US embassy cable - 02ROME4989

PRESSING ITALIAN POLICYMAKERS ON EU BIOTECH ISSUES

Identifier: 02ROME4989
Wikileaks: View 02ROME4989 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Rome
Created: 2002-10-11 16:26:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: ETRD EAGR TBIO EAGR TBIO IT EUN ITETRD EUN
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ROME 004989 
 
SIPDIS 
 
USDA/FAS/MACKE/JONES/SLUTSKY; 
USDA FOR DAVID HEGWOOD; 
STATE PASS USTR FOR SLOAN 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/10/2007 
TAGS: ETRD, EAGR, TBIO, EAGR, TBIO, IT, EUN, ITETRD, EUN 
SUBJECT: PRESSING ITALIAN POLICYMAKERS ON EU BIOTECH ISSUES 
 
REF: A. A) BRUSSELS 4869 
     B. B) BRUSSELS 4538 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        ROME  04989  01 OF 02  111704Z 
     C. C) STATE 176834 
     D. D) BRUSSELS 3764 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: ECMIN SCOTT KILNER, FOR REASONS 1.5 (B) AND (D) 
 
 1. (C) SUMMARY: IN DEMARCHES ON SENIOR GOI OFFICIALS OCTOBER 
8-10, DCM, ECMIN, AGMIN AND SCIENCE COUNSELOR PRESSED THE 
U.S. POSITION ON EU TRACEABILITY AND LABELING (T/L) AND FOOD 
AND FEED (F/F) PROPOSALS.  EMPHASIZING THAT THE UPCOMING 
AGRICULTURE MINISTERS COUNCIL AND ENVIRONMENT MINISTERS 
COUNCIL WOULD BE OF KEY IMPORTANCE, THEY ASKED THAT ITALY 
TAKE MORE REASONABLE, SCIENCE-BASED POSITIONS (REF A) IN BOTH 
MEETINGS.  DESPITE UNDERSTANDING FOR OUR POSITION IN SEVERAL 
PARTS OF THE GOVERNMENT, GOI BIOTECH POLICY CONTINUES TO BE 
DRIVEN BY THE OBSTRUCTIONIST MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE. END 
SUMMARY. 
 
VICE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN TRADE URSO 
------------------------------------ 
 
2. (C) ECMIN MET OCTOBER 8 WITH DEPUTY MINISTER OF FOREIGN 
TRADE ADOLFO URSO.  HE TOLD URSO THAT, ALTHOUGH PRIME 
MINISTER BERLUSCONI AND OTHER GOI OFFICIALS HAD SPOKEN IN 
FAVOR OF BIOTECHNOLOGY, WE WERE DISAPPOINTED THAT AGRICULTURE 
MINISTER ALEMANNO CONTINUED HIS ANTI-BIOTECH CAMPAIGN 
UNCHECKED.  ECMIN POINTED TO RECENT GOI/USG COOPERATION ON 
THE WHEAT MARGIN OF PREFERENCE ISSUE AS AN EXAMPLE OF HOW THE 
U.S. AND ITALY COULD WORK TOGETHER EVEN ON AGRICULTURE 
ISSUES.  WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE SIMILAR DIALOGUE AND 
COOPERATION ON BIOTECHNOLOGY. 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        ROME  04989  01 OF 02  111704Z 
3. (C) A MORE COHERENT, FLEXIBLE GOI POSITION WOULD BE VERY 
IMPORTANT FOR THE EU AGRICULTURE AND ENVIRONMENT COUNCIL 
MEETINGS OCTOBER 15-17. STRESSING THAT THE U.S. HAD WORKED TO 
NARROW OUR REQUESTS FOR CHANGES IN THE T/L AND F/F PROPOSALS 
TO A FEW CRUCIAL POINTS, ECMIN ASKED THAT URSO RAISE OUR 
CONCERNS WITH HIS COLLEAGUES. 
 
4.(C)  URSO NOTED THAT MANY IN THE GOI, INCLUDING THE PRIME 
MINISTER, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER -- AND URSO HIMSELF -- WERE 
QUITE OPEN ON BIOTECHNOLOGY.  HOWEVER, THE MINISTERS MOST 
INVOLVED IN SETTING BIOTECH POLICY WERE AGRICULTURE MINISTER 
ALEMANNO AND ENVIRONMENT MINISTER MATTEOLI.  URSO UNDERSTOOD 
THE U.S. POINTS, AND UNDERTOOK TO DISCUSS THEM WITH MINISTER 
ALEMANNO, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER FINI AND THE PRIME MINISTER'S 
OFFICE. 
 
5. (C) URSO ALSO COMMENTED THAT, A FEW WEEKS AGO IN OTTAWA, 
HE HAD DISCUSSED BIOTECHNOLOGY WITH CANADA'S DEPUTY MINISTER 
OF FOREIGN TRADE.  URSO HAD SUGGESTED A TRADE OFF BETWEEN A 
MORE HELPFUL ATTITUDE TOWARD ITALY'S GEOGRAPHIC INDICATORS 
PROPOSAL IN RETURN FOR A MORE HELPFUL ITALIAN ATTITUDE ON 
BIOTECHNOLOGY.  OF COURSE, THIS WAS ONLY AN IDEA, NOT YET A 
PROPOSAL, AND NEEDED A GREAT DEAL OF WORK, BUT IT MIGHT 
ADVANCE TWO ISSUES OF GREAT IMPORTANCE TO OUR TWO RESPECTIVE 
COUNTRIES. 
 
6. (C) IN REPLY, ECMIN SAID THAT WASHINGTON WAS HIGHLY 
UNLIKELY EVEN TO CONSIDER SUCH AN IDEA SO LONG AS THE 
AGRICULTURE MINISTER CONTINUED TO CAMPAIGN FIERCELY AND 
PUBLICLY AGAINST BIOTECHNOLOGY. 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        ROME  04989  01 OF 02  111704Z 
7. (C) NOTE:  URSO IS A LONG-TIME CLOSE ASSOCIATE OF DEPUTY 
PRIME MINISTER FINI.  FINI, URSO AND MATTEOLI REPRESENT THE 
LEADING FACTION OF THE ALLIANZA NAZIONALE (AN) COALITION 
PARTNERS.  AGRICULTURE MINISTER ALEMANNO IS A MEMBER OF A 
SMALLER FACTION WITHIN AN.  MFA EU AFFAIRS OFFICIAL MASSIMO 
GAIANI TOLD US OCTOBER 9 THAT URSO'S STAFF HAD BRIEFED HIM 
ALREADY ON ECMIN'S MEETING WITH URSO. END NOTE. 
 
AGRICULTURE U/S SCARPA 
---------------------- 
 
8.(C) AGMINCOUNSELOR MET WITH MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE UNDER 
SECRETARY SCARPA TO DISCUSS REF A DEMARCHE.  SCARPA, WHO 
 
SIPDIS 
STRONGLY DIFFERS FROM AGRICULTURE MINISTER ALEMANNO ON THE 
SUBJECT OF BIOTECHNOLOGY, HAS CLOSE TIES TO BERLUSCONI. 
SCARPA WELCOMED U.S. EFFORTS TO CONSTRUCTIVELY ENGAGE THE EU 
ON WHERE AND HOW THE T/L AND F/F PROPOSALS COULD BE MADE MORE 
PALATABLE FOR THE U.S.  HE WAS, HOWEVER, PESSIMISTIC THAT 
ALEMANNO COULD BE PERSUADED TO TAKE A MORE FLEXIBLE LINE ON 
THE F/F PROPOSAL.  SCARPA PROMISED TO SHARE THE U.S. MESSAGE 
WITH THE AGRICULTURE MINISTER, BUT INDICATED THAT 
BIOTECHNOLOGY WAS BECOMING AN IMPORTANT POLITICAL PLANK FOR 
ALEMANNO, LEAVING HIM WITH LESS AND LESS ROOM FOR MANEUVER. 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ8055 
 
PAGE 01        ROME  04989  02 OF 02  111704Z 
ACTION EUR-00 
 
INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    AGRE-00  AID-00   CEA-01   CIAE-00  COME-00 
      CTME-00  DODE-00  SRPP-00  EB-00    EXIM-01  E-00     VC-00 
      FRB-00   HHS-01   H-01     TEDE-00  INR-00   ITC-01   L-00 
      VCE-00   AC-01    NSAE-00  NSCE-00  OES-01   OMB-01   OPIC-01 
      ACE-00   SP-00    SSO-00   SS-00    STR-00   TRSE-00  USIE-00 
      EPAE-00  DRL-02   G-00     SAS-00     /011W 
                  ------------------F5F73E  111704Z /38 
P 111626Z OCT 02 
FM AMEMBASSY ROME 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6299 
INFO EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY 
AMCONSUL MILAN 
AMCONSUL FLORENCE 
AMCONSUL NAPLES 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 ROME 004989 
 
SIPDIS 
 
USDA/FAS/MACKE/JONES/SLUTSKY; 
USDA FOR DAVID HEGWOOD; 
STATE PASS USTR FOR SLOAN 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/10/2007 
TAGS: ETRD, EUN, EAGR, TBIO, IT 
SUBJECT: PRESSING ITALIAN POLICYMAKERS ON EU BIOTECH ISSUES 
 
9. (C) SCARPA ALSO PROMISED TO SHARE U.S. VIEWS WITH THE 
PRIME MINISTER'S UNDER SECRETARY (AND CLOSE ADVISOR) GIANNI 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        ROME  04989  02 OF 02  111704Z 
LETTA.  SCARPA NOTED THAT, IN HIS VIEW, THE ONLY LEVERAGE 
POSSIBLE WITH ALEMANNO IS HIS DESIRE TO AVOID CONFRONTATION 
WITH THE PRIME MINISTER.  HENCE, SCARPA'S EFFORTS TO KEEP 
LETTA INFORMED OF DEVELOPMENTS.  WE HAVE HEARD SUBSEQUENTLY 
FROM SCARPA'S STAFF THAT LETTA HAS BEEN INFORMED OF THE 
LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN THE U.S. POSITION. 
 
ENVIRONMENT MINISTRY DG CLINI 
----------------------------- 
 
10. (C) SCIENCE COUNSELOR MET WITH ENVIRONMENT MINISTER 
MATTEOLI'S DIRECTOR GENERAL FOR INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS, 
CORRADO CLINI, ON OCTOBER 9 TO DISCUSS REFTEL POINTS, AS WELL 
AS THE MINISTER'S TRIP TO THE U.S.  MATTEOLI WILL SIGN AN 
AGREEMENT WITH EPA ADMINISTRATOR WHITMAN, PART OF WHICH WILL 
INVOLVE SCIENTIFIC COOPERATION ON BIOTECHNOLOGY. 
 
11. (C) CLINI NOTED THAT ENVIRONMENT MINISTRY MATTEOLI WILL 
REPRESENT HIS MINISTRY'S VIEWS AT THE OCTOBER 17 COUNCIL OF 
ENVIRONMENT MINISTERS, AS THERE WAS NO COORDINATED GOI 
POSITION. 
 
PRIME MINISTER'S DIPLOMATIC ADVISOR CASTELLANETA 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
 
12.(C)  THE DCM MET OCTOBER 10 WITH DIPLOMATIC ADVISOR 
CASTELLANETA IN THE PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE.  EXPLAINING THE 
IMPORTANCE OF THE OCTOBER 15-17 MEETINGS IN BRUSSELS, THE DCM 
ASKED CASTELLANETA TO HAVE THE MINISTERS OF AGRICULTURE AND 
ENVIRONMENT WORK CONSTRUCTIVELY IN THEIR RESPECTIVE COUNCILS. 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        ROME  04989  02 OF 02  111704Z 
13. (C) CASTELLANETA TOOK NOTES ON THE U.S. POSITION AND 
UNDERTOOK TO COMMUNICATE WITH AG MINISTER ALEMANNO AND 
ENVIRONMENT MINISTER MATTEOLI. 
 
COMMENT: 
-------- 
 
14. (C) WE HAVE, WITHOUT QUESTION, GOTTEN THE GOI'S ATTENTION 
ON THE UPCOMING BRUSSELS MEETINGS.  DESPITE THE EXPRESSIONS 
OF UNDERSTANDING FROM OUR SEVERAL GOI INTERLOCUTORS, IT 
REMAINS TO BE SEEN WHETHER ALEMANNO AND MATTEOLI WILL SOFTEN 
THEIR STANCES WHILE IN THE ITALIAN CHAIR DURING THEIR 
RESPECTIVE COUNCIL MEETINGS.  IN THE LONGER RUN, ALL SIGNS 
CONTINUE TO POINT TO THE REALITY THAT A SIGNIFICANT SHIFT IN 
ITALY'S BIOTECH POLICY WILL REQUIRE THE DIRECT, PERSONAL 
ENGAGEMENT BY THE PRIME MINISTER. 
SEMBLER 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
> 
 2002ROME04989 - Classification: CONFIDENTIAL 


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