Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
DE RUEHDT #0005 0060942
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 060942Z JAN 09
FM AMEMBASSY DILI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4189
INFO RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 1024
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1250
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0986
RUEHML/AMEMBASSY MANILA 0062
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 0615
RUEHDT/AMEMBASSY DILI 3688
UNCLAS DILI 000005
DEPT FOR EAP/MTS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ETRD RP TT
SUBJECT: EMBASSY DILI ADVOCATES IMPORT OF U.S. BEEF AND POULTRY IN TIMOR-LESTE
¶1. (U) On December 12, Poloff met with Secretary of State for
Livestock Valentino Varela from the Ministry of Agriculture to
request lifting of a current ban on U.S. beef and poultry
products into Timor-Leste. The ban came to our attention
through two Dili supermarket retailers, who reported that their
requests to import U.S. poultry and beef were denied by the
Government of Timor-Leste (GOTL). Since 2003, the GOTL has
prohibited the importation of U.S. origin poultry meat due to
reported incidents of avian influenza (AI) in the United States.
Post is awaiting the GOTL’s response to our request.
¶2. (U) On March 26, 2008, the United States Department of
Agriculture (USDA) office in Manila wrote to Timor-Leste’s
National Quarantines Director Mr. Rui Daniel Carvalho requesting
that this ban be removed and safe trade in poultry meat and meat
products be allowed in accordance with international guidelines.
In response, the Ministry of Agriculture acknowledged receipt
of the letter, noting that the ban will remain in effect because
of Timor-Leste’s lack of capacity to handle a possible mass AI
outbreak. Poloff’s December 12 meeting was post’s second
intervention with the GOTL to request lifting of these bans.
¶3. (U) In response to our appeal to open Timor’s market to U.S.
poultry and beef imports, based on input from the USDA office in
Manila, Secretary of State Varela replied that the GOTL
maintains its ban based on concerns over the levels of AI in
U.S. poultry. He further underscored concerns about the
government’s lack of capacity in personnel and resources to deal
with possible mass outbreaks of AI or mad cow disease.
¶4. (U) Secretary of State Varela reported that Timor-Leste
imports poultry exclusively from Brazil and Australia, beef from
Australia and New Zealand, and eggs from Malaysia. He added
that imports of poultry products from Indonesia are also banned
due to AI concerns. Underscoring the GOTL’s commitment to fair
trade, Varela stressed that trade preferences towards other
countries was not a factor in implementing the ban.
¶5. (U) Secretary of State Varela noted that he will discuss our
request for a lifting of the ban with the Minister of
Agriculture and key government officials. On January 5, Varela
informed Poloff that an answer to our request will be
forthcoming from the Government of Timor-Leste. Post will
report the government’s response.