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Cable reference id: #10QUITO54
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Reference id aka Wikileaks id #243958  ? 
SubjectEmbassy Quito Request For Funding Of Biotech Proposal
OriginEmbassy Quito (Ecuador)
Cable timeFri, 15 Jan 2010 22:33 UTC
ClassificationUNCLASSIFIED
Sourcehttp://wikileaks.org/cable/2010/01/10QUITO54.html
References09STATE122732
History
Extras? Comments
VZCZCXYZ0004 RR RUEHWEB DE RUEHQT #0054/01 0152234 ZNR UUUUU ZZH R 152233Z JAN 10 FM AMEMBASSY QUITO TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0653 INFO RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO
Hide header UNCLAS QUITO 000054 SIPDIS DEPT FOR WHA/AND DEPT FOR EEE/TPP/MTAA/ABT -MARCELLA SZYMANSKI AND JACK BOBO E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: EAGR [Agriculture and Forestry], ECON [Economic Conditions], ETRD [Foreign Trade], TBIO [Biological and Medical Science], KPAO [Public Affairs Office], EC [Ecuador] SUBJECT: Embassy Quito Request for Funding of Biotech Proposal REF: 09 STATE 122732 ¶1. Summary. In response to reftel, Embassy Quito is requesting funding for a biotech proposal as part of the Department of State's 2010 Biotech Outreach Program. The project is focused on informing a key group of journalists who, by providing accurate information on biotech issues, have the potential for improving the domestic debate on biotechnology during this critical time when new legislation is being developed. The program consists of a trip to the United States covering both policy and technology issues and would cost close to $23,000. Proposal details are provided below. End Summary. Background on Biotech in Ecuador ¶2. Ecuador's acceptance of biotechnology is currently at a crossroads. The 2008 Ecuadorian Constitution declares Ecuador free of transgenic crops and seeds while also granting the President the power to allow the importation and planting of biotech commodities. Several laws concerning biotechnology exist but are not enforced. At the same time, new laws and regulations are being drafted in order to fulfill the Constitution's mandate. Much of this legislation would restrict the trade of biotech crops and seeds if passed and enforced. The Presidential exception in the Constitution was added only as a result of lobbying from Ecuador's influential agro-businesses. Ecuador's Food Sovereignty Law of February 2009, which was intended to provide specifics on the regulation of biotechnology, only reinforces the constitutional mandate. As a consequence, it is expected that the National Assembly will approve legislation that will affect biotechnology, the use and commercialization of seeds, and consumer protection issues regarding genetically modified organisms. ¶3. Currently, Ecuador imports biotech commodities from its international partners, including the United States, Argentina, and Brazil. There have not been any recent disruptions in the importation of biotech commodities but, because of current and pending legislation, this could change. Program Proposal ¶4. Post requests funding to support the travel of five Ecuadorian journalists to the United States to participate in a one-week biotech tour. Public opinion on biotechnology in Ecuador is currently ambivalent about biotechnology and most of the general public appears to be uneducated about the topic. The purpose of the biotechnology tour for journalists is to educate opinion-makers about biotechnology with the goal of generating honest, science-based biotech news coverage consistent with the USG position on biotechnology. See paragraph 12 for a notional itinerary for the program. Costs ¶5. The total estimated cost for the program is $22,900. The breakdown of costs is as follows: -Airfare, lodging/M&IE, and US visa for each journalist is $2, 884. Total $14,420. -Airfare and lodging/M&IE for a translator is $980. -Translation services are estimated at $5,000. -Miscellaneous is $2500. Target Audience ¶6. The target audience for this program is Ecuadorian journalists from major newspapers and TV shows who specialize in public opinion pieces (editorials), scientific journalism, and day-time TV shows. The ultimate goal of the program is to reach the Ecuadorian consumer through their coverage of biotech issues. Specific agricultural biotech issues to be addressed ¶7. Specific Agricultural Biotech Issues to be Addressed within the Proposed Program Include: - Global and U.S. perspective on biotechnology - Biodiversity of agricultural crops and the effects of U.S. agriculture off the farm - Positive impacts of biotechnology (focusing on the state of Kansas) - U.S. industry perspective on biodiversity and biosafety and coexistence - Regulation of biotechnology - Perception of biotechnology Purpose and Impact of Project ¶8. The United States supports the production of biotech commodities and seeds. Soybeans and corn, two of the United States' top export commodities, are commonly produced through the use of biotechnology. As Ecuador is a commercial market for these products, (In 2008, the United States exported over $33 million in soybean meal and over $44 million in coarse grains to Ecuador), it is in the interest of the USG to garner public support for biotechnology. Pro-biotech coverage from trusted Ecuadorian media will help to change public opinion. A positive public opinion towards biotechnology will undoubtedly affect future legislation. Pro-biotech press coverage will lay the foundation for positive opinion and help prevent public outcry if/when the President or National Assembly allow for biotech testing and planting. Length of Program ¶9. The duration of the program is one business week. The delegation will arrive in the United States on Sunday and depart Saturday after meetings in Washington DC and St. Louis, Missouri. International Information Programs (IIP) ¶10. Post is not requesting resources from IIP and can arrange for speakers/experts during the program. Post Contact Information ¶11. ECON: Janice Fair; fairjr@state.gov FAS: Eugene Philhower; Eugene.philhower@fas.usda.gov, and Henry Vega; henry.vega@fas.usda.gov ¶12. Notional Itinerary for Proposed Biotech Trip to United States for Ecuadorian Journalists Sunday Delegation arrives in Washington Monday -Global Developments and U.S. Perspectives on Biotechnology - USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service -Discussion on Biodiversity of Agricultural Crops and the Effects of US Agriculture on the off-farm Environment - USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service -Discussion on Positive Impacts of Biotechnology and the State of Kansas - Representative of the Department of Agriculture, State of Kansas (TBC) -Industry Prospective on Biodiversity/Biosafety and Coexistence - Biotechnology Industry Organization -Presentation and Discussion on the U.S. Approach to the Regulation of Products for Environmental Safety - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Biotechnology Coordinator for the Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture -Presentation and Discussion of Perceptions of Food Biotechnology Tuesday Schmidt Farms (MD) Tour of Chesapeake Farms Research Facility (MD) Wednesday Delegation travels to St. Louis Thursday U.S. Soybean Export Council Stemme Farms Tour of Donald Danforth Plant and Science Center Friday National Corn Growers Association Monsanto-Chesterfield Village Research Center Tour of East Hannibal Elevator Saturday Delegation returns to Ecuador HODGES

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