08ASTANA975, KAZAKHSTAN – DEMARCHES DELIVERED ON FOOD SECURITY

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08ASTANA975 2008-05-22 13:17 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO0934
OO RUEHLN RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHTA #0975 1431317
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 221317Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2471
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 0515
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHDC

UNCLAS ASTANA 000975 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EEB/TPP/MTA, EEB/TPP/ABT, EEB/IFD/ODF 
USDA FOR FAS CJACKSON AND MHOUSE 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: EAGR ETRD TBIO ECON KZ
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN - DEMARCHES DELIVERED ON FOOD SECURITY 
INITIATIVE, EXPORT RESTRICTIONS, AND BIOTECHNOLOGY 
 
REF: (A) STATE 52628 (B) STATE 53346 (C) STATE 53353 
 
1. (SBU)  On May 22, Pol-Econ Chief delivered ref A, B, and C 
demarches to Kazakhstani Vice Minister of Agriculture Dulat 
Aitzhanov, explaining the USG approach to the global food 
crisis, the President's global food security initiative, and 
USG positions on Doha, food staple export restrictions, and 
biotechnology. 
 
2. (SBU) In response, Aitzhanov explained to Pol-Econ Chief 
that the reason the Kazakhstani government had imposed a 
temporary ban on wheat exports in April was to ensure 
domestic food security and thus avert any possibility of 
social or political instability that could result from 
shortages.  The government needed to hedge against the 
prospects of a bad 2008 wheat harvest.  Aitzhanov said that 
during the July-August period, the government should know how 
the overall harvest will turn out, and thus the export ban 
could actually be lifted as early as August 1.  (Note:  The 
government's public position is that the temporary ban will 
be reviewed on September 1.  End Note.)  In exigent 
circumstances, Kazakhstan could permit humanitarian wheat 
exports to specific countries, such as Tajikistan, even 
before then.  All indications thus far, Aitzhanov stressed, 
point to a successful 2008 harvest.   He told Pol-Econ Chief 
that Kazakhstan's annual domestic wheat consumption is 
approximately 9 million tons.  Last year's harvest yielded 21 
million tons, and even in a worst case scenario, an annual 
harvest should result in at least 13 million tons. 
 
3. (SBU) Regarding U.S. objectives for Doha, Aitzhanov 
reminded Pol-Econ Chief that agricultural subsidies are an 
issue in Kazakhstan's ongoing WTO accession negotiations with 
the U.S.  He contended that a compromise on this issue is 
necessary given that so many countries -- notably the U.S. -- 
provide significant subsidies to their agriculture and food 
processing sectors. 
 
4. (SBU) Turning to biotechnology, Aitzhanov said that 
Kazakhstan would soon ratify the Cartagena Protocol, perhaps 
in the coming days.  Kazakhstan, he explained, is ready to 
import GMO seeds, so long as they have undergone the proper 
analysis to ensure their safety.  Importation of GMO food 
products, however, is a more complicated issue, because of 
opposition in parliament. 
 
5. (SBU) Prior to the meeting with Aitzhanov, Post shared the 
substance of the demarches with the World Bank office in 
Kazakhstan, and confirmed that their views are consistent 
with ours.  They informed us that on April 30, World Bank 
representatives met senior Kazakhstani officials, including 
Prime Minister Masimov, to discuss agriculture sector reform. 
 The World Bank representatives conveyed to their Kazakhstani 
interlocutors that agricultural export restrictions are 
harmful and market-distorting.  While the Kazakhstanis 
promised that they would take the Bank's views under 
consideration, they explained that the government's decision 
to ban wheat exports resulted from concerns about domestic 
supplies and the need to ensure the food security of 
vulnerable population groups -- which is fully consistent 
with what Aitzhanov told Pol-Econ Chief. 
ORDWAY

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