Cablegate: Italian Request to Update Nickel Export Agreement

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. Action Request -- See Paragraph 5.

2. The GOI recently contacted embassy regarding their
interest in updating a 1982 agreement on issuance of
certificates of origin for the export of nickel-bearing
material to the U.S. The agreement was intended to ensure
that such exports did not contain nickel of Cuban origin.
Under the agreement the Ministry of Productive Activities
(MPA) is required to provide such certification, but given
the closure of many provincial-level MPA offices (which had
been issuing the certificates), the GOI now believes that
local Chambers of Commerce should have that authority.

3. On November 24, 2004, the GOI forwarded the following
diplomatic note 081/P/0512605:

(Informal Embassy translation)
(Complimentary Opening)

. . . and refers to the Agreement by exchange of notes on
the certification procedures for the export of nickel-
bearing material from Italy to the United States, done at
Washington on January 6, 1982 (modified by exchange of
letters of August 8, 1983), and in particular part H of the
accord regarding consultation by both Parties.

As illustrated verbally to the Embassy in the course of the
November 19, 2004 meeting at the Foreign Ministry, some
intervening changes in Italian legislation (closure of the
provincial offices of the Ministry of Industry -- now
called the Ministry of Productive Activities -- and the
transfer of their authority in matters of certification to
the Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Agriculture, and
Artisanship -- CCIAA) necessitates an update of the
reference Agreement, substituting, as necessary, the CCIAA
as territorially competent for the Ministry of Industry.
Regarding this proposal, the Ministry notes that, under the
terms of Article 1, comma 2, of Italian Legislative Decree
165 dated March 30, 2001, the Italian CCIAA offices
obtained the status of "public administration."

The Ministry therefore proposes to the Embassy to convey
the following amendments to the text of the Agreement:

(note -- following text in English in original)


"The Government of Italy will issue, through the relevant
territorial Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Agriculture and
Handicraft (the organism designated for this purpose by the
Italian Government), hereinafter referred to as CCIAH,
certificates of origin"


(1) Italian producers of nickel-bearing materials who wish
to obtain certificates of origin in accordance with the
procedures listed herein in order to export their products
to the United States are required to register with the
relevant territorial CCIAH, which will have authority to
issue such certificates. Registration will be considered on
a plant-by-plant basis. Registration for certification for
nickel-bearing materials will be granted only for those
plants which do not use and do not intend to use: (1)
nickel or nickel oxide originating in Cuba or (2) steel
mill products containing more than 2.5% nickel unless
obtained in accordance with the provisions in paragraph
B(3). The relevant territorial CCIAH will promptly
deregister any plant that ceases to meet these conditions."

"(3) An official representative of the relevant territorial
CCIAH shall inspect the records"

"(4) These samples shall be analyzed either at the
laboratory of the registered production plant or at an
independent laboratory designated for this purpose by the
relevant territorial CCIAH. In either case, the analysis
shall be performed under the supervision of a
representative of the relevant territorial CCIAH. A
certified copy of the analysis report shall be retained by
the relevant territorial CCIAH for each shipment received."


"(1) . . . where no certification agreement is in effect

(e.g., nickel granules and nickel sulphate from the
U.S.S.R. and nickel-bearing materials from Czechoslovakia).
(GOI proposes deletion of the entire preceding
parenthetical reference).


"(1) Any registrated producer who wishes to export nickel-
bearing materials to the United States shall submit an
application for a certificate of origin to the relevant
territorial CCIAH."

"(4) in paragraphs B(3) (a) and (c) above. The
relevant territorial CCIAH shall not issue its
certification unless it has seen the applicable certificate
of origin and determined that it has been appropriately
issued. The prior certificate(s) of origin shall be affixed
to the certificate issued by the relevant territorial CCIAH
and shall accompany the shipping documents."

"(5) An official representative of the relevant territorial
CCIAH shall inspect the nickel-bearing material The
inspector shall stamp on each package a special reference
number of which the relevant territorial CCIAH shall
maintain a record"

"(7) The application shall then be forwarded to the
relevant territorial CCIAH which, if satisfied"

"(8) shall bear the following statement:

"The Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Agriculture and
Handicraft of , entrusted by the Government of Italy,
hereby certifies that "


"(1) Italian Customs authorities with the affixed seals
of the relevant territorial CCIAH"


"(2) It is agreed that while the Treasury Department will,
in general, honor all certificates of origin issued by the
Italian Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Agriculture and
Handicraft in accordance with these procedures"

(End original text in English)

(Following is informal translation of Italian original)

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs awaits receipt from the
Government of the United States of its opinion in this

(Complimentary Close)

4. On November 19, 2004, econoff met with officials from
the MFA and the Ministry of Productive Activities (MPA) to
discuss the Italian request to update the agreement.
Econoff was given relevant copies of Italian legislation
indicating the legal status of local offices of the Italian
chambers of commerce, including their acquisition of many
of the functions formally reserved to local offices of the
Ministry of Industry. MPA officials told us that, following
the closure of the local offices, the MPA's Rome staff were
not provided sufficient resources to take over many
functions that had been performed at the local level,
including the issuance of certificates of origin. Though
provincial-level Chambers of Commerce had begun to issue
such certificates, our MPA interlocutors said some Italian
exporters had complained that U.S. customs authorities
occasionally refused to recognize the certificates -- hence
the GOI's interest in updating our bilateral agreement.

5. Action Request: Embassy looks forward to Department's
response to the Italian note. Our copy of the original
agreement, provided by the MFA, shows that it came into
force in 1982 by means of an exchange of letters between
Dennis O'Connell, Director of the Office of Foreign Assets
Control, Department of the Treasury, and M. Pisani
Massamormile, Commercial Minister, Italian Embassy to the
U.S. Embassy Rome would be happy to fax copies of relevant
documents to any interested parties -- please contact
economic officer John Finkbeiner by email at or by phone at (39)06-4674-2849.


2004ROME04648 - Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

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