193558 2/24/2009 13:58 09BUCHAREST120 Embassy Bucharest UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY 09STATE14566 VZCZCXYZ0005 PP RUEHWEB DE RUEHBM #0120 0551358 ZNR UUUUU ZZH P 241358Z FEB 09 FM AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9254 RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY UNCLAS BUCHAREST 000120
DEPT FOR EUR/CE ASCHIEBE, EBB/TPP/ABT, EUR/ERA DEPT PASS TO USTR USDA/FAS FOR SFROGGETT
E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: ECON, ETRD, EUN, TBIO, RO SUBJECT: ROMANIA SUPPORTS BIOTECH CORN VARIETIES
REF: STATE 14566
1. (U) Post transmitted reftel demarche points regarding the EU vote on biotech corn to the Agriculture, Environment, Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministries. EconOff subsequently met with representatives from the Agriculture and Environment Ministries to confirm Romania's support for allowing the cultivation of these two biotech corn varieties.
2. (SBU) As expected, Tatiana Preda, Superior Counselor for Research and Biotechnology at the Agriculture Ministry, stated that the new Agriculture Minister is generally supportive of biotech agriculture. Surprisingly, the new leadership at the Ministry of Environment, which has previously been skeptical of biotech, appears to be more open to arguments in favor of biotech cultivation. Silviu Megan, Director for Nature Protection, Biodiversity and Biosecurity; Liliana Bara, Director for European Affairs and Common Policies; Flavius Ardelean, Counselor to State Secretary Badulescu; and Roxana Ionescu, Principal Counselor for Nature Protection, Biodiversity and Biosafety, all confirmed the Ministry's support for biotech corn cultivation during a meeting with EconOff. Ms. Ionescu added that she will represent Romania at the February 25 vote. (Note: She will also participate in the International Visitors Program this spring. End Note) While reluctant to detail the new Minister's positions on biotech in general, support for any biotech cultivation represents a marked departure from the anti-biotech stance the Ministry took under the previous government. The Ministry requested that EconOff facilitate access to additional independent scientific studies on biotech products, as the Government of Romania lacks the technical ability to verify the safety of all biotech products on their own.