the region to 
speak at a host country event. EEB's Biotech Outreach 
funds come with a number of restrictions on how they 
can be used, so only certain types of projects are 
appropriate.  Applicable restrictions include: 
-- EEB funds cannot be used for International Visitor 
programs or to fund other travel by non-government 
employees (Invitational travel for non-USG employees is 
permitted as long as they will serve as a presenter or 
-- Funds cannot be used for representational events or 
to provide food or beverages for receptions or meals 
unless the meal is an integral part of a biotech 
outreach event; 
-- Funds cannot be provided as grants; 
-- Funds cannot be provided as foreign assistance or 
for training purposes; and 
-- Funds will need to be spent by the end of the fiscal 
year, i.e., September 30, 2010. 
Background on Agricultural Biotechnology 
17. (U) In the last twelve years more than 800 million 
hectares/2 billion acres of biotechnology crops have 
been planted around the world ? it took 10 years for 
the 1st billionth acre in 2005, but only 3 years for the 
2nd billionth acre in 2008.  In 2008, over two dozen 
countries grew biotechnology crops on more than 125 
million hectares/309 million acres ? with three new 
countries added: Egypt, Burkina Faso and Bolivia.  Ag- 
biotech growth continues even in Europe: five EU member 
states now grow biotech crops (Spain, Czech Republic, 
Poland, Slovakia and Romania). 
18. (U) This is not just a technology for large 
agribusinesses.  More than ninety percent of farmers 
benefiting from the technology are in the developing 
world.  In 2008, some 12.3 million small and resource 
poor farmers in the developing world benefited from 
biotechnology crops. Biotech offers the potential to 
help developing countries attack the cycle of poverty, 
address food security needs, and improve farmers' lives 
and incomes.  In India, conservative estimates for 
small scale farmers indicate that use of biotech cotton 
has increased yield by 31%, decreased insecticide 
application by 39%, and increased profitability by 88%, 
equivalent to $250 US dollars per hectare.  The 
increased income from biotech crops for small and 
resource-poor farmers represents an initial modest 
contribution toward the alleviation of their poverty. 
Scientists are developing new crops that resist drought 
and disease and provide health benefits to farmers and 
nutritional benefits to consumers, as well as ensure a 
reliable supply of staple crops for the developing 
-- Food Security Benefits: Biotech crops can play an 
important role through increasing productivity per 
hectare while decreasing costs of production (by a 
reduced need for inputs, less plowing and fewer 
pesticide applications). Of significance is biotech 
rice, awaiting approval in China, which has the 
potential to benefit 250 million poor in Asia growing 
half a hectare of rice while living on $1 U.S. dollar a 
-- Environmental Benefits:  Adoption of biotech crops 
has significantly reduced insecticide use (by an 
STATE 00122732  005.2 OF 005 
estimated 359,000 metric tons of active ingredients 
from 1996-2007, a saving of 9% in pesticides), and has 
allowed many farmers to adopt no- or low-till farming 
practices, thereby reducing soil erosion and 
consumption of energy and water.  Reduced use of 
pesticides in China (an estimated 60 percent reduction) 
has resulted in significant health benefits to Chinese 
cotton farmers, who previously suffered from exposure 
to dangerous and sometimes lethal levels of pesticides. 
-- Mitigating Climate Change: Biotech crops help 
mitigate climate change in two ways.  First, there are 
permanent savings in carbon dioxide (CO2) emission 
through reduced use of fossil-based fuels, associated 
with fewer insecticide and herbicide sprays. Second, 
additional savings from conservation tillage (need for 
less or no plowing facilitated by herbicide-tolerant 
biotech crops), leads to additional soil carbon 
sequestration.  In 2007, the combined benefits from 
permanent savings and sequestration were equivalent to 
removing 6.3 million cars from the road. 
-- Biofuels:  Biotechnology can be used to cost- 
effectively optimize the productivity of first 
generation food/feed and fiber crops as well as second- 
generation energy crops (trees, sorghum, switchgrass). 
19. (U) For additional informational materials 
(including fact sheets, remarks, and related links on 
ag-biotech) addressees should visit EEB's intranet 
http://eeb.e.state.sbu/sites/tpp/mtaa/default .aspx. For 
additional information on the global status of 
commercialized biotech/GM crops see: ISAAA briefs at: . 
20. Minimize considered. 

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