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Cablegate: Sri Lanka: No Decision yet On U.S. Wto Taft Goods

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RR RUEHLMC
DE RUEHLM #0327 0571254
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 261254Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5525
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1844
INFO RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0690
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA 9928
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 6888
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 4959
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RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP

UNCLAS COLOMBO 000327

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

GENEVA AND BRUSSELS FOR USTR

STATE FOR SCA/INS AND EEB/TPP/MTA AARON SCHEIBE

STATE PLEASE PASS USTR

MCC FOR S GROFF, D NASSIRY AND E BURKE

E.O 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ETRD WTO CE
SUBJECT: SRI LANKA: NO DECISION YET ON U.S. WTO TAFT GOODS
NEGOTIATING TEXT DEMARCHE

REF: STATE 20817

1. Summary: The Government of Sri Lanka (GSL) will not make
a decision on the U.S. WTO textiles, apparel, footwear and
travel goods (TAFT) negotiating text until it meets with
apparel producers later this week. End summary.

2. Econoff delivered the TAFT negotiating text to senior
government officials dealing with WTO matters in the Sri
Lanka Department of Commerce and the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs on February 26. They requested time to get back to
us with their position.

3. Department of Commerce Director of Multilateral Trade
Affairs Gomi Senadheera was familiar with the U.S. proposal
on TAFT goods, and said that he considered it "very much in
our interest." The Department of Commerce had the lead on
the issue for Sri Lanka, but Senadheera said that he would
need to consult with Sri Lanka's Joint Apparel Associations
Forum (JAAF), which represents the apparel industry, before
deciding whether to co-sponsor the proposal. He would meet
with JAAF on Friday, March 2, which was the earliest that
key JAAF members were available to discuss the matter. He
promised a reply soon after that meeting. (Note:
Senadheera recently returned from Sri Lanka's mission to
Geneva, and was familiar with this and other WTO issues.)

4. Ministry of Foreign Affairs Economic Division officials
Sashikala Premawardhane and B. Kandeepan reiterated that
the Department of Commerce had the lead on this issue, but
agreed that they saw no reason why Sri Lanka would not
support it.

5. Post will follow up with the Department of Commerce
next week and will report Sri Lanka's position as soon as
it is established.

Blake

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