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09KYIV2064, UKRAINE CONSIDERING BIOTECH BAN

November 25, 2009

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09KYIV2064 2009-11-25 14:55 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Kyiv

INFO  LOG-00   EEB-00   AF-00    AID-00   CEA-01   CIAE-00  CTME-00  
      INL-00   DODE-00  DOEE-00  ITCE-00  DOTE-00  PDI-00   EXME-00  
      E-00     FAAE-00  FBIE-00  UTED-00  VCI-00   FRB-00   HHS-00   
      H-00     TEDE-00  INR-00   IO-00    VCIE-00  NSAE-00  ISN-00   
      NSCE-00  OES-00   OMB-00   NIMA-00  EPAU-00  PER-00   PM-00    
      MA-00    ISNE-00  SP-00    IRM-00   SSO-00   SS-00    STR-00   
      NCTC-00  FMP-00   CBP-00   BBG-00   R-00     EPAE-00  IIP-00   
      PMB-00   DRL-00   G-00     SCA-00   CARC-00  NFAT-00  SAS-00   
      FA-00    PESU-00  SEEE-00    /001W
  
R 251455Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8888
INFO CIS COLLECTIVE
USDA FAS WASHDC
DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS KYIV 002064 
 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: EAGR ECON ETRD TBIO UP
 
SUBJECT: UKRAINE CONSIDERING BIOTECH BAN 
 
REF: KYIV 2018 
 
1. (U) Summary.  Ukrainian legislators have crafted new legislation 
that, if adopted, would institute a complete ban on importation and 
domestic production of genetically modified (GM) materials in 
Ukraine, overriding previous laws regulating trade in GM products. 
Research on public sentiment indicates a strong antipathy towards GM 
products among respondents, which could increase the draft ban's 
chances for enactment.  End Summary. 
 
--------------------------- 
New GM Ban Being Considered 
---------------------------- 
 
2. (U) The Ukrainian parliament (the Verkhovna Rada) convened a 
round table to address the issue of GM content in food products on 
October 23, 2009.  The event, "On State Policies of the Creation of 
the System for GMO Use and Control" was organized by the 
Parliamentary Committee on Industrial and Regulatory Policies and 
Entrepreneurship (CIRPE), which is headed by BYuT Deputy Natalya 
Korolevska.  Representatives of GOU authorities and industry 
stakeholders attended the meeting.  Some of the presenters spoke in 
favor of biotechnology, but the majority of the floor-time went to 
opponents of genetic modification, including the director of the 
All-Ukrainian Ecological League and a representative from CIRPE. 
The overall mood of the roundtable participants was decidedly 
against biotechnology products. 
 
3. (U) Following the roundtable, Party of Regions Deputy Yuri 
Miroshnichenko registered Draft Law 5286, "On the Ban of Use of GM 
Organisms" for consideration by The Committee of Science and 
Education (CSE) on October 28, 2009.  The draft is long on ideology 
and short on specifics.  However, a second Draft Law was submitted 
as 5286-1 "On the Proclamation of Ukraine Free of Genetically 
Modified Organisms (GMO)" on November 3, 2009, by Communist Party 
Deputy Volodymyr Darylenko.  This version proposes an outright ban 
on all GM content, without exceptions.  The language of Draft Law 
No. 5286-1 specifically prohibits the import, sale, consumption or 
registration of any product with GM content.  It includes additional 
language that would nullify specific, previous Ukrainian laws 
applying to GM. 
 
---------------------------- 
Could Become A Campaign Issue 
----------------------------- 
 
4. (U) The CSE has requested comments from the relevant agencies by 
mid-December, 2009. The Academy of Agricultural Sciences, National 
Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Economy are expected to oppose 
the measures on the grounds that they reverse a number of positive 
developments in trade and GMO regulation made over the past decade. 
Within the Executive branch, only the Ministry of Ecology is 
expected to endorse the proposed ban.  It is possible that the 
legislation might become a campaign issue, if political parties (the 
Party of Regions, in particular) lobby for it to bolster their 
claims of protecting the people of Ukraine. 
 
------------------------ 
Chances of Enactment High 
------------------------- 
 
5. (U) Industry representatives believe that the chances of the 
draft laws being enacted are relatively high at the present time, 
and they are working with the scientific community and sympathetic 
elements within the GOU to lobby against the ban.  At the forefront 
of this effort is a letter drafted by Ukrainian scientists to Prime 
Minster Tymoshenko in opposition to the ban.  The letter has been 
signed by two Vice Presidents of the Ukrainian Academy of Agrarian 
Sciences, the Vice President of the Ukrainian Academy of Medical 
Sciences, and several Directors of State Institutes. 
 
6. (U) Political considerations make it difficult to forecast a 
timeline for the draft laws' progression through the Rada.  The CSE 
could have the resolution prepared for submission to the Rada for 
consideration by the end of the year.  If the drafts do not receive 
first readings before the New Year's break, their consideration by 
the full Rada would likely be scheduled in February, after the 
presidential elections. 
 
----------------------- 
Previous GM Legislation 
----------------------- 
 
7. (U) Ukraine's first "umbrella" biosafety law was enacted on June 
21, 2007.  It was part of the package of legislation required for 
Ukraine's accession to the WTO.  The legislation committed that 
Ukraine would address biotechnology on the basis of scientific 
evaluation.  The umbrella law, "Law of the State System of 
Bio-Safety in Creating, Testing, Transporting and Using 
Genetically-Modified Organisms," established
 ground rules for 
interactions between individuals and organizations that would be 
involved with genetically modified organisms but lacked regulatory 
specifics. 
 
8. (U) The "umbrella" law has been expanded by several subsequent 
Cabinet of Ministers Resolutions and other decrees, including:  "On 
Approval of the Procedure of Issuing Permits on Importation of 
Unregistered Genetically Modified Organisms into the Customs 
Territory of Ukraine for Scientific Research or State Approval 
(Testing) Purposes" (No. 734, August 20, 2008); "On the Provisional 
Criteria for Handling the Genetically Modified Organisms and 
Realization of Genetic Engineering Activity in Enclosed Systems" 
(No. 922, October 16, 2008); "On Approval of the Procedure of State 
Registration of Genetically Modified Organisms, as well as Food 
Products, Cosmetics, and Medicines that Were Obtained with Their 
Use" (No. 114, February 18, 2009); "On Approval of the Procedure for 
Labeling Food Products Containing Genetically Modified Organisms or 
Produced from Them and Put into Trade (No. 468, May 13, 2009); and 
"On Approval of the Procedure of Issuing Permits on transit of 
Genetically Modified Organisms that Have Not Been Registered in 
Ukraine" (No. 423, April 28, 2009). There have been other minor 
regulatory actions as well such as the Nov. 18 regulation on costs 
for GM testing related to field trials. 
 
9. (U) On July 1, 2009, the Ministry of Agrarian Policy adopted 
regulation No. 458, which gave temporary permission for GMO 
herbicide-resistant soybeans to be registered in Ukraine for use in 
animal feed. 
 
 
-------------- 
Public Opinion 
-------------- 
 
10. (U) Public opinion surveys show that Ukrainians are decidedly 
negative about GM products.  According to an early November 
telephone survey of 1000 respondents, 74.7% expressed their resolve 
never to purchase products containing GM materials, even if it meant 
paying more. 93.4% believed that labeling of GMO products should be 
mandatory, though only 38% of respondents knew that the GOU had 
already passed a resolution on such a requirement.  89.7% of the 
survey respondents believe that parliament should enact legislation 
to ban both the import and domestic production of GM products. 
Ukrainian media outlets published these survey results on November 
16, shortly after Draft Laws 5286 and 5286-1 were submitted to the 
Verkhovna Rada. 
 
------- 
Comment 
------- 
 
11. (U) The overwhelmingly negative opinions expressed in the survey 
mirror the mindset behind Draft Laws 5286 and 5286-1. While the 
scientific basis underlying the proposals in the legislation may be 
murky and the likelihood of a negative impact on trade and 
agriculture is high, parliamentary deputies will undoubtedly factor 
in the "will of the people" when considering their positions.  It is 
possible that the proposed bans are a preemptive step in reaction to 
Ukraine's nascent biotechnology regulatory system, which only 
requires the adoption of a few bylaws by the parliament to allow GM 
products and crops to be registered.  Some may be betting that it 
would be easier to stop progress on GM authorization now than to 
dismantle a regulatory structure already in place. End Comment.

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