INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Biotech: Ministry of Economy Engaging

Published: Thu 7 Aug 2008 02:06 PM
VZCZCXRO5635
PP RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHROV
DE RUEHWR #0940 2201406
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 071406Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY WARSAW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6871
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES
RUEHKW/AMCONSUL KRAKOW 2148
UNCLAS WARSAW 000940
SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
STATE FOR EUR/CE
STATE FOR EEB/TPP/ABT/BTT FINN
USDA FOR FAS/OSTA MHENNY, LJONES; FAS/OFSO DYOUNG
USDA FOR FAS/OCRA/RCURTIS, DSEIDBAND
BRUSSELS PASS AG MINISTER COUNSELOR
EUROPEAN POSTS FOR AGR/ECON
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ECON ETRD TBIO PGOV PL
SUBJECT: BIOTECH: MINISTRY OF ECONOMY ENGAGING
REF: WARSAW 823
1. (SBU) Polish Economy Minister and Deputy Prime Minister
Waldemar Pawlak (PSL) August 6 signaled to Charge that he
regarded Poland's hard-line stance on agricultural
biotechnology as a relic of the previous government's tactic
of deploying conflict and fear - in this case against GMOs.
Quoting a Russian proverb - "if you keep a low profile, you
will get further" - Pawlak said he is looking for a "soft
exit" from that stance. He acknowledged the damage Poland's
policy has done to its farmers and producers, who face record
high input prices, and suggested that his ministry is
prepared to take small steps toward more openness to GMOs.
2. (SBU) The current Ministry of Economy has not engaged
itself to date in Poland's biotechnology policy. The
PSL-controlled Agriculture Ministry was important in moving
legislation through the Sejm to avert a Polish ban on GM
crops in animal feed in July (reftel), legislation that
finally overruled the Environment Minister's activist
approach against transgender crops. That victory and
Pawlak's August 6 signal have generated guarded hope in
Embassy Warsaw that Pawlak's approach of seeking quiet
progress may yield more fruit, and not only in Warsaw. While
we defer to the vote counting expertise of USEU, we
understand that a Polish abstention alone on, for example,
new soybean varieties in the Commission's Standing Committee
for Animal Health and the Food Chain can help open EU markets
to U.S. production.
3. (SBU) Pawlak invited Charge to continue the conversation
with him in the next two weeks - an offer we accepted. Though
August is a difficult time to do business here, Embassy
Warsaw's Biotechnology Working Group (ECON, PAS, FAS, FCS)
will reach out in the meantime to other stakeholders in
Warsaw and in the USG to develop what may be a new opening in
Warsaw.
QUANRUD
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