Cablegate: New Uk Technical Advice On Labeling Produce From West Bank
DE RUEHLO #2772 3441731
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 101731Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY LONDON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4294
INFO RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 0617
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 0338
C O N F I D E N T I A L LONDON 002772
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/10/2019
TAGS: PGOV KPAL IL WB UK
SUBJECT: NEW UK TECHNICAL ADVICE ON LABELING PRODUCE FROM WEST BANK
Classified By: CLASSIFIED BY POLITICAL COUNSELOR GREG BERRY FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D).
1.(SBU) Poloff received a call from Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Levant team leader Nishi Dholakia informing her that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) made a statement in Parliament this morning regarding DEFRA's new technical advice on labeling produce grown in the West Bank. According to the advisory, traders and retails wishing to provide additional information on the origin of produce from the West Bank "may wish to indicate whether the product originated from an Israeli settlement or from Palestinian producers." Text of the advice has been provided to NEA/IPA and EUR/WE.
2.(C//NF) Dholakia explained that HMG had been under increasing pressure from NGOs and consumer groups about the labeling issue. HMG had actively debated the issue following a roundtable organized by the Cabinet Office this past March, and as such news of the decision is "neither new nor unexpected." Dholakia stressed that this is being treated an issue of "facilitating consumer choice," noting that DEFRA was the appropriate agency to handle such issues. Despite NGO pressure to make such labeling mandatory, it remains purely optional under the new guidelines.
3.(C//NF) Despite Dholakia's efforts to characterize the statement as a technical issue, he acknowledged that the FCO would be spending the majority of the morning on "stakeholder outreach," including an extended conversation with the Israeli Ambassador in London during which the FCO "made very clear that HMG is opposed to any sort of boycott of Israeli products." Visit London's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX