“Non possiamo permettere ad Alemanno di andare avanti senza ostacoli“. Questo è un pezzo di un cablogramma che emerge dai wikileaks, un documento nel quale si evince il ruolo determinante dell’allora Ministro dell’Agricoltura Gianni Alemanno sotto il Governo Berlusconi II (2001-2006) nella strenua battaglia agli Organismi Geneticamente Modificati per la difesa assoluta dei genuini prodotti agroalimentari di stampo italiano.

Da quanto si constata nei cablogrammi, gli Stati Uniti erano preoccupati per la forte linea conservatrice di Alemanno in materia dei prodotti Made in Italy: infatti la dura politica agroalimentare del Ministro avrebbe fatto perdere a Washington un mercato da più di 70 milioni di dollari.

Gli Stati Uniti dovevano difendere i loro interessi nella politica economica stretta con l’Italia. Non per nulla l’ambasciatore statunitense a Roma Mel Sembler scrisse a Washington: “Stiamo mettendo insieme una cricca di Ministri che la pensano nel modo giusto e stiamo dando istruzioni a vari consulenti di alto livello del governo“. Il piano era semplice: siccome gli Stati Uniti non potevano imporsi troppo evidentemente negli affari commerciali e nella politica del Bel Paese, in quanto la quasi totalità dell’opinione pubblica condivideva fortemente la linea anti-OGM di Alemanno ed andava fiera della propria eccellenza agroalimentare a livello mondiale, non restava altro che “togliere di mezzo gli ostacoli”, o per dirla come scriveva sempre Sembler:

SEEK TO SLAY ONLY ONE DRAGON AT A TIME. ( C O N F I D E N T I A L ROME 000398) n.d.r. 

“Dobbiamo ammazzare un drago per volta“.

Il primo drago da ammazzare era ovviamente Gianni Alemanno, l’osso duro della politica italiana che non ha mai fatto un passo indietro su questo delicato tema.

E siccome Alemanno godeva del consenso dell’opinione pubblica italiana, gli Stati Uniti dovevano per forza tessere varie alleanze in Italia con chi fosse disposto a seguirli. Uno degli alleati che Washington trovò nello Stivale fu proprio una delle più grandi organizzazioni degli agricoltori, Confagricoltura, favorevole all’introduzione degli OGM statunitensi nel territorio italiano. Ma gli Stati Uniti avevano fatto i conti senza l’oste: Gianni Alemanno infatti, ascoltando il parere di un’altra grande organizzazione degli agricoltori, rivale di Confagricoltura, la Coldiretti, totalmente contraria alla chimica nell’agroalimentazione, puntò ancor più i piedi sulla battaglia agli OGM.

Gli Stati Uniti tentarono invano di mettere i bastoni fra le ruote ad Alemanno rivolgendosi a questo punto all’Assobiotec, la più grande lobby italiana nel settore della biotecnologia, convincendola a promuovere svariate conferenze in elogio agli OGM ed alle loro caratteristiche non nocive. Tuttavia, per quanto meschina e sinistra potesse essere questa mossa, Alemanno riuscì a rimanere non solo in piedi, ma proprio a testa alta. Gli Stati Uniti erano con le spalle al muro, tanto che riconobbero l’audacia e il valore del Ministro italiano: “Non possiamo sottostimare Alemanno e la sua determinazione” scriveva Sembler, e Washington rispondeva: “Non possiamo permettere ad Alemanno di andare avanti senza ostacoli“.

Il Ministro Alemanno era in quel momento il più grosso grattacapo con cui dovevano confrontarsi gli Stati Uniti in Italia, anche se difficile da liquidare. Perché, per quanto il Premier Silvio Berlusconi fosse in buoni rapporti col Presidente statunitense George W. Bush e con lui avesseconcordato una politica pro-OGM, il Primo Ministro italiano non poteva imporsi su Alemanno o chiedergli le dimissioni e sostituirlo, in quanto rivestiva un ruolo importante all’interno di Alleanza Nazionale, partito fondamentale per tenere in piedi il governo di Centro-Destra italiano.

Purtroppo la guerra occulta sugli OGM in Italia si concluse infine con la vittoria degli Stati Uniti, quando nel 2006 alle elezioni politiche in Italia vinse il Centro-Sinistra presieduto da Romano Prodi, che nominò Ministro dell’Agricoltura Paolo De Castro, favorevole all’infiltrazione degli OGM in Italia. Come poi lo fu tutto il Governo Prodi II, il quale si sottomise al volere di Washington come invece Gianni Alemanno mai avrebbe accettato – e mai difatti accettò.

Ma la partita non era ancora conclusa del tutto: l’esponente di AN non ricopriva più una carica importante come quella da Ministro, è vero, ma aveva ancora grossa voce in capitolo nella politica italiana, essendo stato eletto due anni più tardi Sindaco di Roma Capitale.

Le cablature pubblicate da Wikileaks dimostrano chiaramente come gli Stati Uniti cercassero e cerchino tutt’ora d’intromettersi nella politica e nell’economia nostrana, ma ancor più svelano il ruolo predominante che ebbe Gianni Alemanno, solo contro tutti, nel difendere gli interessi e soprattutto la dignità dell’Italia. Eppure quasi nessun giornale italiano ha mai parlato di questa storia, quasi nessuno ha mai trattato l’argomento.

Anzi, correzione: Gianni Alemanno non era solo. Aveva il popolo italiano dalla sua parte, legittimi proprietari del Bel Paese, e ciò era tutto quel che gli serviva per non arrendersi mai.

tratto da: http://www.secolo-trentino.com/25022/politica/uccidere-il-drago-quando-gli-stati-uniti-volevano-liquidare-gianni-alemanno/amp/.html

L’Ambasciatore USA a Roma riceve pertanto assolute garanzie da Berlusconi, Letta e Frattini di far “deragliare” il decreto legge, o quanto meno impedire che questo venga messo all’ordine del giorno nelle successive riunioni del Consiglio dei Ministri. Ma poi il decreto poi verrà approvato nel 2005.

Link 

https://search.wikileaks.org/plusd/?qproject[]=cg&q=Alemanno#result

 

#1 Alemanno To Sembler: Less Open On Biotech

US embassy cable – 02ROME2551

ALEMANNO TO SEMBLER: LESS OPEN ON BIOTECH
Identifier: 02ROME2551
Wikileaks: View 02ROME2551 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Rome
Created: 2002-05-24 15:28:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: EAGR ECON IT PREL TBIO ECON IT PREL TBIO ECON IT PREL TBIO WTOEAGR WTOEAGR WTO
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 03 ROME 002551

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCIENCE ADVISOR NEUREITER, EUR FOR EUR/WE AND
EUR/ERA FOR HEN-NIL, EB FOR GADSDEN AND EB/TPP/ATT FOR
PEREZ, E FOR SHUB, OES A/S TURNER, STATE PASS USTR FOR
STROJE AND NOVELLI, STATE USDA FOR O/S HEGWOOD, FAS/OA
TERPSTRA AND SLUTSKY, ITP SHEIK, MACKE, AND EJONES,  FAS/FAA/WILSON, AND FAS/OPD BLU, NSC FOR EDSON

CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 ROME 02551 01 OF 03 241547Z
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/24/2012
TAGS: EAGR, ECON, IT, PREL, TBIO, ECON, IT, PREL, TBIO, ECON, IT, PREL, TBIO, WTOEAGR, WTOEAGR, WTO
SUBJECT: ALEMANNO TO SEMBLER: LESS OPEN ON BIOTECH

REF: A. ROME 1457

B. ROME 1697
C. ROME 1726
D. ROME 1965

CLASSIFIED BY: AMBASSADOR SEMBLER FOR REASONS 1.5 (B AND D)

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. AMBASSADOR MET MAY 17 WITH ITALIAN
MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE ALEMANNO TO DELIVER SECRETARY
VENEMAN’S LETTER ON ALEMANNO’S BIOTECH WHITE PAPER AND LAY
THE GROUNDWORK FOR THE MAY 27 MEETING BETWEEN PRESIDENT
BUSH AND PRIME MINISTER BERLUSCONI. ALEMANNO INDICATED
THAT HIS POSITION ON AGRICULTURAL BIOTECHNOLOGY IS LESS
OPEN TODAY THAN WHEN HE AND THE AMBASSADOR MET LAST
JANUARY. THERE APPEARS TO BE A SMALL OPPORTUNITY FOR
COLLABORATIVE BIOTECH RESEARCH. THE EMBASSY WILL CONTINUE
TO WORK WITH MINAG STAFF TO SECURE ALEMANNO’S SUPPORT FOR
AN AGREEMENT ON COLLABORATIVE BIOTECH RESEARCH THAT COULD
FREE OTHER MINISTRIES TO WORK MORE ACTIVELY WITH US.

2. (C) COMMENT. AS PREVIOUSLY REPORTED, ALEMANNO
CONTINUES TO AVOID AN OPEN AND HONEST DEBATE ON THE MERITS
OF AGRICULTURAL BIOTECHNOLOGY. HE CONTINUES TO TRY TO
SECURE A PRE-DETERMINED OUTCOME BEFORE OTHER COMPETING
POINTS OF VIEW WITHIN THE GOI CAN EFFECTIVELY WEIGH-IN.
VARIOUS AND CONTRADICTORY MOTIVES ARE ASCRIBED TO
ALEMANNO’S POSITION ON BIOTECH, FROM A ROMANTIC VIEW OF
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PAGE 03 ROME 02551 01 OF 03 241547Z
ITALIAN AGRICULTURE, TO PANDERING TO CONSUMER SENTIMENTS
AND POPULIST POLITICS. WHATEVER HIS UNDERLYING
CONVICTIONS, WE ARE NOT GOING TO GET ANYWHERE ARGUING THE
MERITS OF BIOTECHNOLOGY WITH HIM. RATHER, THE WAY TO ROLL
BACK HIS MOMENTUM IS BY CONTINUING TO HELP OTHER VOICES
WITHIN THE AN PARTY, BERLUSCONI’S BROADER COALITION, AND
ITALIAN SOCIETY WHO WANT TO TALK THROUGH THE ISSUES ON THE
MERITS. SUCH A COALITION OF LIKE-MINDED, OR AT LEAST
OPEN-MINDED, ADVOCATES OF BIOTECHNOLOGY AND SCIENCE-BASED
DECISION MAKING CAN PROVIDE A COUNTERWEIGHT TO THE
COALITION OF STRANGE BEDFELLOWS THAT ALEMANNO HAS BEEN
RIDING TO THIS POINT. PM BERLUSCONI AND DEPUTY PM FINI CAN
ALSO MODERATE ALEMANNO’S INTENTIONS, BUT IF, AND ONLY IF,
THEY ARE CONVINCED THEY NEED TO FOCUS THEIR ATTENTION ON
THE ISSUE. END COMMENT AND SUMMARY.

3. (SBU) AMBASSADOR SEMBLER MET AGMINISTER ALEMANNO ON
MAY 17 TO DELIVER SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE VENEMAN’S LETTER
TO ALEMANNO ON THE AGMIN’S PAPER ON BIOTECHNOLOGY ENTITLED
“TRANSGENIC ORGANISMS AND AGRICULTURE: A TIME FOR CHOICES:,
AND TO SEEK A WAY FORWARD ON BIOTECHNOLOGY IN ADVANCE OF
THE MAY 27 MEETING BETWEEN PRESIDENT BUSH AND PRIME
MINISTER BERLUSCONI. AMBASSADOR SEMBLER EMPHASIZED THE
SECRETARY’S CONCERNS THAT THE ALEMANNO PAPER IS UNBALANCED

SIPDIS
AND RELIES ON ARGUMENTS WITHOUT SCIENTIFIC FOUNDATION. HE
ASKED ALEMANNO FOR HIS SUPPORT OF UNDER SECRETARY GIANNI
LETTA’S (SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE PRIME MINISTER) IDEA TO
DEVELOP A COOPERATIVE SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH AGREEMENT ON
BIOTECHNOLOGY, SIMILAR TO THE BILATERAL AGREEMENT ON
CLIMATE CHANGE, AS A WAY FORWARD ON AGRICULTURAL  BIOTECHNOLOGY. A BUSH-BERLUSCONI ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF SUCH AN
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 ROME 02551 01 OF 03 241547Z
AGREEMENT COULD THEN BE A BASIS FOR MINISTER ALEMANNO’S
MEETING WITH SECRETARY VENEMAN IN JUNE DURING THE WORLD
FOOD SUMMIT AT FAO. (COMMENT: WE UNDERSTAND THE WHITE
HOUSE DOES NOT WISH ANY BILATERAL ANNOUNCEMENTS. A QUIET
AGREEMENT TO DEVELOP AN ANNEX TO THE EXISTING BILATERAL S&T
AGREEMENT MAY BE MORE APPROPRIATE. WE WILL INVESTIGATE
THIS POSSIBILITY. END COMMENT.)

4. (SBU) ADDRESSING THE TIMING OF THE WHITE PAPER,
ALEMANNO INDICATED THAT IT WOULD BE NECESSARY TO CONSULT
WITH REGIONAL GOVERNMENTS AND THE TAVOLA AGROALIMENTARE
(THE GOVERNMENT’S FOOD INDUSTRY ADVISORY GROUP) PRIOR TO
SUBMITTING THE DOCUMENT TO EITHER THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS
OR THE PARLIAMENT FOR DEBATE. THE TAVOLA AGROALIMENTARE IS
SCHEDULED TO DISCUSS THE PAPER ON JUNE 4. (COMMENT: WE
LEARNED SUBSEQUENTLY THAT ALEMANNO HAD SENT THE THIRD
VERSION OF HIS WHITE PAPER TO THE CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES ON
MAY 16 AND TO THE SENATE ON MAY 17. BOTH ARE CLOSED THIS
WEEK FOR LOCAL ELECTIONS. END COMMENT.)

5. (SBU) ON THE SUBSTANCE OF THE WHITE PAPER, ALEMANNO
EXPLAINED THAT HIS POSITION ON BIOTECHNOLOGY HAD BECOME
LESS OPEN SINCE HE AND THE AMBASSADOR LAST MET (JANUARY 22,
2002) BECAUSE OF SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC EVENTS THAT HAVE SINCE

CONFIDENTIAL

CONFIDENTIAL PTQ8283

PAGE 01 ROME 02551 02 OF 03 241547Z
ACTION EUR-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AGRE-00 AID-00 AIT-03 AMAD-00 ACQ-00
CEA-01 CIAE-00 COME-00 CTME-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 PERC-00
SRPP-00 DS-00 EB-00 EXIM-01 E-00 FAAE-00 VC-00
FRB-00 HHS-01 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 ITC-01 L-00
VCE-00 AC-01 NSAE-00 OES-01 OMB-01 OPIC-01 PA-00
PM-00 PRS-00 ACE-00 P-00 SP-00 SSO-00 SS-00
STR-00 TRSE-00 T-00 USIE-00 EPAE-00 PMB-00 DSCC-00
DRL-02 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /014W
——————B38537 241547Z /38
P 241528Z MAY 02
FM AMEMBASSY ROME
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3906
NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
INFO EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
AMEMBASSY VATICAN
AMCONSUL FLORENCE
AMCONSUL MILAN
AMCONSUL NAPLES

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 ROME 002551

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCIENCE ADVISOR NEUREITER, EUR FOR EUR/WE AND
EUR/ERA FOR HEN-NIL, EB FOR GADSDEN AND EB/TPP/ATT FOR
PEREZ, E FOR SHUB, OES A/S TURNER, STATE PASS USTR FOR
STROJE AND NOVELLI, STATE USDA FOR O/S HEGWOOD, FAS/OA
TERPSTRA AND SLUTSKY, ITP SHEIK, MACKE, AND EJONES,
FAS/FAA/WILSON, AND FAS/OPD BLU, NSC FOR EDSON

CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 ROME 02551 02 OF 03 241547Z
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/24/2012
TAGS: EAGR, ECON, IT, PREL, TBIO, WTO
SUBJECT: ALEMANNO TO SEMBLER: LESS OPEN ON BIOTECH

TAKEN PLACE IN ITALY. HE EXPLAINED THAT ITALY’S LARGEST
AND STRONGEST FARMERS’ ORGANIZATION, COLDIRETTI, HAS MADE
CLEAR ITS OPPOSITION TO BIOTECHNOLOGY AND HAS “CEMENTED A
STRONG FRONT WITH ALL OF ITALY’S CONSUMER ORGANIZATIONS AND
ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS”. THEIR STRENGTH WAS “CLEARLY SHOWN”
IN THE DEMONSTRATION THEY HELD IN FRONT OF MONSANTO’S
FACILITY IN LODI ON APRIL 20, ALEMANNO ASSERTED. ACCORDING
TO ALEMANNO, COLDIRETTI HAS ALSO ACCUSED THE MINAG OF BEING
TOO SOFT ON GMO-USE IN ITALY.

6. (C) COMMENT. ALEMANNO’S ANALYSIS IS CLEARLY
SELF-SERVING. FIRST, ACCORDING TO MONSANTO, THE
DEMONSTRATION WAS PEACEFUL WITH A FEW TRACTORS AND PERHAPS
30-40 PEOPLE. BY ALL ACCOUNTS, THE PRESS COVERAGE WAS FAR
MORE DAMAGING TO MONSANTO THAN THE PROTEST ITSELF. SECOND,
WE STILL NEED TO BE CONVINCED THAT ALEMANNO AND COLDIRETTI
HAVE ALL ITALIAN CONSUMER GROUPS IN THEIR CORNER. THOSE
THAT ATTENDED THE EMBASSY’S FEBRUARY 14 PROGRAM WITH
TUSKEGEE UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR C.S. PRAKASH DEMONSTRATED
OPEN-MINDEDNESS AND EVEN WARMED TO THE SUBJECT OF
BIOTECHNOLOGY. END COMMENT.

7. (SBU) ACKNOWLEDGING THAT THERE IS NO SCIENTIFIC
EVIDENCE WHICH INDICATES THAT BIOTECH PRODUCTS ON THE
MARKET ARE HARMFUL TO HUMAN HEALTH, ALEMANNO EXPLAINED THAT
ITALIAN CONSUMERS BELIEVE BIOTECHNOLOGY IS INCOMPATIBLE
WITH QUALITY FOOD. IN ITALY, WHERE THE REPUTATION OF
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PAGE 03 ROME 02551 02 OF 03 241547Z
ITALIAN PRODUCTS FOR QUALITY IS OF PARAMOUNT IMPORTANCE, IT
WOULD NOT BE COMMERCIALLY VIABLE TO DEVELOP BIOTECH CROPS.
ALEMANNO ADDED THAT BECAUSE OF THE LIMITED QUANTITY OF LAND
AVAILABLE FOR AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION, IT WOULD BE
IMPOSSIBLE TO GUARANTEE THE SEPARATION OF GMO-FREE
PRODUCTION, IF PLANTED ALONGSIDE GMO CROPS. THE LATTER
CONCERN IS THE BASIS FOR ITALY’S ESPECIALLY CAUTIOUS
APPROACH TO BIOTECHNOLOGY. HE REPEATED THAT ITALY’S
CONCERN WITH BIOTECHNOLOGY WAS BASED ON COMMERCIAL, NOT
HEALTH, FACTORS. IN CONCLUSION, ALEMANNO STATED THAT THE
PURPOSE OF THE WHITE PAPER IS TO IDENTIFY THE PROBLEMS
SURROUNDING BIOTECHNOLOGY IN ORDER THAT THE COUNCIL OF
MINISTERS OR THE PARLIAMENT COULD HAVE AN OPEN AND FAIR
DEBATE ON THE ISSUE. HE PROCLAIMED THAT IF THE WHITE PAPER
IS PERCEIVED AS BIASED, HE IS PREPARED TO MODIFY IT.

8. (SBU) THE U.S. SIDE EXPLAINED THAT THERE IS NO  CONCLUSIVE STUDY WHICH SUPPORTS THE ASSUMPTION THAT THE  CULTIVATION OF BIOTECH CROPS CANNOT CO-EXIST WITH  CONVENTIONAL CROPS. TO THE CONTRARY, SIMILAR CHALLENGES
HAVE BEEN OVERCOME IN ORDER TO ENSURE THE PURITY OF
PLANTING SEEDS. THE ANSWER TO ALEMANNO’S QUESTION LIES IN
RESEARCH, SOMETHING THE UNITED STATES AND ITALY MIGHT WORK
ON TOGETHER. THE U.S. SIDE ALSO CHALLENGED ALEMANNO’S
ASSERTION THAT BIOTECHNOLOGY IS INCOMPATIBLE WITH QUALITY
AGRICULTURE. ITALIAN SCIENTISTS HAVE ALREADY DEVELOPED NEW
PLANT VARIETIES WHICH DEMONSTRATE THE POTENTIAL FOR
BIOTECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE THE PRODUCTION, QUALITY, AND
SUSTAINABILITY OF TRADITIONAL CROPS SUCH AS THE SAN MARZANO
TOMATO AND CARNAROLI RICE.

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PAGE 04 ROME 02551 02 OF 03 241547Z
9. (SBU) ALEMANNO WAS QUICK TO DENY THAT HE PERSONALLY
BELIEVES GMO’S ARE INCONSISTENT WITH QUALITY ITALIAN
AGRICULTURE. RATHER, THIS WAS THE PREVAILING PERCEPTION
AMONG ITALIAN CONSUMERS. RETURNING TO THE IDEA OF A
COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT ON BIOTECHNOLOGY RESEARCH, ALEMANNO
ENCOURAGED THE EMBASSY TO WORK WITH PROF. FERNANADO ROMANO,
THE NEWLY APPOINTED CHAIR OF THE MINISTER’S BIOTECH
COMMITTEE. ROMANO IS ALSO CHAIR OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE
ON NUTRITION. ALEMANNO SAID HE WOULD ASK ROMANO TO CONTACT
THE EMBASSY EARLY THE WEEK OF MAY 20.

10. (SBU) AMBASSADOR SEMBLER REPEATED THE INTEREST OF THE
UNITED STATES TO MOVE QUICKLY IN ADVANCE OF PRESIDENT
BUSH’S VISIT. ALEMANNO IN RESPONSE CONFIRMED THAT PM
BERLUSCONI, DEPUTY PM FINI, AND HE ALL WANTED TO AVOID A  DISPUTE OVER BIOTECH THAT IMPINGES ON U.S.-ITALIAN  RELATIONS. HE SUGGESTED THAT IF GMO-FREE PRODUCTION COULD  TAKE PLACE ALONGSIDE BIOTECH CROPS “WITHOUT CONTAMINATION”  THE ISSUE COULD BE EASILY RESOLVED.

11. (C) ANALYSIS AND COMMENT. ALEMANNO WAS OBVIOUSLY
UNCOMFORTABLE WITH SCIENCE AND BACKED DOWN QUICKLY TO
EMBRACE THE CAUSE OF FURTHER RESEARCH WHEN THE FOUNDATIONS
OF HIS POLICY PAPER WERE SCRUTINIZED. HE AGREED UNDER FIRE

CONFIDENTIAL

CONFIDENTIAL PTQ8285

PAGE 01 ROME 02551 03 OF 03 241547Z
ACTION EUR-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AGRE-00 AID-00 AIT-03 AMAD-00 ACQ-00
CEA-01 CIAE-00 COME-00 CTME-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 PERC-00
SRPP-00 DS-00 EB-00 EXIM-01 E-00 FAAE-00 VC-00
FRB-00 HHS-01 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 ITC-01 L-00
VCE-00 AC-01 NSAE-00 OES-01 OMB-01 OPIC-01 PA-00
PM-00 PRS-00 ACE-00 P-00 SP-00 SSO-00 SS-00
STR-00 TRSE-00 T-00 USIE-00 EPAE-00 PMB-00 DSCC-00
DRL-02 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /014W
——————B38541 241548Z /38
P 241528Z MAY 02
FM AMEMBASSY ROME
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3907
NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
INFO EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
AMEMBASSY VATICAN
AMCONSUL FLORENCE
AMCONSUL MILAN
AMCONSUL NAPLES

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 ROME 002551

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCIENCE ADVISOR NEUREITER, EUR FOR EUR/WE AND
EUR/ERA FOR HEN-NIL, EB FOR GADSDEN AND EB/TPP/ATT FOR
PEREZ, E FOR SHUB, OES A/S TURNER, STATE PASS USTR FOR
STROJE AND NOVELLI, STATE USDA FOR O/S HEGWOOD, FAS/OA
TERPSTRA AND SLUTSKY, ITP SHEIK, MACKE, AND EJONES,
FAS/FAA/WILSON, AND FAS/OPD BLU, NSC FOR EDSON

CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 ROME 02551 03 OF 03 241547Z
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/24/2012
TAGS: EAGR, ECON, IT, PREL, TBIO, WTO
SUBJECT: ALEMANNO TO SEMBLER: LESS OPEN ON BIOTECH

THAT RESEARCH COOPERATION WITH THE U.S. COULD BE A GOOD
THING AND COULD HELP CLARIFY SOME OF THE QUESTIONS HIS
PAPER RAISES WITHOUT REFERENCE OR CITATION. NO PROGRESSIVE
THINKER HERE, BUT WE MAY BE ABLE TO PIN HIM DOWN BY HIS OWN
WORDS INTO COOPERATIVE RESEARCH THAT WILL OPEN THE DOORS
FOR ITALY’S UNIVERSITY RESEARCHERS AND ORGANIZATIONS, SUCH
AS ENEA AND ISS. WE WILL SOON KNOW WHERE ALEMANNO STANDS
BY WHETHER HIS BIOTECH RESEARCH ADVISOR CONTACTS US AS
PROMISED.

12. (C) ALEMANNO IS NOT NEARLY SO OPEN-MINDED TO  BIOTECHNOLOGY AS HE ATTEMPTED TO PORTRAY HIMSELF TO THE
AMBASSADOR. HIS PUBLIC STATEMENTS AND SPEECHES MORE
CLEARLY REFLECT HIS VIEWS ON THE SUBJECT. THE LATEST
EXAMPLE WAS ON MAY 21 WHEN ALEMANNO, SPEAKING TO A NAPLES
CONFERENCE ON WINE, SAID THAT HE WAS PERSONALLY CONVINCED
THAT IT IS A GOOD IDEA TO WED “GMO-FREE” TO QUALITY FOOD.
WHAT IS ALSO CLEAR IS THAT HE’S RIDING A WAVE OF SUPPORT
FROM THE MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE BETWEEN COLDIRETTI
(FORMERLY ASSOCIATED WITH THE CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATS), THE
GREENS, ANTI-GLOBAL GROUPS, AND SOME CONSUMER
ORGANIZATIONS. ARE THEY AS FORMIDABLE AS HE SAYS? WE THINK
NOT, BUT THEY CAST A MENACING SHADOW. THEY’VE HAD SUCCESS
SIMPLY BY VIRTUE OF THE LACK OF ANY REAL COMPETING VISION
ON BIOTECHNOLOGY, ESPECIALLY FROM POLITICAL LEADERS.

13.(C) WE SHOULD NOT UNDERESTIMATE ALEMANNO AND HIS
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PAGE 03 ROME 02551 03 OF 03 241547Z
DETERMINATION TO ADVANCE HIS POLITICAL CAREER. ALTHOUGH HE
KNOWS NEITHER AGRICULTURE NOR SCIENCE (HIS SPECIALTY AND
POLITICAL HOBBY HORSE IN THE PAST HAS BEEN LABOR), HE KNOWS
POLITICS FROM THE GRASSROOTS TO THE CONSIGLIO. HE HAS USED
HIS HOME TIES TO THE PUGLIA REGION AND PARTY CONNECTIONS TO
LINE UP SUPPORT FOR HIS WHITE PAPER AMONG REGIONAL
AGRICULTURE COMMISSIONERS, AND TO CUT A DEAL WITH SOME
NATIONAL ALLIANCE (AN) MEMBERS AND FORMER COMMUNIST REGIONS
TO SUPPORT HIS NO-GMO VIEWS (WITH ONLY THE REGION OF
LOMBARDIA DISSENTING, AND STRONGLY). HE RECENTLY DISPLAYED
HIS AMPLE POLITICAL SKILLS AT THE AN CONGRESS IN BOLOGNA;
HIS ONE HOUR SPEECH IN A FIFTEEN MINUTE SLOT GALVANIZED THE
PARTY FAITHFUL. HIS MOST TRUSTED STAFF AT MINAG FEEL AT
LIBERTY TO ROUTINELY ENGAGE IN VERBAL ATTACKS ON OPPONENTS
WITHIN THE GOI’S NATIONAL BIOTECH COMMITTEES WHO DARE TO
CRITICIZE THE WHITE PAPER.

14. (C) WE SUSPECT THAT BEHIND CLOSED DOORS ALEMANNO SEEKS
TO SWAY GOVERNMENT POLICY WITH THE SPECTER OF POPULAR
PROTESTS. WE QUESTION THE VIABILITY OF SUCH A STRATEGY,
BUT NONETHELESS WE CAN’T AFFORD TO LET HIM PROCEED
UNIMPEDED. AT PRESENT THE ONLY COUNTERWEIGHT WE SEE TO
ALEMANNO’S STRATEGY IS TO CONVINCE PM BERLUSCONI AND DEPUTY
PM FINI THAT ADOPTING ALEMANNO’S PAPER UNCHANGED (WHETHER
OUT OF FEAR OF POTENTIAL DEMONSTRATION OR A DESIRE TO AVOID
INTERNAL CONFLICT ON THE ISSUE) WOULD CREATE A SUBSTANTIAL
IMPEDIMENT TO U.S.-ITALIAN RELATIONS. THE UPCOMING VISITS
OF THE PRESIDENT, SECRETARY VENEMAN, U/S LARSON AND OTHERS
TO ROME PROVIDE PERFECT OPPORTUNITIES TO ADVANCE OUR
INTERESTS. END ANALYSIS AND COMMENT.
SEMBLER
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 ROME 02551 03 OF 03 241547Z

CONFIDENTIAL > 2002ROME02551 – Classification: CONFIDENTIAL

#2 ITALY/BIOTECH:COEXISTENCE DEGREE PASSED BY COUNCIL OF MINISTERS

ITALY/BIOTECH:COEXISTENCE DEGREE PASSED BY COUNCIL OF MINISTERS
Date:2004 December 1, 16:43 (Wednesday) Canonical ID:04ROME4563_a
Original Classification:CONFIDENTIAL Current Classification:CONFIDENTIAL
Handling Restrictions– Not Assigned —
Character Count:7696
Executive Order:– Not Assigned — Locator:TEXT ONLINE
TAGS:EAGR – Economic Affairs–Agriculture and Forestry | ETRD – Economic Affairs–Foreign Trade | IT – Italy | KSCA – Science Counselors and Attachés | TBIO – Technology and Science–Biological and Medical Science Concepts:– Not Assigned —
Enclosure:– Not Assigned — Type:TE – Telegram (cable)
Office Origin:– N/A or Blank —
Office Action:– N/A or Blank — Archive Status:– Not Assigned —
From:Italy Rome Markings:– Not Assigned —
To:– N/A or Blank —
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Classified By: Economic Minister-Counselor Scott Kilner for Reason 1.4
(b) and (d)

1.(C) Summary. On November 11, the Italian Council of
Ministers approved a decree-law on the coexistence of GM and
non-GM seeds planted in Italy. The decree imposes a
moratorium on the sowing of GM seed in Italy through the end
of 2005, by which time each of Italy’s regions must issue its
own coexistence plan. Starting in 2006, Italian farmers would  be able to cultivate GM seeds, as long as they adhere to the  regional coexistence plans. The decree also calls for the  formation of a committee of federal and regional experts to
define technical guidelines; the committee will be headed by
a notable anti-GMO official from the Environment Ministry,
though its membership spans the range of Italian opinion on
GMOs. In a conversation with the Ambassador just before the
decree’s passage, Deputy Prime Minister (and now Foreign
Minister) Gianfranco Fini admitted that the government’s
policy on GMOs was driven by politics, not science. Fini  predicted that Italy would continue to maintain among the
most restrictive GMO policies in the EU, within the
flexibility provided by EU regulations. Since parliamentary
approval is needed within sixty days of the decree-law’s
enactment for it to remain in force, we expect the debate on
coexistence to shift to Parliament in the coming weeks. End
summary.

2. (U) On his fifth attempt, Agriculture Minister Alemanno  finally succeeded November 11 in obtaining approval by the Italian Council of Ministers (PM Berlusconi’s cabinet) of a
decree-law on the coexistence of GM, non-GM, and organic crops. The decree’s approval was the culmination of an  effort re-launched by Alemanno following the European Union’s
decision in September to inscribe 17 varieties of GM corn  into the EU’s seed register. The decree came into effect  upon its publication November 29 in the GOI’s official gazette. It must be ratified by parliament within sixty days  (i.e. by January 28); otherwise the decree-law lapses.

Key Provisions
————–

3. (C) In early October, the Ambassador expressed our serious  concerns regarding earlier drafts of the decree-law to  several members of Berlusconi’s cabinet, as well as to
Berlusconi’s senior advisor, Under Secretary Gianni Letta
(reftel). The process of review and scrutiny of the
decree-law by the cabinet and others resulted in some
positive changes in the language, although overall it remains
inimical to the planting of biotech seeds in Italy. Some of
the decree-law’s main provisions include:

— Technical guidelines on coexistence will be drawn up by a  committee of experts, and will then be announced to the
European Commission by the Agriculture Minister. The
committee includes officials from the ministries of
agriculture and environment, the prime minister’s interagency
committee on biotech and biosafety, and Italy’s regions.
Environment Ministry Director General Aldo Cosentino, an
outspoken opponent of GMO cultivation, will preside over the
committee, although the group as a whole includes officials
with a wide range of views.

— Each of Italy’s 20 regions must issue a coexistence plan
by December 31, 2005 and must draft the plans in accordance
with “good agricultural practices.” Regions will promote
farmers to help ensure. Importantly, becauQponsibility forhas been devolved
te ultimatet h `0 and 25000. A seed before December
31h a jail sentence.

4.`n this version of the s ones is that it stippegions must h place. Without this  ns could have maintained a moratorium on planting  biotech crops by simply not acting. A second improvement is  the reference to “good agricultural practices.” Technology  proponents hope that this reference will result in regions  approving reasonable approaches (i.e. appropriate crop  separations) to coexistence. Finally, there is a reference  to the guidelines being consistent with guidance from the  European Commission, which represents some hope that the  regions will not overreach their competency.

5. (SBU) Even with the improvements over earlier drafts,  however, the approved decree-law continues to discourage the
sowing of GM seed in Italy. Italian farmers will be subject
to imprisonment through the end of 2005 if they sow GM seed.
Also troubling is the decree-law’s provision of significant
authority to Italy’s regions, since many regional leaders
have exhibited strong (and sometimes provocative) opposition
to GM cultivation. The ultimate significance of the decree
will have to await the issuance of each regional coexistence
plan.

Ambassador Discusses Decree with DPM Fini
—————————————–

6. (C) During a dinner at his residence shortly before the  decree law was approved by the Council of Ministers,
Ambassador Sembler underscored to Deputy Prime Minister (and
now Foreign Minister) Fini just how damaging Italian biotech  policy has been to U.S. agricultural interests. Most
notably, American seed exports — more that $70 million
annually just a few years ago — had almost been driven
completely from the Italian market. The planned coexistence  decree only threatened to make matters worse, the Ambassador  stressed.

7. (C) Fini responded by acknowledging that the government’s
policy on GMOs has been driven by politics, not science.
Nevertheless, Fini predicted that the current course would
continue at least through the next national election because
agricultural interests and the public generally supported it.
“It’s working for us politically,” said Fini bluntly. With
respect to the coexistence decree-law specifically, Fini
argued that it had been modified to be consistent with
Italy’s EU obligations. He said that EU rules offered member
states some latitude, and that within that range of
flexibility “Italy will adopt the most restrictive  regulations that we can.”

8. (C) The Ambassador again expressed his strong disagreement  with the GOI’s policy on agricultural biotechnology, stating  that it reflected a “lack of political leadership” on the
issue.

Comment: A Possible Struggle in Parliament
——————————————

9. (SBU) Despite the improvements over earlier versions,
Embassy assessment is that the coexistence degree-law
approved by the Council of Ministers remains inimical to U.S.
interests. However, the struggle over this legislation is not
finished yet. The cabinet’s action not withstanding, an
important body of concerned and reputable scientists
petitioned President Ciampi not to sign the decree-law,
calling it detrimental to scientific research and inquiry in
Italy. In the end Ciampi did sign on November 29, more than
two weeks after its approval (belying the supposed urgency
that underlies the use of the decree-law mechanism). Still,
the unexpected strength of opposition, both within the
cabinet and from the Italian scientific community, may
portend a fight in the legislature in the weeks ahead. During
this period, Embassy will engage parliamentarians to
reiterate our concerns that permanent coexistence regulations
should be science-based and provide Italian farmers a true
option to cultivate GM seeds.

SEMBLER

NNNN
2004ROME04563 – Classification: CONFIDENTIAL

 

#3 ITALY AND BIOTECH: COULD BE (HAS BEEN) WORSE

ITALY AND BIOTECH: COULD BE (HAS BEEN) WORSE
Date:2002 June 7, 17:28 (Friday) Canonical ID:02ROME2765_a
Original Classification:CONFIDENTIAL Current Classification:CONFIDENTIAL
Handling Restrictions– Not Assigned —
Character Count:13444
Executive Order:– Not Assigned — Locator:TEXT ONLINE
TAGS:EAGR – Economic Affairs–Agriculture and Forestry | ECON – Economic Affairs–Economic Conditions, Trends and Potential | ETRD – Economic Affairs–Foreign Trade | IT – Italy | PREL – Political Affairs–External Political Relations | TBIO – Technology and Science–Biological and Medical Science | TSPL – Technology and Science–Science and Technology Policy | WTO – World Tourism Organization; Warsaw Pact Organization | WTOEAGR Concepts:– Not Assigned —
Enclosure:– Not Assigned — Type:TE – Telegram (cable)
Office Origin:– N/A or Blank —
Office Action:– N/A or Blank — Archive Status:– Not Assigned —
From:Italy Rome Markings:– Not Assigned —
To:– N/A or Blank —
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1. (C) SUMMARY. IN THE BUILD-UP TO PRESIDENT BUSH’S MAY
27-28 VISIT TO ROME, THE GOI GOT BUSY ON BIOTECH. PRIME  MINISTER BERLUSCONI HAD MFA GIN-UP AN INTERAGENCY PROCESS TO  CONSIDER THE GOI CORN BAN, THE MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE’S  MISGUIDED WHITE PAPER, AND A POTENTIAL USG-GOI RESEARCH  ACCORD. THE PM TOLD THE MINISTERS OF AGRICULTURE, HEALTH,
AND ENVIRONMENT TO GO INTO A CORNER AND WORK OUT THEIR
BIOTECH DIFFERENCES. BIOTECH, AS IT TURNS OUT, WAS NOT A
MAJOR TOPIC OF DISCUSSION AT THE SUMMIT. IN ITS AFTERMATH,
VARIOUS GOI CONTACTS ASSURE US THAT THEY HAVE HEARD OUR
COMPLAINTS AND THAT, AT A MINIMUM, SCIENCE WILL BE A MORE
SIGNIFICANT ASPECT OF THE FORTHCOMING GOI AND PARLIAMENTARY
BIOTECH DEBATE. IN DISCUSSIONS WITH VISITING EB ASSISTANT
SECRETARY, SENIOR GOI OFFICIALS DISMISSED THE MOA WHITE PAPER

SIPDIS
AS MERELY ONE VIEWPOINT AND NOT EVEN AN OFFICIAL ONE.

2. (C) SUMMARY CONTINUED. PM BERLUSCONI SEEMS IN NO HURRY TO
CLARIFY THE STATE OF GOI BIOTECH POLICY. SPEAKING BESIDE
ALEMANNO AT A JUNE 3 PRESS CONFERENCE, THE POLITICALLY NIMBLE
PM SAID ITALY SHOULD GO FORWARD ON BIOTECH RESEARCH “WITH
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PAGE 03 ROME 02765 01 OF 03 080706Z
MUCH CAUTION, BUT WITHOUT CLOSING THE DOOR TO TECHNICAL
PROGRESS AND WATCHING WHAT HAPPENS IN OTHER COUNTRIES.” ONE
THING IS CERTAIN — ALEMANNO’S AGGRESSIVE COUNTDOWN TO
BIOTECH POLICY DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION IS ON HOLD. HE
HAD HOPED TO SPARK PARLIAMENTARY DEBATE THIS MONTH. NOW HE
SPEAKS BRAVELY OF HAVING A COHERENT GOI BIOTECH POLICY IN
PLACE BEFORE NEXT SPRING’S PLANTING SEASON. WE WILL KEEP THE
PRESSURE ON. END SUMMARY.

3. (SBU) LOOKING TO REMOVE A POTENTIAL TRADE IRRITANT FROM
THE AGENDA FOR PRESIDENT BUSH’S MAY 27-28 VISIT TO ROME,
PRIME MINISTER BERLUSCONI HASTILY ORCHESTRATED OSTENSIBLE
MOVEMENT ON BIOTECH IN THE RUN-UP TO THE SUMMIT. HE HAD THE
ITALIAN MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, NEVER MORE THAN
RELUCTANTLY ENGAGED ON THE ISSUE, CONVOKE AN INTERMINISTERIAL
PROCESS TO CONSIDER GOI BIOTECH POLICY AND, MORE
PARTICULARLY, TO REVIEW THE ITALIAN AUGUST 2000 BAN ON FOUR
BIOTECH CORN VARIETIES APPROVED BY THE EU, THE POLICY WHITE
PAPER LOOSELY AUTHORED BY THE AGRICULTURE MINISTRY, AND A
PROPOSED USG-GOI ACCORD ON BIOTECHNOLOGY RESEARCH. CALLS
FROM SEVERAL GOI OFFICIALS JUST BEFORE THE SUMMIT ASSURED
EMBOFFS THAT A MAY 22 MEETING OF THE MFA-LED AD HOC GROUP HAD
PRODUCED RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE PM THAT WOULD PLEASE US —
CALLS TO REVOKE THE CORN BAN, DAMPEN THE WHITE PAPER, AND
PROCEED WITH THE BILATERAL ACCORD.

4. (SBU) BIOTECHNOLOGY WAS BRIEFLY MENTIONED DURING THE
PRESIDENT’S 50 MINUTE BILATERAL MEETING WITH THE PRIME
MINISTER WITH THE LEADERS AGREEING TO DEFER THE SUBJECT UNTIL
THE FOLLOW-ON DINNER. OTHER BUSINESS, HOWEVER, ATE UP THE
TIME.
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PAGE 04 ROME 02765 01 OF 03 080706Z

5. (SBU) VISITING EB ASSISTANT SECRETARY TONY WAYNE AND
ECONOFF MET WITH MFA DIRECTOR GENERAL FOR EUROPE ROCCO
CANGELOSI AND PM DIPLOMATIC ADVISOR AND G-8 SHERPA GIOVANNI
CASTELLANETA ON MAY 30. CANGELOSI HOSTED THE MAY 22
INTERMINISTERIAL MEETING ON BIOTECH AND CASTELLANETA ACCEPTED
THE GROUP’S RECOMMENDATIONS ON BEHALF OF THE PRIME MINISTER.
A/S WAYNE EXPRESSED TWO USG CONCERNS REGARDING GOI BIOTECH
POLICY: THE FAILURE OF THIS GOI TO REPEAL THE UNJUSTIFIED
CORN BAN ENACTED BY ITS PREDECESSOR AND THE STATUS OF THE
MOA’S OVERTLY ANTI-BIOTECH WHITE PAPER AS THE DE FACTO CENTER
OF GOI BIOTECH DEBATE.

6. (SBU) PERHAPS REFLECTING THE RELATIVE IMPORTANCE
HERETOFORE ATTACHED TO THE SUBJECT BY BERLUSCONI (WHO WEARS
BOTH THE PM AND FM HATS), CASTELLANETA AND CANGELOSI WERE
EACH WELL-VERSED ONLY ON NARROW AREAS OF THE BIOTECH DEBATE.
ACKNOWLEDGING THAT THE CORN BAN LACKS ANY GROUNDING IN
SCIENCE, CASTELLANETA SPOKE OF THE DOMESTIC POLITICAL
DIFFICULTY OF REPEALING IT. HE REVEALED THAT BERLUSCONI HAS
ISSUED A HURRY-UP ORDER FOR A RECOMMENDATION FROM HIS CABINET
ON NEXT STEPS. COMMENT. ASIDE FROM MANUFACTURING “NEW”

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ACTION EB-00

INFO LOG-00 MFA-00 AGRE-00 AID-00 CIAE-00 CTME-00 DODE-00
EUR-00 EXIM-01 E-00 VC-00 FRB-00 HHS-01 H-01
TEDE-00 INR-00 IO-00 ITC-01 AC-01 NSAE-00 NSCE-00
OES-01 OMB-01 OPIC-01 ACE-00 SP-00 SSO-00 STR-00
TRSE-00 USIE-00 G-00 SAS-00 /008W
——————BA1EF5 080756Z /25
P 071728Z JUN 02
FM AMEMBASSY ROME
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4114
INFO EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
AMCONSUL FLORENCE
AMCONSUL MILAN
AMCONSUL NAPLES
HQ EPA WASHDC
NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 ROME 002765

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCIENCE ADVISOR NEUREITER
EB FOR A/S WAYNE, PDAS DONNELLY, DAS GADSDEN
EB/TPP/ATT FOR PEREZ
E FOR SHUB
EUR/ERA FOR HEN-NIL
OES FOR A/S TURNER, PDAS ROCK
STATE PASS USTR FOR STROJE, NOVELLI
STATE PASS USDA FOR APHIS:SMCCAMMON, USDA/FAS:BLUM
USDA/FAS/ITT:EJONES, USDA/FAS/OA:SLUTSKY
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 ROME 02765 02 OF 03 080756Z
USDA/OS/HEGWOOD
STATE PASS FDA FOR EFLAMM
EPA FOR OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATOR
NSC FOR EDSON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/05/2007
TAGS: EAGR, ETRD, ECON, IT, PREL, TBIO, TSPL, WTO
SUBJECT: ITALY AND BIOTECH: COULD BE (HAS BEEN) WORSE

SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE JUSTIFYING A REPEAL OR DISCUSSING OPTIMUM  POLITICAL TIMING FOR REPEAL OF THE BAN, WE CAN’T IMAGINE WHAT  THE MINISTERS HAVE TO DEBATE. THERE NEVER HAS BEEN ANY
SCIENTIFIC BASIS FOR THE BAN. END COMMENT. CASTELLANETA
SAID BERLUSCONI HAS INSTRUCTED AGRICULTURE MINISTER ALEMANNO
AND HEALTH MINISTER SIRCHIA TO ENGAGE ONE ANOTHER WITH A VIEW
TO FINDING COMMON GROUND ON THE CORN BAN AND BIOTECH POLICY
MORE GENERALLY. LOOKING TO STRIKE A POSITIVE NOTE ON
BIOTECH, HE SAID THE PM’S BIOTECHNOLOGY COMMISSION AND THE
ENVIRONMENT MINISTRY ARE HOT TO INK A RESEARCH COOPERATION
ACCORD WITH THE USG.

7. (C) A/S WAYNE THANKED CANGELOSI FOR THE MFA’S RECENT
EFFORT TO CONVOKE AN INTERMINISTERIAL PROCESS TO FOSTER A
BALANCED BIOTECH DISCUSSION. NOTE. THE GOI HAVING NO
INSTITUTIONALIZED INTERMINISTERIAL STRUCTURE, EFFORTS TO
BRING MINISTRIES TOGETHER ARE NECESSARILY AD HOC AND
LABOR-INTENSIVE. END NOTE. CANGELOSI SUMMARILY DISMISSED
THE WHITE PAPER AS AN UNSIGNED POSITION PAPER SUCCESSFULLY
DESIGNED TO STIMULATE DEBATE. HE SAID THE PAPER HAS NOT BEEN
FORMALLY INTRODUCED INTO PARLIAMENT AND DID NOT SEE ITS
INFORMAL CIRCULATION AS UNDULY INFLUENCING INTERMINISTERIAL
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PAGE 03 ROME 02765 02 OF 03 080756Z
DELIBERATIONS, WHICH HE SAID WOULD CONTINUE. CANGELOSI’S
DEPUTY, RITA MANNELLA, TOLD ECONOFF ON JUNE 6 THAT
RESPONSIBILITY FOR ORGANIZING ANY FURTHER INTERMINISTERIAL
MEETINGS ON BIOTECH HAS BEEN SHIFTED TO THE PM’S OFFICE AND
THAT NO FOLLOW-UP MEETING HAD BEEN SCHEDULED. COMMENT.
ALTHOUGH WE WELCOME MFA’S ENTRY INTO THE BIOTECH FRAY,
MANNELLA’S COMMENTS CONFIRM THAT THE MINISTRY SEES ITSELF IN
A CAMEO ROLE. PRIOR TO THE SUMMIT, SHE MADE CLEAR THAT MFA’S
MANDATE FROM THE PM WAS TO DEFUSE THE BIOTECH ISSUE IN AN
EFFORT TO GET IT OFF THE VISIT AGENDA. ABSENT FURTHER
INSTRUCTIONS FROM BERLUSCONI, MFA WILL BE LOOKING TO FADE
AWAY AGAIN RATHER THAN TO DEVELOP THE IN-HOUSE EXPERTISE
NECESSARY TO SHEPHERD AN ONGOING GOI BIOTECH DEBATE. END
COMMENT.

8. (SBU) SINCE THE BIOTECH HICCUP BROUGHT ABOUT BY THE
PRESIDENTIAL VISIT, THE AGRICULTURE MINISTRY HAS REASSERTED
ITSELF AS THE PRIMARY GOI ACTOR ON THE FILE, ALBEIT WITH
IMPORTANT CHANGES. AGRICULTURE MINISTER ALEMANNO HAD LONG
TARGETED A JUNE 4 MEETING OF THE “TAVOLO AGROALIMENTARE” (A
LOOSELY KNIT FORUM OF AGRICULTURE STAKEHOLDERS) FOR BRINGING
HIS WHITE PAPER ON BIOTECH POLICY OUT OF THE CLOSET.
(CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS REPORTED SEPTEL.) INSTEAD, IN A JUNE
3 PRESS CONFERENCE HE REFERRED TO THE WHITE PAPER AS A WORK
IN PROGRESS, EXPRESSLY ALLOWING THAT “WE WILL INCLUDE
PROPOSALS, IDEAS, AND EVERYTHING THAT CAN HELP CHECK GMO’S
OUT SCIENTIFICALLY IN THE WHITE PAPER.” AT THE SAME PRESS
CONFERENCE, ALEMANNO CALLED FOR A “MORATORIUM ON GMO’S” BUT
EXPRESSLY QUALIFIED HIS OPPOSITION TO BIOTECH PRODUCTS AS
BASED “PRIMARILY ON ECONOMIC GROUNDS” (COMMENT. I.E., NOT ON
SCIENCE. END COMMENT. ) AND INFLUENCED HEAVILY BY POLLS
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PAGE 04 ROME 02765 02 OF 03 080756Z
SHOWING THAT “70 PERCENT OF (ITALIAN) CONSUMERS ARE AGAINST
THEIR USE.” ALEMANNO SAID HE HOPES TO HAVE A POLICY PAPER TO
SUBMIT TO PARLIAMENT BY THE END OF THE SUMMER WITH A VIEW TO
ENACTMENT OF ITALIAN LEGISLATION BEFORE NEXT GROWING SEASON.

9. (SBU) APPEARING AT THE SAME PRESS CONFERENCE, PM
BERLUSCONI OFFERED WOBBLY GUIDANCE, SAYING “WE MUST UNDERTAKE
TO GO FORWARD WITH (GMO) RESEARCH, WITH MUCH PRUDENCE, BUT
WITHOUT CLOSING THE DOORS TO TECHNICAL PROGRESS AND WATCHING
WHAT HAPPENS IN OTHER COUNTRIES.” COMMENT. WE KNOW OF NO
PRIVATE BERLUSCONI WORDS THAT CLARIFY HIS TERSE PUBLIC
COMMENT. OUR GOI CONTACTS ARE TRYING TO PARSE THE ABOVE
SENTENCE FOR HIDDEN MEANING JUST AS WE ARE.

10. (C) COMMENT CONTINUED. ALEMANNO’S FAILURE TO LAUNCH HIS
TWICE RE-WRITTEN WHITE PAPER AS SCHEDULED IS WELCOME NEWS AND
A VALIDATION OF USG EFFORTS TO PRESSURE THE GOI TO CONDUCT A
SCIENCE-BASED DEBATE THAT WOULD INFORM PUBLIC OPINION RATHER
THAN MERELY REACT TO IT. THE MINISTER CLEARLY UNDERSTANDS
THAT HIS EFFORT TO END-RUN ITALIAN SCIENTISTS AND THE GOI
STRAIGHT TO PARLIAMENT HAS FAILED. WHAT REMAINS TO BE SEEN

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ACTION EB-00

INFO LOG-00 MFA-00 AGRE-00 AID-00 CIAE-00 CTME-00 DODE-00
EUR-00 EXIM-01 E-00 VC-00 FRB-00 HHS-01 H-01
TEDE-00 INR-00 IO-00 ITC-01 AC-01 NSAE-00 NSCE-00
OES-01 OMB-01 OPIC-01 ACE-00 SP-00 SSO-00 STR-00
TRSE-00 USIE-00 G-00 SAS-00 /008W
——————BA1F1B 080800Z /25
P 071728Z JUN 02
FM AMEMBASSY ROME
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4115
INFO EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
AMCONSUL FLORENCE
AMCONSUL MILAN
AMCONSUL NAPLES
HQ EPA WASHDC
NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 ROME 002765

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCIENCE ADVISOR NEUREITER
EB FOR A/S WAYNE, PDAS DONNELLY, DAS GADSDEN
EB/TPP/ATT FOR PEREZ
E FOR SHUB
EUR/ERA FOR HEN-NIL
OES FOR A/S TURNER, PDAS ROCK
STATE PASS USTR FOR STROJE, NOVELLI
STATE PASS USDA FOR APHIS:SMCCAMMON, USDA/FAS:BLUM
USDA/FAS/ITT:EJONES, USDA/FAS/OA:SLUTSKY
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 ROME 02765 03 OF 03 080800Z
USDA/OS/HEGWOOD
STATE PASS FDA FOR EFLAMM
EPA FOR OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATOR
NSC FOR EDSON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/05/2007
TAGS: EAGR, ETRD, ECON, IT, PREL, TBIO, TSPL, WTO
SUBJECT: ITALY AND BIOTECH: COULD BE (HAS BEEN) WORSE

IS THE MAKE-UP OF THE GOI SCIENCE TEAM FIELDED AND WHETHER  THE GROUP WILL BE FREE TO REASSESS SOME OF THE PSEUDO-SCIENCE
CONCLUSIONS OF THE WHITE PAPER — E.G., THAT BIOTECH VARIETY
CROPPING WOULD INEVITABLY “CONTAMINATE” CONVENTIONAL  VARIETIES.

11. COMMENT CONTINUED. ALEMANNO’S COUCHING OF HIS BIOTECH  OBJECTIONS IN ECONOMIC TERMS GREATLY RESTRICTS THE ARGUMENTS  AVAILABLE TO HIM. HE HAS NEVER GIVEN INDICATION THAT HIS  GRASP OF ECONOMICS IS ANY BETTER THAN HIS GRASP OF SCIENCE.
WE KNOW OF NO STUDY, FOR EXAMPLE, SUPPORTING HIS VIEW THAT  OPENING THE ITALIAN MARKET TO BIOTECH PRODUCTS WOULD TAINT  THE IMAGE OF ITALIAN QUALITY PRODUCTS WITH RESULTANT ECONOMIC  HARM. AT A MINIMUM, ALEMANNO HAS BEEN COMPELLED TO ALLOW THE  LEVEL OF DEBATE TO RISE FAR ABOVE THE SOPHISTRY OF THE  OUTSTANDING WHITE PAPER. WE REALIZE THAT THE MINISTER IS NOT
ABOUT TO ABANDON HIS PURITY-OF-THE-MOTHERLAND AND TRADITIONAL
PRODUCTS RHETORIC IN FAVOR OF SUBSTANTIVE DEBATE, BUT HE IS
AT LEAST BEING FORCED TO LET OTHERS STAKEHOLDERS TALK. WE
ANTICIPATE, GIVEN THAT ALEMANNO IS A PARTICULARLY ASTUTE  POLITICIAN, THAT WITH EVERY STEP FORWARD PRO-BIOTECH FORCES  ACHIEVE, THE MORE DEMAGOGIC AND RADICALIZED ALEMANNO’S
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PAGE 03 ROME 02765 03 OF 03 080800Z
RHETORIC AND RESPONSE WILL BE. WE INTEND TO BE ACTIVELY
ENGAGED.
POPE

CONFIDENTIAL  > 2002ROME02765 – Classification: CONFIDENTIAL

#4 ITALY’S WRONG TURN ON BIOTECH: WHAT WE SHOULD DO

ITALY’S WRONG TURN ON BIOTECH: WHAT WE SHOULD DO
Date:2002 April 8, 06:08 (Monday) Canonical ID:02ROME1726_a
Original Classification:CONFIDENTIAL Current Classification:CONFIDENTIAL
Handling Restrictions– Not Assigned —
Character Count:25679
Executive Order:– Not Assigned — Locator:TEXT ONLINE
TAGS:EAGR – Economic Affairs–Agriculture and Forestry | ECON – Economic Affairs–Economic Conditions, Trends and Potential | ETRD – Economic Affairs–Foreign Trade | IT – Italy | PREL – Political Affairs–External Political Relations | TBIO – Technology and Science–Biological and Medical Science | WTO – World Tourism Organization; Warsaw Pact Organization | WTOEAGR Concepts:– Not Assigned —
Enclosure:– Not Assigned — Type:TE – Telegram (cable)
Office Origin:– N/A or Blank —
Office Action:– N/A or Blank — Archive Status:– Not Assigned —
From:Italy Rome Markings:– Not Assigned —
To:– N/A or Blank —
ContentRaw contentMetadataPrintShare
Show Headers

CLASSIFIED BY: CLASSIFIED BY A/ECMIN DAVID MULENEX; REASON 1.5 B/D.

1. (C) SUMMARY. THIS COMPANION PIECE TO REF A PROVIDES
ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND, SUGGESTED TALKING POINTS FOR SENIOR
WASHINGTON OFFICIALS, AND POST ACTION STRATEGY IN RESPONSE TO
THE DELIBERATELY MISLEADING WHITE PAPER ON BIOTECHNOLOGY PUT
IN CIRCULATION BY THE ITALIAN MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE.
AMBASSADOR AND EMBOFFS HAVE STRONGLY CRITICIZED THE WHITE
PAPER AT HIGH LEVELS OF THE GOI AND WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO.
USING TALKING POINTS CONTAINED PARA 15, WE RECOMMEND THAT
SENIOR USG OFFICIALS DIRECTLY CONFRONT KEY GOI LEADERS ON THE
PAPER’S MOST SERIOUS MISSTATEMENTS — THAT BIOTECH IS “POLLUTION,” THAT U.S.-ORIGIN SEEDS ARE FLAWED, THAT BIOTECH
MAY CAUSE THE NEXT BSE-TYPE EPIDEMIC, AND MORE. BECAUSE SOME
VARIETY OF POLICY PAPER INEVITABLY WILL BE INTRODUCED IN
PARLIAMENT, THE USG SHOULD TRY TO PERSUADE THE GOI TO DRAFT A
DOCUMENT BASED ON SOUND SCIENCE RATHER THAN SCARE-MONGERING.
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PAGE 03 ROME 01726 01 OF 05 080658Z
SENIOR WASHINGTON INVOLVEMENT IS INDISPENSABLE TO REMIND PM
BERLUSCONI THAT HE IS A FRIEND OF BIOTECH AND THAT ITALY’S
INTERNATIONAL PRESTIGE DEMANDS A REVISITING OF THIS DOCUMENT.
DEPENDING ON THE RESULTS OF ACTIONS TAKEN PURSUANT TO REF A,
POST MAY RECOMMEND THAT WASHINGTON INVOLVEMENT CULMINATE IN A
DIRECT COMMUNICATION BETWEEN EITHER SECRETARY POWELL OR PRESIDENT BUSH AND BERLUSCONI (SEE PARA 12-14). END SUMMARY.

————— ——————- ——————-
———
ALEMANNO’S WHITE PAPER: ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY
————— ——————- ——————-
———

2. (SBU) AS DETAILED REF B, THE ITALIAN AGRICULTURE MINISTRY IS CIRCULATING AN UNDATED AND UNSIGNED WHITE PAPER ENTITLED
“TRANSGENIC ORGANISMS AND AGRICULTURE: A TIME FOR CHOICES”
ULTIMATELY INTENDED TO STIMULATE BIOTECH DEBATE IN
PARLIAMENT. ANNOUNCING ON ITS SECOND OF 37 PAGES THAT THE EU
IS SLOWLY LIBERALIZING RULES FOR USE OF “TRANSGENIC
ORGANISMS,” THE PAPER SOUNDS AN ALARM THAT ITALY’S CONTINUED
DELAY IN DEBATING BIOTECHNOLOGY COULD LEAD BY DEFAULT TO A
PROGRESSIVE PENETRATION OF THE ITALIAN MARKET BY TRANSGENIC
PRODUCTS. THE PAPER URGES IMMEDIATE DEBATE BEFORE THE
QUESTION BECOMES MOOT AND ITALIANS HAVE BEEN DEPRIVED OF
FREEDOM OF CHOICE ON AN ISSUE WITH PROFOUND ETHICAL,
SANITARY, AND ECONOMIC REPERCUSSIONS.

3. (SBU) THE PAPER ALLEGES THAT EFFORTS TO DATE TO CALMLY
EVALUATE THE POTENTIAL RISKS AND BENEFITS OF BIOTECHNOLOGY IN
ITALY HAVE RESULTED ONLY IN IDEOLOGICAL POLARIZATION.
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 ROME 01726 01 OF 05 080658Z
PRESUMABLY IN ORDER TO HELP FRAME A HIGHER ORDER OF DEBATE IN
PARLIAMENT, THE PAPER SUGGESTS THAT THE ISSUE PRESENTED FOR
CONSIDERATION SHOULD BE: “WHETHER THE TRANSGENIC OPTION IS
COHERENT AND COMPATIBLE WITH THE PRODUCTIVE CHARACTERISTICS
AND THE PROSPECTS FOR DEVELOPMENT OF OUR FOOD SYSTEM, LET
ALONE WITH THE EXPECTATIONS THAT THE CITIZENS NURTURE
REGARDING THE ROLE OF AGRICULTURE IN SOCIETY.” NOTE. QUOTES
FROM THE WHITE PAPER ARE INFORMAL EMBASSY TRANSLATIONS
THROUGHOUT. END NOTE

4. (SBU) THE REMAINDER OF THE PAPER IS OSTENSIBLY AN EFFORT
TO EXPLORE THIS QUESTION AND TO POSE DERIVATIVE QUESTIONS
WITHOUT PRESUMING TO PRE-EMPT THE DEBATE BY SUGGESTING DIRECT
ANSWERS. THE DEBATE CONTEXTS THE PAPER WOULD EVIDENTLY LIKE
PARLIAMENT TO ADOPT APPEAR IN THREE SUBSECTIONS, ENTITLED:
“TRANSGENIC PRODUCTS AND THE PRODUCTIVE CHARACTERISTICS OF
THE ITALIAN FOOD SYSTEM;” TRANSGENIC PRODUCTS AND THE
TERRITORIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL CHARACTERISTICS OF OUR
AGRICULTURE;” AND “TRANSGENIC PRODUCTS AND THE CONSUMER.” AT
BASE, THE “PRODUCTIVE CHARACTERISTICS” OF THE ITALIAN
AGRICULTURE SYSTEM TURN OUT TO BE VARIOUS ITALIAN PROGRAMS
ATTACHING “TRADITIONAL” DESIGNATIONS TO SOME 3,000
AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS AND THE INTERNATIONAL REPUTATION FOR
“QUALITY” THESE PRODUCTS HAVE WON FOR ITALIAN AGRICULTURE,
AND THE “EXPECTATION” OF ITALIANS TURNS OUT TO BE THAT ITALY

Vedi anche  Difendere l’agricoltura meridionale rafforzando i dazi e i controlli sulle importazioni #nemo

CONFIDENTIAL

CONFIDENTIAL PTQ6532

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ACTION EUR-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AGRE-00 AID-00 AIT-03 ACQ-00 CEA-01
CIAE-00 COME-00 CTME-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 PERC-00 SRPP-00
DS-00 EB-00 EXIM-01 E-00 FAAE-00 VC-00 FRB-00
HHS-01 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 ITC-01 L-00 VCE-00
AC-01 NSAE-00 OES-01 OMB-01 OPIC-01 PA-00 PC-01
PM-00 PRS-00 ACE-00 P-00 SCT-00 SP-00 SSO-00
SS-00 STR-00 TRSE-00 T-00 USIE-00 BBG-00 EPAE-00
PMB-00 DSCC-00 DRL-02 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /015W
——————8073E3 080658Z /38
P 080608Z APR 02
FM AMEMBASSY ROME
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3131
HQ EPA WASHDC
NSC WASHDC
INFO EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
AMCONSUL FLORENCE
AMCONSUL MILAN
AMCONSUL NAPLES

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 05 ROME 001726

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCIENCE ADVISOR NEUREITER
EUR/ERA FOR HEN-NIL,
EB FOR GADSDEN
EB/TPP/ATT FOR PEREZ
E FOR SHUB,
OES A/S TURNER
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 ROME 01726 02 OF 05 080658Z
STATE PASS USTR FOR STROJE, NOVELLI
STATE PASS USDA FOR APHIS:SMCCAMMON, USDA/FAS:BLUM
USDA/FAS/ITT:EJONES, USDA/FAS/OA:SLUTSKY
USDA/OS/HEGWOOD
STATE PASS FDA FOR EFLAMM
EPA FOR OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATOR
NSC FOR EDSON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/07/2012
TAGS: EAGR, ECON, ETRD, IT, PREL, TBIO, WTO
SUBJECT: ITALY’S WRONG TURN ON BIOTECH: WHAT WE SHOULD DO

WILL CONTINUE TO EMPHASIZE QUALITY OVER QUANTITY IN
AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION.

5. (C) THE READER NEED NOT BE PARTICULARLY DISCERNING IN
ORDER TO FIND A STRONG ANTI-BIOTECH THEME BETWEEN THE LINES
OF THE PAPER. THE SHAPE OF THE DEBATE THE PAPER WOULD FOSTER
EMERGES FROM THE DERIVATIVE PRESUMPTIONS AND QUESTIONS
PRESENTED IN THESE THREE SUBSECTIONS. THE PAPER CLEVERLY
LINKS BIOTECHNOLOGY TO TWO OF THE MAJOR BOGEYMEN IN ITALIAN
PUBLIC OPINION — GLOBALIZATION AND MAD COW DISEASE.
GLOBALIZATION IN THIS CONTEXT REFERS TO A SMALL CLIQUE OF
HUGE MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS (MOSTLY AMERICAN) THAT
MANUFACTURE HIGH VOLUME, LOW COST, “ENGINEERED” FOODS THAT
“TEND INEVITABLY TO INTRODUCE A FLATTENING” OF QUALITY IN
FAVOR OF COST CONTAINMENT AND PROFIT MAXIMIZATION. THE
CONSUMER VIEW IS PRESENTED PRIMARILY BY SUMMARIZING A PUBLIC
OPINION SURVEY FINDING THAT ITALIANS MAY ACCEPT AGRICULTURAL
BIOTECH AS A MEANS OF FEEDING THE THIRD WORLD, BUT 79 PERCENT
BELIEVE ITS INTRODUCTION HERE WOULD DAMAGE THE ITALIAN FOOD
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 ROME 01726 02 OF 05 080658Z
SYSTEM. BSE IS SLIPPED INTO A DISCUSSION OF THE POTENTIAL
PROPAGATION OF BIOTECH SEEDS AS AN EXAMPLE OF THE HORRORS
THAT CAN DERIVE FROM A BIOLOGICAL PHENOMENON THAT MAY BE
CONTROLLABLE TODAY BUT MAY NOT BE CONTROLLABLE TOMORROW.

HAVE YOU STOPPED BEATING YOUR WIFE AND OTHER QUESTIONS FOR
DEBATE
——————– ————– ————–
———— ———— ———-

6. (C) THE PAPER WINDS THROUGH A MURKY MIXTURE OF DERIVATIVE
QUESTIONS OFFERED FOR DEBATE AND PUTATIVE SCIENTIFIC AXIOMS
THAT PROGRESSIVELY STEER THE DISCUSSION TOWARDS ANTI-BIOTECH
POLITICAL CONCLUSIONS AND AWAY FROM SCIENCE-BASED DEBATE.
THE SUBSECTION ON THE ITALIAN FOOD SYSTEM IS ILLUSTRATIVE.
THE SUBSECTION FIRST SUGGESTS, RATHER NEUTRALLY, THAT “THE
QUESTION POSED IS WHETHER AND IN WHAT MEASURE THE DECISION TO
IMPROVE QUALITY CAN BE COMPATIBLE WITH USE OF TRANSGENIC
ORGANISMS.” IN CASE THE READER HAS DIFFICULTY ANSWERING THE
QUESTION, THE PAPER OFFERS A LESS SUBTLE REPHRASING: “WE MUST
CALMLY EVALUATE WHETHER THE IMAGE AND CREDIBILITY OF OUR FOOD
SYSTEM CAN BE DAMAGED BY THE PRESENCE OF TRANSGENIC ORGANISMS
THAT, LEAVING ASIDE CONSIDERATION OF NEGATIVE AFFECTS ON
HEALTH AND FOOD QUALITY, CARRY A STIGMA OF INDUSTRIAL
ENGINEERING THAT APPEARS TO BE IN COMPLETE CONFLICT WITH THE
WORLD’S IMAGE OF OUR FOOD PRODUCTS.” FOR THE TRULY DENSE,
THE PAPER PROVIDES A SLEDGEHAMMER THIRD FORMULATION: “THIS
EVALUATION MUST, MOREOVER, TAKE ACCOUNT OF THE COLLECTIVE
INTEREST IN PRESERVING THE BIOLOGIC PATRIMONY OF OUR
AGRICULTURE FROM THE INEVITABLE GENETIC POLLUTION DERIVING
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 ROME 01726 02 OF 05 080658Z
FROM THE INTRODUCTION OF TRANSGENIC ORGANISMS.”

7. (C) THE SUBSECTION ON ITALIAN LAND AND ENVIRONMENT ALSO
SHOWS PROGRESSIVE SHRILLNESS AND LOSS OF OBJECTIVITY. THE
SUBSECTION FIRST SUGGESTS THAT “RELATIONS OF THE DIVERSE
FORMS OF AGRICULTURE AMONG THEMSELVES AND BETWEEN THEM AND
NATURAL ENVIRONMENTS ARE TWO ASPECTS TO CONSIDER WITH
PARTICULAR ATTENTION AS WE EVALUATE THE BENEFITS OF USING OR
NOT USING TRANSGENIC PRODUCTS.” A BLAND DISCUSSION OF THE
DESIRABILITY OF AVOIDING POLLUTION QUICKLY MORPHS TO A
CONDEMNATION OF “GENETIC POLLUTION” AND WE HAVE: “WE MUST BE
AWARE THAT THE EVENTUAL IMPOSSIBILITY OF SEPARATING THE TWO
LINES (GMO AND GMO-FREE) AND AVOIDING GENETIC POLLUTION COULD
PRODUCE A SITUATION OF OBVIOUS INCOMPATIBILITY WITH THE
MAINTENANCE OF ACTIVITIES — SUCH AS ORGANIC FARMING AND
PRODUCTION OF QUALITY PRODUCTS (FOR EXAMPLE PARMIGIANO
CHEESE) — THAT DO NOT ALLOW EITHER USE OR CONTAMINATION BY
TRANSGENIC PRODUCTS.” THE SUBSECTION ENDS BY REMOVING ANY
PRETENSE OF OBJECTIVITY: “IT IS EVIDENT THAT USE OF
TRANSGENIC PRODUCTS COULD PRODUCE POLLUTION THAT COULD MEAN
THE LOSS OF THOSE CHARACTERISTICS THAT TODAY DIFFERENTIATE
OUR AGRICULTURE IN THE MARKETPLACE.” PRESUMABLY, PARLIAMENT
IS LEFT TO DEBATE WHETHER ITALY SHOULD ALLOW CHEAP, LOW
QUALITY IMPORTS INTO ITS MARKET IN THE CERTAIN KNOWLEDGE THAT
DOING SO WILL DESTROY ITALIAN AGRICULTURE.

CONFIDENTIAL

CONFIDENTIAL PTQ6533

PAGE 01 ROME 01726 03 OF 05 080659Z
ACTION EUR-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AGRE-00 AID-00 AIT-03 ACQ-00 CEA-01
CIAE-00 COME-00 CTME-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 PERC-00 SRPP-00
DS-00 EB-00 EXIM-01 E-00 FAAE-00 VC-00 FRB-00
HHS-01 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 ITC-01 L-00 VCE-00
AC-01 NSAE-00 OES-01 OMB-01 OPIC-01 PA-00 PC-01
PM-00 PRS-00 ACE-00 P-00 SCT-00 SP-00 SSO-00
SS-00 STR-00 TRSE-00 T-00 USIE-00 BBG-00 EPAE-00
PMB-00 DSCC-00 DRL-02 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /015W
——————8073EA 080659Z /38
P 080608Z APR 02
FM AMEMBASSY ROME
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3132
HQ EPA WASHDC
NSC WASHDC
INFO EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
AMCONSUL FLORENCE
AMCONSUL MILAN
AMCONSUL NAPLES

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 05 ROME 001726

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCIENCE ADVISOR NEUREITER
EUR/ERA FOR HEN-NIL,
EB FOR GADSDEN
EB/TPP/ATT FOR PEREZ
E FOR SHUB,
OES A/S TURNER
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 ROME 01726 03 OF 05 080659Z
STATE PASS USTR FOR STROJE, NOVELLI
STATE PASS USDA FOR APHIS:SMCCAMMON, USDA/FAS:BLUM
USDA/FAS/ITT:EJONES, USDA/FAS/OA:SLUTSKY
USDA/OS/HEGWOOD
STATE PASS FDA FOR EFLAMM
EPA FOR OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATOR
NSC FOR EDSON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/07/2012
TAGS: EAGR, ECON, ETRD, IT, PREL, TBIO, WTO
SUBJECT: ITALY’S WRONG TURN ON BIOTECH: WHAT WE SHOULD DO

8. (C) THE ITALIAN FOOD SYSTEM SUBSECTION NEVER RETURNS TO
THE LEFT ASIDE DISCUSSION OF POSSIBLE HEALTH AND FOOD QUALITY
EFFECTS OF BIOTECH. IN FACT, SO MARGINALIZED IS SCIENCE IN
THIS DOCUMENT THAT NOWHERE IN ITS 37 PAGES ARE THE SUPPOSEDLY
AXIOMATIC HEATH AND FOOD QUALITY EFFECTS DOCUMENTED.
ALEMANNO’S EVIDENT FEAR OF SCIENCE (HE IS A HIGH-SCHOOL
GRADUATE WHO CLAIMED NO EXPERTISE IN AGRICULTURE PRIOR TO
LANDING THE JOB AS MINISTER) LEAVES MANY OF THE PAPER’S
CONCLUSIONS HANGING WITHOUT FOUNDATION AND MAY MAKE EASIER
THE TASK OF OPPOSING THE PROPOSED POLICY. RATHER THAN
SUMMARIZING REASONED SCIENTIFIC CONCERN ABOUT PROSPECTS FOR
MAINTAINING A BIOTECH-FREE PRODUCTION OPTION WHEN
CONVENTIONAL SEEDS ARE PLANTED IN PROXIMITY TO BIOTECH SEEDS,
THE SUBSECTION ON LAND AND THE ENVIRONMENT CONDEMNS ALL
BIOTECH PRODUCTS AS EVENTUALLY AND INEVITABLY POLLUTING
ITALIAN PRODUCTION OR CONTAMINATING THE IMAGE OF ITALIAN
PRODUCTS.

CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 ROME 01726 03 OF 05 080659Z
———————-
WORST OF THE REST
———————-

9. (SBU) FOLLOWING IS COMMENTARY ON OTHER PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS
OF THE WHITE PAPER.

— REJECT U.S. SEEDS. THE PAPER SUGGESTS THAT “THE
PHENOMENON OF UNCONTROLLED CONTAMINATION” BY TRANSGENIC
ORGANISMS CAN BE AVOIDED ONLY BY ENACTING INCENTIVES FOR
ITALIAN SEED SELF-SUFFIENCY AND, IN THE MEANWHILE, BY
DEVELOPING SUPPLY CHANNELS WITH COUNTRIES THAT CAN CERTIFY
SEEDS AS BIOTECH-FREE AND AVOIDING IMPORT OF SEEDS FROM OTHER
SOURCES AND, IN PARTICULAR, THE “UNITED STATES FROM WHERE,
ACCORDING TO THE CHECKS EFFECTED BY THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH,
MOST CONTAMINATED SEEDS ORIGINATE.” IN MAKING THIS
DISCRIMINATORY SUGGESTION, THE PAPER MAKES NO MENTION THAT
THE U.S. SEED PRODUCERS CAN, FOR A PREMIUM, PRODUCE CERTIFIED
GMO-FREE SEED.

— SCIENCE: PERSUASION BY OMISSION. IN THE NAME OF
ELIMINATING “USELESS AND DAMAGING” POLEMICS, THE PAPER SIMPLY
OMITS OPPOSING ARGUMENTS. NOT A SINGLE SCIENTIFIC CITATION
IS INCLUDED IN THE 37 PAGE PAPER, AND THE FIFTEEN YEARS OF EU
FUNDED RESEARCH RECENTLY SUMMARIZED IN A EUROPEAN COMMISSION
REPORT IS NOT MENTIONED. THE ADVANCES IN ITALIAN
BIOTECHNOLOGY, INCLUDING VIRAL AND FUNGAL RESISTANT PRODUCTS
NOW READY FOR FIELD TESTING, ARE IGNORED. THE ENVIRONMENTAL
BENEFITS OF REDUCED USAGE OF HERBICIDES AND PESTICIDES, AS
WELL THE PRODUCTION BENEFITS OF DROUGHT TOLERANCE AND STRESS
RESISTANCE ARE OVERLOOKED. THE POTENTIAL BENEFITS TO
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 ROME 01726 03 OF 05 080659Z
DEVELOPING COUNTRIES ARE QUICKLY SHUNTED ASIDE AS NOT
RELEVANT TO QUALITY CONSCIOUS ITALIAN CONSUMERS.

— INTERPRET EU SAFEGUARDS CLAUSE AS OPT-OUT CLAUSE. THE
PAPER DESCRIBES ARTICLE 16 OF EU DIRECTIVE 90/220 AND ARTICLE
12 OF RULE 258/97 AS RESERVING TO INDIVIDUAL MEMBER STATES
THE RIGHT “TO SUSPEND COMMERCIALIZATION ON ITS TERRITORY OF A
TRANSGENIC PRODUCT WHENEVER THAT STATE DETERMINES, FOR VALID
SCIENTIFIC REASONS, THAT IT IS NOXIOUS FOR HUMAN HEALTH AND
THE ENVIRONMENT. ARTICLE 23 OF NEW EU DIRECTIVE 2001/18,
ACCORDING TO THE WHITE PAPER, CONTINUES TO ALLOW INDIVIDUAL
MEMBER STATES TO LIMIT OR PROHIBIT THE USE OR SALE ON ITS
TERRITORY OF ANY PRODUCT AUTHORIZED BY THE COMMISSION.”
PERHAPS LOOKING TO EXPAND ON ITALY’S OWN PRECEDENT, THE PAPER
MAKES NO MENTION OF THE “VALID SCIENTIFIC REASON”
PREREQUISITE TO WHICH THE GOI AT LEAST PAID LIP SERVICE IN
ENACTING ITS 2000 BAN ON FOUR VARIETIES OF BIOTECH CORN
APPROVED FOR COMMERCIALIZATION BY THE EU.

— ITALY CAN REJECT BIOTECH WITHOUT VIOLATING EU NORMS. THE
PAPER SUGGESTS THAT ITALY MAY CHOOSE TO GO ITS OWN WAY ON
BIOTECH POLICY. “WITHOUT DOUBT RECENT EVOLUTION OF EU
LEGISLATION INTRODUCES A GROWING OPENING TO THE USE OF
BIOTECHNOLOGY. THIS, HOWEVER, DOES NOT MEAN THAT, WITH ALL
DUE RESPECT FOR THE NORMS, OUR FOOD SYSTEM CANNOT CHOOSE ITS

CONFIDENTIAL

CONFIDENTIAL PTQ6534

PAGE 01 ROME 01726 04 OF 05 080659Z
ACTION EUR-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AGRE-00 AID-00 AIT-03 ACQ-00 CEA-01
CIAE-00 COME-00 CTME-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 PERC-00 SRPP-00
DS-00 EB-00 EXIM-01 E-00 FAAE-00 VC-00 FRB-00
HHS-01 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 ITC-01 L-00 VCE-00
AC-01 NSAE-00 OES-01 OMB-01 OPIC-01 PA-00 PC-01
PM-00 PRS-00 ACE-00 P-00 SCT-00 SP-00 SSO-00
SS-00 STR-00 TRSE-00 T-00 USIE-00 BBG-00 EPAE-00
PMB-00 DSCC-00 DRL-02 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /015W
——————8073F1 080659Z /38
P 080608Z APR 02
FM AMEMBASSY ROME
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3133
HQ EPA WASHDC
NSC WASHDC
INFO EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
AMCONSUL FLORENCE
AMCONSUL MILAN
AMCONSUL NAPLES

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 04 OF 05 ROME 001726

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCIENCE ADVISOR NEUREITER
EUR/ERA FOR HEN-NIL,
EB FOR GADSDEN
EB/TPP/ATT FOR PEREZ
E FOR SHUB,
OES A/S TURNER
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 ROME 01726 04 OF 05 080659Z
STATE PASS USTR FOR STROJE, NOVELLI
STATE PASS USDA FOR APHIS:SMCCAMMON, USDA/FAS:BLUM
USDA/FAS/ITT:EJONES, USDA/FAS/OA:SLUTSKY
USDA/OS/HEGWOOD
STATE PASS FDA FOR EFLAMM
EPA FOR OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATOR
NSC FOR EDSON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/07/2012
TAGS: EAGR, ECON, ETRD, IT, PREL, TBIO, WTO
SUBJECT: ITALY’S WRONG TURN ON BIOTECH: WHAT WE SHOULD DO

OWN WAY OF DEVELOPMENT UNLINKED TO TRANSGENICS. FORSEEING A
GREATER OPENING FOR TRANSGENIC ORGANISMS DOES NOT MEAN, IN
FACT, A PROHIBITION THAT, IF DEEMED BENEFICIAL, WE COULD
FOLLOW THE OBJECTIVE OF HAVING AN GMO-FREE FOOD SYSTEM.”

———————————–
WHAT WE ARE DOING ABOUT IT
———————————–

10. (C) POST REACTED QUICKLY AND STRONGLY TO THE ADVENT OF
THE WHITE PAPER. AMBASSADOR SEMBLER MET SEPARATELY WITH
MINISTER OF HEALTH SIRCHIA AND MINISTER OF EDUCATION AND
RESEARCH MORATTI, FOUND EACH UNAWARE OF THE PAPER, PRESENTED
COPIES, AND — AFTER ELICITING REACTIONS FAVORABLE TO OUR
INTERESTS — POINTED THEM TO EACH OTHER AS POTENTIAL ALLIES
WITHIN THE BERLUSCONI CABINET. SIRCHIA HAS ASKED FOR A
POSITION PAPER FROM US AND MORATTI ASKED FOR TALKING POINTS
SHE MIGHT USE WITHIN THE GOI. BOTH WILL BE DELIVERED THIS
WEEK. THE AMBASSADOR ALSO WROTE ENVIRONMENT MINISTER
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PAGE 03 ROME 01726 04 OF 05 080659Z
MATTEOLI TO ASK HIS ASSISTANCE IN FURTHERING SCIENCE-BASED
DISCUSSIONS. VISITING CONGRESSMAN BILL YOUNG MADE SIMILAR
APPROACHES TO HIS LONG-TIME FRIEND AND PROTEGE DEPUTY PRIME
MINISTER GIANFRANCO FINI AND TO DEPUTY MINISTER FOR
INTERNATIONAL TRADE ADOLFO URSO AT THE AMBASSADOR’S REQUEST.
THE DCM MET WITH GIANI CASTELLANETA, PM BERLUSCONI’S TOP
DIPLOMATIC ADVISOR, EDUCATED HIM ON THE ISSUE, AND ELICITED A
PROMISE TO LOOK CAREFULLY INTO OUR CONCERNS.

11. (C) BY SEPTEL, THE AMBASSADOR IS APPEALING DIRECTLY TO
AGRICULTURE SECRETARY VENNEMAN, EPA ADMINISTRATOR WHITMAN,
UNDERSECRETARY LARSON, AND NSC SENIOR ADVISOR EDSON TO
COMMUNICATE DIRECTLY WITH THEIR ITALIAN COUNTERPARTS.
APPROPRIATE TALKING POINTS, ETC. ARE BEING COORDINATED
BETWEEN POST AND WASHINGTON AGENCIES.

——————————————-
WHAT MORE WE SHOULD DO ABOUT IT
——————————————-

12. (C) AS POST REPEATS IN EVERY AVAILABLE CONTEXT, THE GOI
DECISIONS ON BIOTECH ULTIMATELY ARE TAKEN BY ONLY ONE SOURCE
— PRIME MINISTER BERLUSCONI. MINISTER ALEMANNO HAS TAKEN
THE INITIATIVE SIMPLY BECAUSE THE PM HAS BEEN SILENT FOR
SEVERAL MONTHS, AND A VACUUM HAS THUS BEEN CREATED.
BERLUSCONI CAN CERTAINLY REIN IN ALEMANNO AT THIS POINT,
ALTHOUGH THAT CONTROL BECOMES MOOT WHEN PARLIAMENT GETS THE
DOCUMENT AND BEGINS ITS OWN DEBATE.

13. (C) WE HAVE BEEN SURPRISED BY THE LACK OF AWARENESS EVEN
OF THE EXISTENCE OF THE ALEMANNO WHITE PAPER WITHIN THE GOI.
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 ROME 01726 04 OF 05 080659Z
THE COPIES DISTRIBUTED WITHIN THE VARIOUS MINISTRIES SEEM TO
HAVE COME ONLY FROM US. WE ARE PUTTING TOGETHER A CLIQUE OF
RIGHT-MINDED MINISTERS WITHIN THE CABINET AND BRIEFING SENIOR
ADVISORS ACROSS THE GOI.

14. (C) HOWEVER, THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR USG COMMUNICATION
WITH THE PM. BERLUSCONI IS, AT LEAST FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL
WEEKS, ITALY’S FOREIGN MINISTER AS WELL AS ITS PRIME
MINISTER. SECRETARY POWELL, THEREFORE, WOULD HAVE A PROTOCOL
ENTREE WITH FOREIGN MINISTER BERLUSCONI THAT MAY PROVE OF
GREAT VALUE AND PAVE THE WAY FOR A PRESIDENT BUSH-PRIME
MINISTER BERLUSCONI COMMUNICATION. DEPENDING ON THE RESULTS
OF ACTIONS TAKEN PURSUANT TO REF A, POST MAY RECOMMEND THAT
WASHINGTON INVOLVEMENT CULMINATE IN THIS HIGHER LEVEL DIRECT
COMMUNICATION.

15. (SBU) THE FOLLOWING ARE SUGGESTED TALKING POINTS FOR USE
IN PRIMING THE VARIOUS COMMUNICATION CHANNELS WE PROPOSE
ACTIVATING.

— THE MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE IS CIRCULATING AN UNSIGNED
DRAFT PAPER ENTITLED “TRANSGENIC ORGANISMS AND AGRICULTURE:
THE TIME FOR CHOICES.” PRESUMABLY THIS IS AN EARLY VERSION
OF THE POLICY PAPER MINISTER ALEMANNO HAS ANNOUNCED HE
INTENDS TO BRING BEFORE THE PARLIAMENT.

CONFIDENTIAL

CONFIDENTIAL PTQ6535

PAGE 01 ROME 01726 05 OF 05 080659Z
ACTION EUR-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AGRE-00 AID-00 AIT-03 ACQ-00 CEA-01
CIAE-00 COME-00 CTME-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 PERC-00 SRPP-00
DS-00 EB-00 EXIM-01 E-00 FAAE-00 VC-00 FRB-00
HHS-01 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 ITC-01 L-00 VCE-00
AC-01 NSAE-00 OES-01 OMB-01 OPIC-01 PA-00 PC-01
PM-00 PRS-00 ACE-00 P-00 SCT-00 SP-00 SSO-00
SS-00 STR-00 TRSE-00 T-00 USIE-00 BBG-00 EPAE-00
PMB-00 DSCC-00 DRL-02 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /015W
——————8073F5 080659Z /38
P 080608Z APR 02
FM AMEMBASSY ROME
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3134
HQ EPA WASHDC
NSC WASHDC
INFO EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
AMCONSUL FLORENCE
AMCONSUL MILAN
AMCONSUL NAPLES

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 05 OF 05 ROME 001726

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCIENCE ADVISOR NEUREITER
EUR/ERA FOR HEN-NIL,
EB FOR GADSDEN
EB/TPP/ATT FOR PEREZ
E FOR SHUB,
OES A/S TURNER
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 ROME 01726 05 OF 05 080659Z
STATE PASS USTR FOR STROJE, NOVELLI
STATE PASS USDA FOR APHIS:SMCCAMMON, USDA/FAS:BLUM
USDA/FAS/ITT:EJONES, USDA/FAS/OA:SLUTSKY
USDA/OS/HEGWOOD
STATE PASS FDA FOR EFLAMM
EPA FOR OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATOR
NSC FOR EDSON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/07/2012
TAGS: EAGR, ECON, ETRD, IT, PREL, TBIO, WTO
SUBJECT: ITALY’S WRONG TURN ON BIOTECH: WHAT WE SHOULD DO

— LATER THIS YEAR, THE EU WILL BEGIN IMPLEMENTING PROCEDURES
FOR APPROVING NEW FOOD PRODUCTS, INCLUDING BIOTECHNOLOGY FOOD
PRODUCTS, FOR COMMERCIALIZATION ACROSS THE EU COMMON MARKET.
THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION WILL CONTINUE TO CONSIDER PROPOSALS
FOR MONITORING BIOTECHNOLOGY FOOD PRODUCTS ALREADY APPROVED.

— AS A MEMBER STATE, IT IS OF COURSE PERFECTLY APPROPRIATE
THAT ITALY DEVELOP NATIONAL POSITIONS AS EVENTS IN BRUSSELS
GET UNDERWAY.

— MINISTER ALEMANNO INTENDS TO STIMULATE DISCUSSION LEADING
ULTIMATELY TO A NATIONAL BIOTECHNOLOGY POLICY. AGAIN, THAT
IS OF COURSE PERFECTLY APPROPRIATE.

— THIS PAPER, HOWEVER, IS OF SERIOUS CONCERN TO MANY IN THE
SCIENTIFIC AND BUSINESS COMMUNITIES. THE PAPER DISMISSES
SCIENCE AS A DISRUPTIVE INFLUENCE IN POLICY DELIBERATIONS AND
WOULD BASE ITALIAN BIOTECHNOLOGY POLICY ON PUBLIC OPINION
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 ROME 01726 05 OF 05 080659Z
SURVEYS AND THE BASELESS PRONOUNCEMENT THAT BIOTECHNOLOGY IS
“POLLUTION” FROM WHICH ITALY MUST BE PROTECTED.

— CONTINUING IN THIS VEIN, THE PAPER PLAYS UPON PUBLIC FEARS
BY ASSOCIATING BIOTECHNOLOGY WITH THE FORCES OF GLOBALIZATION
AND EVEN HINTS, WITH NO SCIENTIFIC BASIS WHATSOEVER, THAT
BIOTECHNOLOGY MAY TRIGGER THE NEXT BSE-TYPE EPIDEMIC.

— SOME MONTHS AGO, PRIME MINISTER BERLUSCONI REFORMED THE
COMMISSION FOR BIOTECHNOLOGY AND BIOSECURITY, CHAIRED BY
PROFESSOR LEONARDO SANTI, TO HELP SHAPE THE ITALIAN
GOVERNMENT’S POLICY ON BIOTECHNOLOGY. THE SANTI COMMISSION
INCLUDES REPRESENTATIVES FROM ALL ITALIAN MINISTRIES AS WELL
AS INTERESTED PARTIES FROM INDUSTRY AND CONSUMER GROUPS.

— THE PSEUDO-SCIENCE INCLUDED IN THE AGRICULTURE MINISTRY’S
PAPER MAKES CLEAR THAT THE SANTI COMMISSION WAS NOT CONSULTED
IN ITS DRAFTING. NEITHER, EVIDENTLY, WAS THE BROADER
SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY. RATHER, THE PAPER APPEARS TO BE THE
PRODUCT OF SPECIAL INTERESTS AND A SMALL GROUP OF
ANTI-BIOTECH ZEALOTS PURSUING THEIR OWN AGENDA.

— THIS PAPER NEEDS TO BE CORRECTED BEFORE IT GETS TO
PARLIAMENT AND STARTS TO BUILD MOMENTUM.

— THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS SHOULD ENSURE THAT THE PRIME
MINISTER’S SANTI COMMISSION IS MADE INTEGRAL TO ITALIAN
BIOTECHNOLOGY POLICY DEVELOPMENT.MADE INTEGRAL TO ITALIAN
BIOTECHNOLOGY POLICY DEVELOPMENT.
SEMBLER

CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 ROME 01726 05 OF 05 080659Z

CONFIDENTIAL

>
2002ROME01726 – Classification: CONFIDENTIAL

#5 BIOTECH: SUGGESTION FOR GETTING ITALY’S ATTENTION

BIOTECH: SUGGESTION FOR GETTING ITALY’S ATTENTION
Date:2002 March 19, 17:19 (Tuesday) Canonical ID:02ROME1405_a
Original Classification:UNCLASSIFIED,FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Current Classification:UNCLASSIFIED,FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Handling Restrictions– Not Assigned —
Character Count:10324
Executive Order:– Not Assigned — Locator:TEXT ONLINE
TAGS:EAGR – Economic Affairs–Agriculture and Forestry | ETRD – Economic Affairs–Foreign Trade | IT – Italy | WTO – World Tourism Organization; Warsaw Pact Organization | WTOEAGR Concepts:– Not Assigned —
Enclosure:– Not Assigned — Type:TE – Telegram (cable)
Office Origin:– N/A or Blank —
Office Action:– N/A or Blank — Archive Status:– Not Assigned —
From:Italy Rome Markings:– Not Assigned —
To:– N/A or Blank —
ContentRaw contentMetadataPrintShare
Show Headers

1. (SBU) SUMMARY AND ACTION REQUEST. POST SEES AN
OPPORTUNITY TO MOVE OUR AGRICULTURE BIOTECH AGENDA FORWARD BY
LINKING IT TO THE GOI HIGH-PRIORITY GEOGRAPHIC INDICATOR (GI)
AGENDA AND INVITES DEPARTMENT’S THOUGHTS ON SUCH A LINKAGE.
THE GOI REGULARLY PREACHES THAT MORE THAN 200 PRODUCTS NAMED
AFTER THEIR ITALIAN REGIONS OF ORIGIN (CHIANTI, PARMIGIANA,
ETC.) SHOULD BE PROTECTED BY PRECLUDING COMMERCIAL USE OF
THOSE NAMES ON PRODUCTS ORIGINATING ELSEWHERE. THE GOI
AGGRESSIVELY SEEKS WHATEVER LEVEL OF USG SUPPORT ON GIS IT
CAN GET IN THE CONTEXT OF THE FLEDGLING WTO SECTOR
NEGOTIATIONS. ALTHOUGH THE GOI HAS NEVER LINKED GIS AND
BIOTECH IN DISCUSSION WITH US, WE HAVE NOTICED RECENTLY A
DISTURBING TENDENCY AMONG ITALIAN ANTI-BIOTECH FORCES TO
PRESUME THAT BIOTECH CONTENT WOULD DISQUALIFY AN ITALIAN
PRODUCT FROM ELIGIBILITY FOR “TRADITIONAL PRODUCT” STATUS OR
GI PROTECTION. WE ARE EVEN MORE DISTURBED THAT THE
AGRICULTURE MINISTER AND A LARGE PORTION OF THE PARLIAMENT
SEEM TO ENDORSE THIS NOTION. POST PROPOSES TO DRAW
HIGH-LEVEL GOI ATTENTION TO THE POTENTIAL CONFLICT OF USG AND
GOI INTERESTS, ESSENTIALLY INFORMING THE ITALIANS THAT THE
USG CAN HARDLY HELP THEM CREATE A PROTECTED MARKET ONLY TO
CUT U.S. COMPANIES OUT OF IT. PARA SIX CONTAINS AN ACTION
REQUEST. END SUMMARY AND ACTION REQUEST.

THE PROBLEM: THE ITALIANS ARE GLAD-HANDING US
——————————————— —————–
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 ROME 01405 01 OF 02 191803Z

2. (SBU) FOR SEVERAL MONTHS MISSION HAS BEEN PERPLEXED BY THE
GOI’S CONTINUED RELUCTANCE TO CONVERT PM BERLUSCONI’S
POSITIVE BUT GENERAL COMMENTS ON BIOTECH INTO SUSTAINABLE
POLICY CHANGES IN EITHER ROME OR BRUSSELS. WE CONCLUDE THAT
THE GOI — ALTHOUGH RECOGNIZING BIOTECH’S POTENTIAL TO FOSTER
THIRD WORLD ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND TO STIMULATE THE ITALIAN
ECONOMY — REMAINS UNCONVINCED THAT BIOTECH PROMISES THE KIND
OF IMMEDIATE RETURN THAT WOULD JUSTIFY PAYING THE IMMEDIATE
POLITICAL PRICE OF ANTAGONIZING AN ITALIAN PUBLIC THAT IS
STILL VERY ANTI-BIOTECH. IN BRIEF, EVEN OSTENSIBLY
PRO-BIOTECH ITALIAN OFFICIALS HAVE LARGELY SEEN THIS AS A USG
ISSUE RATHER THAN A VISCERAL GOI CONCERN. ALTHOUGH SOME
INDIVIDUAL GOI OFFICIALS TRULY WOULD LIKE TO CHANGE BIOTECH
POLICY, THE OVERALL GOI APPROACH HAS BEEN TO PLACATE US.

THE OPENING: HELP US TO HELP YOU
——————————————— —

3. (SBU) POST HAS RECENTLY SPOTTED A POTENTIAL OPENING
IRONICALLY BORN OF THE TENDENCY OF ANTI-BIOTECH FORCES HERE
TO TAKE THE PLAYING FIELD FOR GRANTED. SOME MONTHS AGO
BIOTECH OPPONENTS WITHIN PARLIAMENT INTRODUCED LEGISLATION
THAT WOULD DISQUALIFY ANY ITALIAN AGRICULTURAL PRODUCT MADE
EVEN IN PART WITH BIOTECH INPUTS FROM CONSIDERATION FOR
REGISTRATION AS “TRADITIONAL” IN VARIOUS GOI PROGRAMS. NOTE.
ON A NATIONAL LEVEL, SOME 3,000 ITALIAN PRODUCTS CARRY SOME
VARIATION OF THE “TRADITIONAL” DESIGNATION OF WHICH SLIGHTLY
MORE THAN 200 HAVE BEEN PUT FORWARD BY THE GOI FOR
INTERNATIONAL GI PROTECTION. END NOTE. SINCE NO BIOTECH
CROPS CAN BE COMMERCIALLY CULTIVATED IN ITALY ANYWAY, THE
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 ROME 01405 01 OF 02 191803Z
LEGISLATION WAS LITTLE NOTED IN THE PRESS, QUICKLY GATHERED
MORE THAN 200 SPONSORS IN PARLIAMENT, AND BROUGHT MINISTER OF
AGRICULTURE ALEMANNO INTO ITS FOLD. THE BILL MORE RECENTLY
SEEMS TO BE STUCK IN THE BYZANTINE WORLD OF THE ITALIAN
LEGISLATURE BUT NOT BECAUSE OF ANY OPPOSITION OF WHICH WE ARE
AWARE.

4. (SBU) IN AN OSTENSIBLY UNRELATED DEVELOPMENT, MINISTER
ALEMANNO HAS RECENTLY CIRCULATED FOR GOI AND INDUSTRY COMMENT
A DRAFT DOCUMENT ENTITLED “TRANSGENIC ORGANISMS AND
AGRICULTURE: TIME FOR CHOICES.” THE 37-PAGE DRAFT DOES NOT
RENEW THE CALL TO PRECLUDE BIOTECH CONTENT FROM TRADITIONAL
ITALIAN PRODUCTS; IT SIMPLY STATES VARIOUS VERSIONS OF A
PUTATIVE AXIOM HOLDING THAT “GENETIC POLLUTION” SHOULD NOT BE
ALLOWED TO UNDERMINE THE “IMAGE IN THE WORLD HELD BY ITALIAN
AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS.” ALEMANNO, LONG AN ADVOCATE OF THE
MAINTENANCE OF A “GMO-FREE OPTION” FOR ITALIAN CONSUMERS,
CLEARLY PRESENTS IN THIS DOCUMENT A VISION OF ITALIAN
AGRICULTURE IN WHICH “TRADITIONAL” PRODUCTION FOREVER MEANS
GMO-FREE.

5. (SBU) ALEMANNO’S BIOTECH DRAFT DOES NOT MENTION ITALY’S
PURSUIT OF GI PROTECTIONS IN THE FLEDGLING WTO TALKS. THE
MINISTRY OFFICIALS WHO WORK ON BIOTECH ARE NOT THE SAME

UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED PTQ6107

PAGE 01 ROME 01405 02 OF 02 191803Z
ACTION EUR-00

INFO LOG-00 AID-00 AIT-03 CEA-01 CIAE-00 CTME-00 DODE-00
ITCE-00 SRPP-00 EB-00 EXME-00 E-00 UTED-00 VC-00
FRB-00 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 ITC-01 L-00 VCE-00
AC-01 NSAE-00 NSCE-00 OES-01 OMB-01 OPIC-01 PC-01
PM-00 ACE-00 SP-00 SSO-00 SS-00 STR-00 TEST-00
TRSE-00 USIE-00 FMP-00 PMB-00 DRL-02 G-00 SAS-00
/013W
——————7788C4 191803Z /38
P 191719Z MAR 02
FM AMEMBASSY ROME
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2837
INFO WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION COLLECTIVE
AMCONSUL FLORENCE
AMCONSUL MILAN
AMCONSUL NAPLES
USDA FAS WASHDC 2059
USDA WASHDC
USDOC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 02 OF 02 ROME 001405

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

EB/TPP/ATT FOR PEREZ, EUR/ERA. E FOR SHUB
STATE PASS USTR FOR NOVELLI
USDA FOR FAS/OA/TERPSTRA AND SLUTSKY
USDA FOR ITP/SHEIKH AND MACKE
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 ROME 01405 02 OF 02 191803Z

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR, ETRD, IT, WTO
SUBJECT: BIOTECH: SUGGESTION FOR GETTING ITALY’S ATTENTION

PEOPLE WHO WORK ON GI PROTECTION. DURING A MARCH 13 LUNCH,
ANGELA MILANO, A SENIOR MOA AGRICULTURE NEGOTIATOR WHO WILL
PARTICIPATE IN THE WTO AGRICULTURE TALKS IN GENEVA, REFERRED
ECONOFF TO THE OFFICE OF UNDERSECRETARY AMBROSIO TO DISCUSS
USG BIOTECH CONCERNS. ECONOFF REPLIED THAT THE EMBASSY HAS
NO PROBLEM GAINING ACCESS TO GOI OFFICIALS WORKING ON BIOTECH
BUT WONDERS WHETHER THOSE OFFICIALS REALIZE THEY MAY BE
WORKING AT CROSS-PURPOSES WITH OFFICIALS WORKING ON THE WTO
TALKS. ECONOFF EXPLAINED THAT USG SUPPORT FOR GI PROTECTION
— ALREADY SOMEWHAT PROBLEMATIC WITH REGARD TO SOME PRODUCTS
WITH NAMES THAT ARE WELL-KNOWN IN THE U.S. MARKET AND WHICH
COINCIDENTLY DERIVE FROM FOREIGN PLACE NAMES — COULD BE HARD
TO COME BY IF THE PRODUCTS TO BE PROTECTED WERE REQUIRED TO
BE BIOTECH FREE. ALLOWING THAT FEW PRODUCTS IN ITALY
CARRYING “TRADITIONAL” LABELS NOW CONTAIN BIOTECH INPUTS,
ECONOFF SAID THAT COULD WELL CHANGE IF AND WHEN ITALY OPENS
ITS MARKET TO BIOTECH PRODUCTS; BIOTECH MAY EVEN HELP SAVE
SOME TRADITIONAL PRODUCTS. NOTE. PRO-BIOTECH ELEMENTS HERE
OFTEN CITE, FOR EXAMPLE, THE POTENTIAL OF BIOTECHNOLOGY TO
SALVAGE THE VIRUS-BESIEGED SAN MARZANO TOMATO, A PRODUCT THAT
IS BOTH DESIGNATED AS TRADITIONAL ON THE NATIONAL LEVEL AND
PUT FORTH FOR GI PROTECTION INTERNATIONALLY. END NOTE.

6. (SBU) MILANO HAD NEVER CONSIDERED THE POTENTIAL LINK
BETWEEN HER GI WORK AND BIOTECH. NEITHER, WE CAN SAFELY SAY,
HAS MINISTER ALEMANNO. POST SUGGESTS BRINGING THE LINKAGE TO
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 ROME 01405 02 OF 02 191803Z
THE ATTENTION OF SELECTED SENIOR GOI OFFICIALS TO INCLUDE
ALEMANNO, DEPUTY MINISTER FOR FOREIGN TRADE URSO, SENIOR
STAFF TO PM BERLUSCONI, AND SENIOR STAFF AT ITALY’S WTO
OFFICE IN GENEVA. TO AVOID LIMITING USG OPTIONS DURING THE
WTO TALKS, WE PROPOSE TO SIMPLY RAISE THE POTENTIAL CONFLICT
RATHER THAN TO THREATEN A WITHHOLDING OF USG SUPPORT FOR
ITALY’S GI AGENDA. SUGGESTED TALKING POINTS TO BE LEFT WITH
THE GOI AS A NONPAPER FOLLOW IN PARA EIGHT. ACTION REQUEST.
GIVEN THE COMPLEXITY OF THE WTO TALKS, MISSION REQUESTS
DEPARTMENT’S ENDORSEMENT OF THIS PROPOSAL. END ACTION
REQUEST.

7. (SBU) IN ADDITION TO RAISING THE BIOTECH-GI LINK WITH
MOA’S MILANO, WE HAVE FLOATED THE IDEA WITH ASSOBIOTEC,
ITALY’S PRIMARY PRO-BIOTECH LOBBYIST. THE GROUP
ENTHUSIASTICALLY ENDORSES THE IDEA OF PRESENTING THE CONCERN
TO THE GOI AS A POTENTIALLY POWERFUL MEANS OF GAINING ITS
ATTENTION.

8. SUGGESTED TALKING POINTS

— THE USG WOULD LIKE TO SUGGEST THAT ONE OF THE USG HIGHEST
TRADE CONCERNS HAS A POTENTIAL DIRECT CONNECTION TO ONE OF
ITALY’S PRIORITY TRADE CONCERNS.

— I AM SPEAKING OF OUR INTEREST IN BIOTECHNOLOGY AND YOURS
IN PROTECTION FOR GEOGRAPHIC INDICATORS.

— ALTHOUGH FEW ITALIAN PRODUCTS DEEMED “TRADITIONAL” OR PUT
FORWARD BY ITALY FOR INTERNATIONAL GI PROTECTION HAVE ANY
BIOTECH CONTENT, THAT NEED NOT ALWAYS BE THE CASE.
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 ROME 01405 02 OF 02 191803Z

— AS EUROPE GENERALLY AND ITALY IN PARTICULAR BEGIN TO OPEN
THEIR MARKETS TO BIOTECH PRODUCTS, ITS EASY TO SEE THAT THOSE
PRODUCTS WILL BE PUT TO A WIDE VARIETY OF USES.

— ITALIAN SCIENTISTS ALREADY SUGGEST THAT BIOTECH PRODUCTS
MAY NOT JUST BE INCORPORATED INTO TRADITIONAL ITALIAN
PRODUCTS BUT MAY EVEN SAVE SOME PRODUCTS, SUCH AS THE SAN
MARZANO TOMATO, FROM EXTINCTION. SOME OF THAT BIOTECHNOLOGY
WILL COME FROM ITALY’S OWN SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY AND SOME WILL
BE IMPORTED.

— WE HAVE NOTED WITH CONCERN THAT FUZZY-THINKING  ANTI-BIOTECH ELEMENTS IN ITALY ARE LOOKING TO PERMANENTLY  PRECLUDE BIOTECH CONTENT IN TRADITIONAL ITALIAN PRODUCTS.

— AMONG OTHER REPERCUSSIONS, SUCH A DEVELOPMENT MAY WELL
LIMIT THE EXTENT TO WHICH THE USG COULD SUPPORT ITALY’S
DESIRE TO AFFORD WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION PROTECTION FOR
PRODUCTS BEARING GEOGRAPHIC INDICATORS.

— AFTER ALL, WE CAN HARDLY HELP ITALY CREATE A PROTECTED  MARKET NICHE ONLY TO IMMEDIATELY CUT U.S. COMPANIES OUT OF IT.  SEMBLER

UNCLASSIFIED

>
2002ROME01405 – Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

#6 REACTION TO DECEMBER 28 DECREE TO SURVEY GMO-FREE SUPPLIES OF SOY AND CORN SEED FOR PLANTING; PM OFFICE MADE AWARE OF U.S. UNCLASSIFIED

REACTION TO DECEMBER 28 DECREE TO SURVEY GMO-FREE SUPPLIES OF SOY AND CORN SEED FOR PLANTING; PM OFFICE MADE AWARE OF U.S. UNCLASSIFIED
Date:2002 January 10, 08:05 (Thursday) Canonical ID:02ROME134_a
Original Classification:UNCLASSIFIED Current Classification:UNCLASSIFIED
Handling Restrictions– Not Assigned —
Character Count:8227
Executive Order:– Not Assigned — Locator:TEXT ONLINE
TAGS:EAGR – Economic Affairs–Agriculture and Forestry | ETRD – Economic Affairs–Foreign Trade | EU – Europa Island | ICSCA | IT – Italy | ITEAGR Concepts:– Not Assigned —
Enclosure:– Not Assigned — Type:TE – Telegram (cable)
Office Origin:– N/A or Blank —
Office Action:– N/A or Blank — Archive Status:– Not Assigned —
From:Italy Rome Markings:– Not Assigned —
To:– N/A or Blank —
ContentRaw contentMetadataPrintShare
Show Headers
SURVEY GMO-FREE SUPPLIES OF SOY AND CORN SEED
FOR PLANTING; PM OFFICE MADE AWARE OF U.S.
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 ROME 00134 01 OF 02 100812Z
CONCERNS.

SENSITIVE

REFS. ROME 42 AND ROME 68

1. SUMMARY. CONFAGRICOLTURA, ONE OF ITALY’S
LEADING FARMER ORGANIZATIONS, TOLD AG
MINCOUNSELOR THAT IT HAS A COMMITMENT FROM
AGMINISTER ALEMANNO TO INTRODUCE A TOLERANCE
OF 0.3-0.5 PERCENT FOR ADVENTITIOUS PRESENCE
IN CORN AND SOYBEAN SEEDS FOR PLANTING SHOULD
THE ITALIAN SEED CERTIFICATION ASSOCIATION
(ENSE) CONCLUDE THERE ARE INADEQUATE SUPPLIES
OF GM-FREE CONVENTIONAL CORN AND SOYBEAN
SEEDS AVAILABLE TO MEET ITALIAN NEEDS.
CONFAGRICOLTURA CAUTIONED THAT RIVAL FARM
ORGANIZATION, COLDIRETTI, IS STRONGLY AGAINST
ANY TOLERANCE LEVEL FOR ADVENTITIOUS PRESENCE
AND WAS SEEKING TO CONVINCE ALEMANNO THAT
ADEQUATE SUPPLIES OF GMO-FREE CONVENTIONAL
SEEDS EXIST. CONFAGRICOLTURA BELIEVES THE
PROSPECTS FOR ALEMANNO IMPLEMENTING A
TOLERANCE OF 0.3-0.5 PERCENT ARE PRETTY GOOD,
PROVIDED THAT THE MAJOR SEED SUPPLING
COMPANIES (I.E. PIONEER, MONSANTO, AND
SYNGENTA) REMAIN UNIFIED AND REAFFIRM THAT
THEY CANNOT GUARANTEE ZERO ADVENTITIOUS
PRESENCE IN THEIR CONVENTIONAL SEEDS.
CONFAGRICOLTURA ALSO PUBLISHED A PRESS
RELEASE TODAY STATING ITS OPPOSITION TO ANY
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 ROME 00134 01 OF 02 100812Z
LOWERING SEED QUALITY STANDARDS. IN A
SEPARATE MEETING, CDA POPE SHARED U.S.
CONCERNS WITH PM DIPLOMATIC ADVISOR
CASTELLENETTA. END SUMMARY.

MEETING WITH CONFAGRICOLTURA

2. AGMIN COUNSELOR, AG ATTACHE MURPHY, AND
SENIOR AGRICULTURAL SPECIALIST MET JAN.9 WITH
THE PRESIDENT AND SENIOR LEADERS OF
CONFAGRICOLTURA, ONE OF THE THREE MAJOR
ITALIAN FARMERS ORGANIZATIONS. AGMIN
COUNSELOR LEARNED THAT ITALIAN MINISTER OF
AGRICULTURE GIANNI ALEMANNO CONSULTED WITH
ALL THREE ORGANIZATIONS, COFAGRICOLTURA,
COLDIRETTI, AND CONFEDERAZIONE ITALIANA
AGRICOLTORI, BEFORE ISSUING THE DECEMBER 28,
2001 DECREE (SEE REFTELS). ACCORDING TO
CONFAGRICOLTURA, ALEMANNO WAS PREPARED AT
THAT TIME TO IMPLEMENT A TOLERANCE FOR
ADVENTITIOUS PRESENCE OF 0.3-0.5 PERCENT FOR
CORN AND SOYBEAN SEEDS. HOWEVER, COLDIRETTI,
THE LARGEST OF ITALY’S THREE FARMER
ORGANIZATIONS, EXPRESSED VEHEMENT OPPOSITION,
FORCING ALEMANNO TO TAKE A MORE CIRCUITOUS
TACK IN ORDER TO GARNER SUFFICIENT POLITICAL
COVER. ALEMANNO THUS AGREED WITH THE THREE
FARM LEADERS FOR THE MINAG’S SEED AGENCY,
ENSE, TO DETERMINE WHETHER THERE ARE
SUFFICIENT SUPPLIES OF CONVENTIONAL SEEDS
AVAILABLE WITH ZERO ADVENTITIOUS PRESENCE.
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 ROME 00134 01 OF 02 100812Z

3. THE DEC. 28 DECREE SURPRISED
CONFAGRICOLTURA IN THAT THEIR DISCUSSION WITH
ALEMANNO DID NOT INCLUDE THE POSSIBILITY OF
LOWER STANDARDS FOR GERMINATION RATES. THE
PUBLISHED VERSION ADDS THE CLAUSE RELAXING
STANDARDS, A LIKELY CONCESSION TO COLDIRETTI
AND OTHERS, BUT CONFAGRICOLTURA DISCOUNTS
THIS AS A LIKELY SCENARIO.

4. CONFAGRICOLTURA WAS RELATIVELY CONFIDENT
THAT ALEMANNO WOULD IMPLEMENT A TOLERANCE FOR
ADVENTITIOUS PRESENCE WITH ONE CAVEAT– THE
MAJOR SEED SUPPLIERS MUST REMAIN UNITED AND
REAFFIRM THEY CANNOT GUARANTEE ZERO PRESENCE
FOR GMOS IN THEIR CONVENTIONAL SEEDS. SHOULD
ENSE CONCLUDE THAT SUFFICIENT SUPPLIES OF
GMO-FREE CONVENTIONAL SEED EXIST, COLDIRETTI
IS LIKELY TO WIN THE DAY. CONFAGRICOLTURA
SOUGHT ASSURANCES THAT PIONEER AND THE OTHER
SUPPLIERS WOULD MAKE CLEAR THEIR INABILITY TO
GUARANTEE ZERO ADVENTITIOUS PRESENCE. (FYI,
EMBASSY HAS SHARED CONFAGRICOLTURA’S CONCERNS
AND RECOMMENDATION WITH PIONEER AND OTHER
SUPPLIERS.) CONFAGRICOLTURA ACKNOWLEDGED THAT

UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED PTQ0677

PAGE 01 ROME 00134 02 OF 02 100812Z
ACTION EUR-00

INFO LOG-00 AID-00 CEA-01 CIAE-00 COME-00 CTME-00 DODE-00
ITCE-00 SRPP-00 EB-00 EXME-00 E-00 UTED-00 VC-00
FRB-00 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 ITC-01 L-00 AC-01
NSAE-00 NSCE-00 OES-01 OMB-01 OPIC-01 PC-01 PM-00
ACE-00 SP-00 SSO-00 SS-00 STR-00 TEST-00 TRSE-00
USIE-00 SNIS-00 NISC-00 PMB-00 DRL-02 G-00 SAS-00
/010W
——————55AE42 100812Z /38
R 100805Z JAN 02
FM AMEMBASSY ROME
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 1583
USDA FAS WASHDC 1960
INFO EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 02 OF 02 ROME 000134

SIPDIS

STATE PASS USDA FOR HEGWOOD
USDA FOR FAS/OA/CHAMBLISS AND SLUTSKY;
COTS/BLUM;ITP/SHEIKH AND MACKE;
FAA/NE/WILSON;
DOS/EB/TPP/ATT; EUR/ERA; E-ASHUB; EB-GADSDEN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR, ETRD, ICSCA, EU, IT
SUBJECT: REACTION TO DECEMBER 28 DECREE TO
SURVEY GMO-FREE SUPPLIES OF SOY AND CORN SEED
FOR PLANTING; PM OFFICE MADE AWARE OF U.S.
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 ROME 00134 02 OF 02 100812Z
CONCERNS.

SMALL PRODUCERS COULD COME UP WITH SMALL
SUPPLIES OF NON-GMO SEEDS, BUT THAT NONE OF
THE MAJOR SEED COMPANIES CAN DO SO IN
QUANTITIES WHICH ARE SUFFICIENT FOR PLANTING
ITALY’S CUSTOMARY 1.3 MILLION HECTARES OF
CORN.

5. CONFAGRICOLTURA ALSO INDICATED THAT IF
ALEMANNO IMPLEMENTS A TOLERANCE OF
ADVENTITIOUS PRESENCE IT WOULD LIKELY ENTAIL
A 0.3 PERCENT TOLERANCE FOR CORN SEED AND A
0.5 PERCENT TOLERANCE FOR SOYBEAN SEED.
CONFAGRICOLTURA UNDERSTANDS THAT THERE WOULD
BE NO MENTION OF SPECIFIC EVENTS (APPROVED
VS. UNAPPROVED). CORN SEED SUPPLIES ARE OF
PARTICULAR CONCERN TO CONFAGRICOLTURA.
SOYBEAN SEEDS ARE OF LESSER CONCERN GIVEN
SOYBEAN PLANTINGS IN ITALY NEXT SEASON ARE
EXPECTED TO DECLINE TO LESS THAN 200,000
HECTARES BECAUSE OF LOWER PRICES.

CDA MEETING WITH PM DIPLOMATIC ADVISOR
CASTELLENETTA

6. THE CHARGE, IN A CALL ON PM DIPLOMATIC
ADVISOR CASTELLENETTA, RAISED THE TALKING
POINTS IN REFTEL (ROME 68). HE STRESSED AS
WELL THAT WE ARE APPRECIATIVE OF THE INITIAL
STEPS TAKEN BY THE PM’S OFFICE TO REOPEN
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 ROME 00134 02 OF 02 100812Z
DISCUSSION ON AGRICULTURAL BIOTECHNOLOGIES
AND THE PM’S DIRECTION THAT PROFESSOR
LEONARDO SANTI SHOULD EXPLORE WITH US AN
AGREEMENT ON BIOTECH COOPERATION SIMILAR TO
THE ONE WE CONCLUDED LAST SUMMER ON CLIMATE
CHANGE RESEARCH. THE CHARGE ALSO MENTIONED
THAT WE HAD RECEIVED THE ENVIRONMENT
MINISTRY’S REQUEST TO CONSIDER AN INFORMAL
BILATERAL DISCUSSION OF GMOS IN NEW YORK AT
THE END OF JANUARY.

7. CASTELLANETA, WHO WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN
ACHIEVING THE CLIMATE CHANGE RESEARCH
ACCORD, KNEW ABOUT AND WAS POSITIVE TOWARD
PROF. SANTI’S APPROACH TO THE EMBASSY. HE
DID NOT SEEM TO BE AWARE OF THE ENVIRONMENT
MINISTRY’S PROPOSAL BUT LIKED IT.

8. CHARGE CONTINUED THAT, DESPITE THESE
POSITIVE SIGNS, THE USG IS PUZZLED AT AND
CONCERNED ABOUT AG MINISTER ALEMANNO’S
DECEMBER 28 DIRECTIVE. HANDING CASTELLANETA
A COPY, THE CHARGE NOTED THAT OUR READING OF
THE DECREE INDICATES THAT IT WOULD ERECT NEW
BARRIERS TO GMOS. THIS WOULD NOT BE IN
KEEPING WITH DISCUSSIONS BETWEEN PRESIDENT
BUSH AND PM BERLUSCONI AND OTHER EXCHANGES WE
HAVE HAD WITH MUCH OF THE GOI. CASTELLANETA
SUGGESTED THAT PERHAPS ALEMANNO WAS TRYING TO
DEMONSTRATE THAT IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO GET
DOWN TO ZERO PERCENT GMO CONTENT IN SEEDS.
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 ROME 00134 02 OF 02 100812Z
CHARGE REPLIED THAT HE HOPED THAT WAS THE
INTENT, BUT THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE DECREE’S
APPEARANCE AND OUR READING OF IT CONCERN US.
CASTELLANETA ADMITTED THAT HE WAS NOT SURE
BUT PROMISED TO LOOK INTO IT. (NOTE: LATER,
A CASTELLANETA AIDE CALLED CHARGE TO SAY THAT
HE ALREADY HAD BEEN IN TOUCH WITH ALEMANNO’S
OFFICE TO GET DETAILS. END NOTE.)
POPE

UNCLASSIFIED

>
2002ROME00134 – Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

#8 PRESSING ITALIAN POLICYMAKERS ON EU BIOTECH ISSUES

PRESSING ITALIAN POLICYMAKERS ON EU BIOTECH ISSUES

Date:2002 October 11, 16:26 (Friday) Canonical ID:02ROME4989_a
Original Classification:CONFIDENTIAL Current Classification:CONFIDENTIAL
Handling Restrictions– Not Assigned —
Character Count:8127
Executive Order:– Not Assigned — Locator:TEXT ONLINE
TAGS:EAGR – Economic Affairs–Agriculture and Forestry | ETRD – Economic Affairs–Foreign Trade | EUN – European Communities | IT – Italy | ITETRD | TBIO – Technology and Science–Biological and Medical Science Concepts:– Not Assigned —
Enclosure:– Not Assigned — Type:TE – Telegram (cable)
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Office Action:– N/A or Blank — Archive Status:– Not Assigned —
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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.

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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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