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Cablegate: Taiwan Biotech: 2010 Outreach Proposals

Published: Fri 15 Jan 2010 07:41 AM
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PP RUEHCN RUEHGH
DE RUEHIN #0068/01 0150741
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 150741Z JAN 10
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3128
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 TAIPEI 000068
SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
STATE PLEASE PASS TO AIT/W AND EAP/RSP/TC, EAP/PD, R, ECA/PE/V/F,
EEB/TPP/ABT
EEB/TPP/ABT FOR MARCELLA SZYMANSKI AND JACK BOBO
STATE PASS USTR/ERIC ALTBACH AND JARED RAGLAND
USDA FAS FOR OSTA - ELIZABETH JONES
USDA FAS FOR OCRA - ANDREW ANDERSON-SPRECHER
USDOC FOR 4430/ITA/MAC
TAGS: EAGR ETRD KPAO OEXC OIIP SENV TBIO TW
SUBJECT: Taiwan Biotech: 2010 Outreach Proposals
Ref: 09 STATE 122732
1. (U) This is an action request for EEB/TPP/ABT. See paragraphs 6,
7, and 12.
Background
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2. (SBU) Taiwan is the U.S.'s sixth-largest agricultural export
market. In 2009, the United States exported more than USD 3.2
billion of agricultural, fish and forest products to Taiwan, half of
which was biotech products. Although most Taiwan consumers are
unaware of how many biotech agricultural products they use daily,
public polling shows most Taiwan people are comfortable consuming
biotech products.
3. (SBU) However, life science companies, the U.S. grain trade, and
the U.S. government have expressed concerns about Taiwan's ability
to review and approve newer and more complex biotech events that
will enter the market in the near future, such as drought-tolerant
corn and nutritionally-enhanced genetically-modified (GM) products.
Taiwan authorities have expressed similar concerns, and have
requested U.S. assistance in increasing Taiwan's capacity to conduct
reviews of new biotech events. [Note: 'Event' refers to each
instance of a genetically-engineered organism. For example, the same
gene inserted into a given plant genome at two different locations
along that plant's DNA would be considered two different events. Two
different genes inserted into the same location of two same-species
plants would also be considered two different events.
In most cases, regulatory agencies confer new biotech-derived
product approvals in terms of events. End note.]
4. (SBU) Providing such training assistance to relevant Taiwan
authorities will help the island become one of the world's early
adopters, commercializers, and exporters of biotechnology. Building
up Taiwan's review capacities would also help U.S. exporters avoid
costly disruptions to Taiwan-bound exports of new-concept U.S.
biotech products.
5. (SBU) In addition, a biotech-friendly Taiwan serves as a showcase
to other emerging markets of the potential benefits of
biotechnology, and would act as a catalyst for adoption of biotech
products throughout Asia, particularly Southeast Asia. Taiwan has
committed significant resources to domestic biotechnology research,
and the Taiwan authorities are committed to sharing the island's
biotech know-how with regional trading partners. Taiwan exerts
regional leadership on biotech issues by holding an annual
biotechnology training course for officials and regulators from
across Southeast Asia. This training is co-sponsored by AIT,
National Taiwan University, the Council of Agriculture, and several
regional agriculture institutes, and supports the overall U.S.
objective of spreading knowledge about the benefits of biotech
agriculture to developing countries.
Funding Proposals
-----------------
6. (SBU) To help achieve the goal of keeping Taiwan a positive
regional force in agricultural biotechnology, and to avoid potential
disruptions in imports of U.S. corn and soybeans, AIT would like to
use USD 38,654 of funds available under the 2010 EB Biotechnology
Outreach Strategy to improve the Taiwan authorities' biotech
application review and risk communication capabilities, and to
increase awareness of the benefits of developing a stronger biotech
industry among Taiwan's key policy-makers, scientists, agricultural
producers, and general public.
Program One
-----------
7. (U) U.S. Based Capacity-Building and Risk-Communication
Activities: Life science companies, Taiwan regulatory authorities,
U.S. regulatory authorities, and local research institutes and
universities co-sponsor a one week U.S.-based training course with
U.S. regulators for Taiwan academics responsible for reviewing
biotech applications, and key Taiwan authorities from the
newly-formed Taiwan FDA responsible for final approval of biotech
applications.
8. (U) Cost: USD 25,000. Including:
--No cost for the seminar venues, which would be held in
U.S.-government facilities.
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--No cost for interpretation services for seminar and other
activities, which would be covered by private-sector co-sponsors.
--USD 25,000 for five participants from Taiwan to Washington DC.,
which includes USD 10,000 for five economy-class airline tickets,
USD 15,000 for 10 days worth of Washington DC lodging and MI
[Note: Washington, D.C. per diem is USD 300 for most seasons of the
year. 300 x 10 x 5 persons = USD 15,000. End note.]
9. (SBU) Specific ag biotech issues to be addressed: Proven
risk-communication and risk-management strategies concerning future
biotech events from the U.S. FDA and CODEX perspective; positive
outlook for future growth of Taiwan's indigenous biotech research
industry; benefits of biotech products for Taiwan's food producers;
benefits of low-pesticide biotech products for Taiwan's environment
and public health; benefits of agricultural biotechnology and the
adoption and development of biotechnology in other countries;
helping Taiwan researchers and regulators improve commercialization
of research.
10. (SBU) U.S. policy objectives: Our overall effort is focused on
giving Taiwan a stake in risk-based biotechnology regulation, and
improving Taiwan's ability to review and approve new-concept biotech
events, thereby reducing the likelihood of trade disruptions due to
concerns about biotechnology. Encouraging Taiwan to commercialize
some of its promising biotech research may ensure Taiwan's active
support of biotechnology in the WTO and other fora.
11. (SBU) Comment: There are 20 Taiwan officials and academics
responsible for reviewing biotech applications and giving final
approval to biotech applications. Representatives for U.S.
agricultural industry groups have indicated to AIT agoffs that the
industry groups will build on an AIT training programs by offering
to pay for the travel and training costs of the remaining 15
reviewers and approvers. Paying for the first groups of five,
therefore, would create a large multiplier effect for U.S. policy
objectives. End comment.
Program Two
-----------
12. (U) Follow-up Taiwan Based Capacity-Building and
Risk-Communication Activities: Co-sponsor regional training in
agricultural biotechnology for officials from Southeast Asian
countries. The training would be conducted by Taiwan regulatory
authorities, U.S. regulatory authorities, local research institutes,
and universities.
13. (U) Cost: USD 13,654. Including:
--No cost for the seminar venue, which we could hold at the AIT/PAS
American Culture Center (ACC) or other co-sponsoring entity
facilities.
--No extra cost for seminar lunch and refreshments, which would be
covered by the co-sponsor.
--No cost for the Southeast Asian attendees. Taiwan is already
committed to paying for these officials' travel to Taiwan and
expenses in Taiwan.
--USD 1500 for interpretation services for seminar and other
activities.
--USD 500 for publications and small commemorative gifts, such as
pens or mugs, which usually cost about USD five per set. Such gifts
are customary in Taiwan, and not giving out some small commemorative
item to the attendees would be unusual.
--USD 11,654 for one speaker from the U.S., which includes USD 8,550
for one business-class airline ticket, USD 1200 for USD 200
honorarium per day for six days, USD 140 for on-island travel, and
$1764 for six days of lodging and MI [Note: Taiwan per diem is
USD 294. End note.]
14. (SBU) The target audiences: 20-30 scientists and officials from
Taiwan and Southeast Asia with additional activities for
agricultural researchers at key universities and institutes,
food-safety regulation experts, agricultural associations,
influential scientists, university students, the general public, and
the media sector.
15. (SBU) Specific ag biotech issues to be addressed: Proven
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risk-communication and risk-management strategies concerning future
biotech events from the U.S. FDA and CODEX perspective; positive
outlook for future growth of Taiwan's indigenous biotech research
industry; benefits of biotech products for Taiwan's food producers;
benefits of low-pesticide biotech products for Taiwan's environment
and public health; benefits of agricultural biotechnology and the
adoption and development of biotechnology in other countries;
helping Taiwan researchers and regulators improve the
commercialization of research.
16. (SBU) U.S. policy objectives: Our overall effort is focused on
giving Taiwan a stake in risk-based biotechnology regulation and
thereby reducing the likelihood of trade disruptions due to concerns
about biotechnology. Encouraging Taiwan to commercialize some of
its promising biotech research may ensure Taiwan's active support of
biotechnology in the WTO and other fora.
Post POCs
---------
17. (U) Post responsible officers and contact information: Economic
Officers Matthew O'Connor (o'connorme@state.gov) through July 1,
2010 and George Ward (wardgl@state.gov) after July 1, 2010; FAS
Officer Chris Frederick (Chris.Ferederick@fas.usda.gov); and
Cultural Affairs Officer Scott Robinson (RobinsonSA@state.gov).
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