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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07ROME337 2007-02-20 08:30:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Rome
Cable title:  

ITALIAN UNION ENDORSES IPR PROTECTION

Tags:   ECON ETRD IT KIPR LAB PGOV 
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					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ROME 000337 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE PASS USTR FOR JAMES SANFORD, JENNIFER CHOE GROVES,
PAUL BUCKHEAD, STAN MCCOY
STATE FOR EB A/S SULLIVAN, EB/TPP/IPE JOELLEN URBAN, CANDY
GREEN, JENNIFER BOGER
DOC PASS FOR USPTO
DOJ FOR DAAG LAURA PARSKY
DHS PASS ICE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ETRD IT KIPR LAB PGOV
SUBJECT: ITALIAN UNION ENDORSES IPR PROTECTION

REF: A. 06 ROME 3334

B. 06 ROME 2428

C. 06 ROME 1858

D. 05 ROME 4046

E. 05 ROME 1569

-------
SUMMARY
-------



1. (SBU) CGIL (Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro),
Italy's largest and furthest-left-leaning union
confederation, hosted a roundtable conference on combating
counterfeiting and protecting Intellectual Property Rights
(IPR) January 23 in Naples. Perhaps the first large public
pro-IPR union event, the conference featured a broad spectrum
of panelists discussing IPR in Italy. The CGIL program's
organizer stated that her attendance at Mission Italy's IPR
conference in November 2006 had directly influenced this
roundtable. Most notably, in his closing remarks, the
Secretary General of CGIL explicitly called for effective law

SIPDIS
enforcement to deter to IPR violations in Italy. END SUMMARY.



--------------------------


NEW UNION AWARENESS


--------------------------





2. (U) With over 5.5 million members in fields as diverse as
textiles and aviation, CGIL has traditionally been an
influential voice on the left of the Italian political
continuum. Further, until recently, Italian unions had
considered IPR protection as necessary just to protect
corporate profits. However, Chinese competition for
manufacturing jobs, and a rising awareness of IPR as the
basis for continued economic growth (and therefore jobs) in
western knowledge-based societies, has heightened union
sensitivity. By sponsoring this event, the union signals
that a large and important sector of Italian society has a
new and keen interest in IPR.



--------------------------


INFLUENTIAL PANELISTS


--------------------------





3. (U) High-level speakers included Minister of Labor Cesare
Damiano; Confindustria Vice President (Italian large-industry
association) Alberto Bombassei; Naples (governmental) Region
President Antonio Bassolino; Vice President of the National
Association of Chinese Textile Companies Xu Kunyan; President
of Italian Fashion Industry Association SMI-ATI Paolo Zegna;
and Secretary General of CGIL Gugliemo Epifani. This
cross-section of senior officials from national and foreign
organizations indicates CGIL's recognition of IPR's impact on
many sectors in the Italian economy.



--------------------------


MISSION OUTREACH TO UNIONS ON IPR


--------------------------





4. (SBU) Valeria Fedeli, the organizer of the IPR
roundtable, is Secretary General of FILTEA (CGIL's fashion
and textile manufacturing arm). Corriere della Sera cited
Fedeli last month as one of Italy's most influential women;
she is known for looking beyond traditional union positions
to craft successful compromises with employers. ECMIN met
with her in December 2006 to discuss possible areas of
cooperation on IPR between CGIL and USG. At the meeting she
agreed with ECMIN that highly-developed, knowledge-based
economies, such as those in western Europe and the United
States, can no longer depend on industrial production for
economic growth and new jobs. She also said that attending
Mission Italy's "Building a Culture of IPR Legality" in
November 2006 influenced her as she developed CGIL's IPR
event.



5. (U) In her presentation at the conference, Fedeli

ROME 00000337 002 OF 002


comprehensively reviewed the challenge piracy and
counterfeiting pose to Italy, emphasizing their social and
economic costs. She calculated damage to the Italian economy
at 4-7 billion Euros per year, and a loss of as many as
40,000 legal jobs over the past ten years. In her
estimation, tax evasion by pirates/counterfeiters in Italy
amounts to eight percent of total tax revenues. Further, she
noted that businesses and consumers suffer, as pirated
products damage brand image; entrepreneurs reduce investment
in innovation, research, and new product development in
Italy; and low quality and potentially hazardous fakes
threaten consumer safety.



6. (U) Fedeli also said in her remarks that the Italian
government and Italian citizens do not understand IPR and its
economic and social implications. For this reason, she
called for a widespread public sensitization campaign,
greater transparency by legal retailers who may sell fakes
alongside legitimate products, and revitalized enforcement to
prosecute and sentence IPR offenders. (COMMENT: Many of
her prescriptions echo those post has made in our public
outreach. END COMMENT).



--------------------------


SENIOR UNION SUPPORT FOR IPR


--------------------------





7. (U) The other speakers elaborated on her comments.
However,CGIL Secretary General Epifani provided the day's
most intriguing remark: while one can sympathize with the
plight of poor immigrants selling counterfeit goods on
streets, one cannot tolerate the illegality of counterfeiting
in any of its manifestations, and one must counteract them
effectively. (COMMENT: Epifani's support for vigorous
enforcement of IPR laws is unprecedented for a senior union
leader and an avowed leftist. END COMMENT).



--------------------------


COMMENT


--------------------------





8. (U) Fedeli's participation and vocal support for
effective action against piracy at our IPR conference in
November was a first step to developing a successful
anti-piracy collaboration with unions. However, the CGIL
roundtable confirmed that unions as a whole are coming to
realize IPR violations menace the legal labor market and that
unions realize they must join the efforts to combat piracy
and counterfeiting. Epifani's coup de theatre (see para 7
above) is an important turning point in building society-wide
consensus to support effective IPR protection in Italy.
Embassy will continue to engage CGIL and other unions to
build on the momentum this large union roundtable gives to
our efforts. END COMMENT.
SPOGLI