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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
03ROME398 2003-01-31 18:08:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Rome
Cable title:  

WTO BIOTECH PUBLIC DIPLOMACY IN ITALY

Tags:   EAGR ETRD IT KPAO TBIO EUN 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L ROME 000398 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EB/EPPD/PD
PASS USTR FOR PADILLA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/31/2013
TAGS: EAGR ETRD IT KPAO TBIO EUN
SUBJECT: WTO BIOTECH PUBLIC DIPLOMACY IN ITALY

REF: SECSTATE 21881

CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 ROME 00398 311845Z

CLASSIFIED BY: EMIL SKODON, DEPUTY CHIEF OF MISSION, FOR REASONS
1.5 (D) AND (E).



1. (U) PA ITALY HAS FOCUSED CONSIDERABLE RESOURCES ON
BIOTECH ISSUES OVER THE PAST YEAR, SPONSORING SPEAKER
PROGRAMS, DVCS, ROUNDTABLES, SEMINARS, INTERNATIONAL AND
VOLUNTARY VISITOR PROJECTS, PRESS INTERVIEWS, OP-ED PIECES,
AND OTHER PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ACTIVITIES DESIGNED TO PROMOTE
U.S. BIOTECH INTERESTS IN ITALY. THIS IS ONE OF OUR HIGHEST
PRIORITIES, AND WE HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN TRANSMITTING OUR
MESSAGE TO ITALIAN POLICY MAKERS AND OPINION LEADERS.



2. (C) WE BELIEVE, HOWEVER, THAT GIVEN THE CURRENT CRISIS IN
IRAQ, IT WILL BE UNTIMELY TO MOUNT A HIGH PROFILE PUBLIC
DIPLOMACY CAMPAIGN IN ITALY TO PROMOTE A WTO CASE AGAINST THE
EUROPEAN UNION OVER ITS MORATORIUM ON APPROVALS OF BIOTECH
FOOD PRODUCTS. THE BULK OF OUR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY EFFORT IN
THE WEEKS AND MONTHS TO COME MUST FOCUS ON PROMOTING U.S.
POLICY IN IRAQ AND GAINING ITALIAN PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR IT. WE
ARE CONCERNED THAT IF WE ARE ENGAGED IN THIS EFFORT AT THE
SAME TIME THAT WE ARE PUBLICLY PROMOTING LEGAL ACTION AGAINST
THE EUROPEAN UNION OVER BIOTECH FOOD PRODUCTS (A VERY
SENSITIVE ISSUE IN ITALY), WE COULD JEOPARDIZE OUR ABILITY TO
INCREASE ITALIAN PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR OUR ACTIONS IN IRAQ.
WHILE U.S. IRAQ POLICY AND U.S. BIOTECH FOOD POLICY ARE NOT
LOGICALLY RELATED, OUR EXPERIENCE IS THAT THE ITALIAN PRESS
AND PUBLIC WILL MAKE A CONNECTION THAT COULD BE TO THE
DETRIMENT OF OUR EFFORTS AT THIS CRITICAL TIME. WE SHOULD
SEEK TO SLAY ONLY ONE DRAGON AT A TIME.

CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 ROME 00398 311845Z


3. (C) WE SHOULD THEREFORE PROCEED INCREMENTALLY IN OUR
PUBLIC DIPLOMACY CAMPAIGN TO SUPPORT THE USG CASE IN THE WTO
AGAINST THE EUROPEAN UNION OVER THE MORATORIUM; WE SHOULD
TARGET SPECIFIC POLICY MAKERS AND OPINION LEADERS FIRST,
RATHER THAN THE GENERAL PUBLIC. THE MOST EFFECTIVE PUBLIC
DIPLOMACY CAMPAIGN FOR SUCH A TARGETED AUDIENCE WOULD FOCUS
AS CLOSELY AS POSSIBLE ON THE LEGAL BASIS OF THE USG CASE,
I.E., ON THE ILLEGAL NATURE OF THE MORATORIUM. THUS THE
FIRST TWO OF THE SEVEN BROAD MESSAGES OUTLINED IN REFTEL
WOULD BE THE MOST USEFUL IN ITALY IN THE NEAR TERM: THAT THE
MORATORIUM ON APPROVALS OF BIOTECH FOOD PRODUCTS VIOLATES
COMMITMENTS MADE BY THE EU IN THE WTO; AND THAT THE U.S. IS
SIMPLY SEEKING SCIENTIFIC, RULES-BASED REVIEW OF
APPLICATIONS, NOT FORCING ACCEPTANCE OF BIOTECH FOODS ON
EUROPEAN CONSUMERS. WE KNOW ITALIAN POLICY MAKERS AND
OPINION LEADERS ("VALIDATORS") WHO WOULD SUPPORT US IN THESE
ARGUMENTS.



4. (C) THE REMAINING FIVE BROAD MESSAGES (PARAGRAPH 3C-G IN
REFTEL), FOCUSING ON WHAT SOME ITALIAN OPINION LEADERS REGARD
AS SUBSIDIARY ISSUES, WOULD BE MUCH LESS EFFECTIVE WITH THAT
AUDIENCE. WE WOULD HAVE DIFFICULTY IDENTIFYING INFLUENTIAL
ITALIAN "VALIDATORS" TO SUPPORT THEM AND WE ARE THEREFORE
INCLINED TO USE THEM SPARINGLY IN OUR TARGETED PUBLIC
DIPLOMACY CAMPAIGN. WHEN THE HEAT IS OFF THE IRAQ CRISIS AND
WE CAN USEFULLY RESUME A BROADER-BASED PUBLIC DIPLOMACY
CAMPAIGN, ISSUE C (FAMINE IN AFRICA) HAS PARTICULAR RESONANCE
WITH ITALIAN POLITICAL LEADERS AND THE PUBLIC. PM BERLUSCONI
HAS EXPRESSED PERSONAL INTEREST IN THIS THEME TO OUR
AMBASSADORS TO ITALY, THE VATICAN, AND THE FAO.

CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 ROME 00398 311845Z


5. (U) WE ARE CURRENTLY IDENTIFYING ITALIAN PARLIAMENTARIANS
FOR A BIOTECH VOLUNTARY VISITOR PROGRAM AND WOULD WELCOME
FUNDING FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF APPROXIMATELY $25,000 TO ALLOW
TEN PARLIAMENTARIANS TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS PROGRAM. WE WILL
ALSO ORGANIZE WITHIN TWO MONTHS U.S. SPEAKER PROGRAMS IN
MILAN, NAPLES, AND ROME IN SUPPORT OF U.S. BIOTECH POLICY.
WE WOULD EAGERLY ACCEPT DVCS WITH HIGH-LEVEL USG OFFICIALS
(SUCH AS USTR ZOELLICK AND U/S LARSON) AS SOON AS A DECISION
IS MADE TO PROCEED WITH THE WTO CASE.
SEMBLER

CONFIDENTIAL

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2003ROME00398 - Classification: CONFIDENTIAL