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Cablegate: Argentine Tax Authority On Csi, 9/11 Act, Megaport, And

VZCZCXYZ0001
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #1800/01 2531529
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 101529Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9199
INFO RUEAIAO/HQ ICE IAO WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 6555
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 1486
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 6748
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 0770
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 6416
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ SEP SAO PAULO 3532
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 2368

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001800

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DHS/ICE FOR A/S JULIE MEYERS
DHS FOR A/S INTL AFFAIRS MARISA LINO
DHS FOR CHIEF OF STAFF CHAD SWEET
ICE FOR GFICHOU
EB/IFD/OIA FOR WSCHOLZ
TREASURY FOR LTRAN AND MMALLOY
E FOR THOMAS PIERCE
PASS FED BOARD OF GOVERNORS FOR PATRICE ROBITAILLE
PASS USTR FOR DUCKWORTH
USDOC FOR 4322/ITA/MAC/OLAC/PEACHER
US SOUTHCOM FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD ECON EIPR KTFN AR
SUBJECT: ARGENTINE TAX AUTHORITY ON CSI, 9/11 ACT, MEGAPORT, AND
TRADEMARK PIRACY COOPERATION

Ref: (A) Buenos Aires 619
(B) State 119837
(C) Buenos Aires 1720

This cable contains sensitive information - not for internet
distribution.

-------
Summary
-------

1. (SBU) The Argentine customs and revenue authority, AFIP, is
pleased with the development of its Container Security Initiative
(CSI) pilot program and hopes to expand pre-clearance cargo
examinations to two additional port terminals in the Buenos Aires
region. With this expansion, AFIP's Director Alberto Abad said
Argentina will be one of the first CSI partners in a position to
meet 9/11 Act requirements that all U.S.-bound shipping containers
be scanned at foreign ports by 2012. To facilitate and expedite
this expanded screening, AFIP hopes to build databases of Argentine
exporters determined to be legitimate and trustworthy in order to
share with U.S. customs authorities. ICE officers supported and
encouraged an AFIP request to allow AFIP tax officials to join their
Customs colleagues and participate in the successful joint US/GoA
Trade Transparency Unit.

2. (SBU) On AFIP's interest in moving forward on the U.S. Department
of Energy's Megaport project, Abad confirmed that AFIP/Customs would
have the GoA implementation lead. However, there appears to be some
coordination issues still to be worked out between AFIP, the Foreign
Ministry and the Ministry of Interior on this. Ambassador followed
up with the Foreign Ministry and was told that Cabinet Chief
Fernandez may need to weigh in to get clear approval to proceed.
Finally, Ambassador thanked AFIP's Abad for allowing his tax and
customs officers to participate in the IPR enforcement workshop post
hosted in Buenos Aires August 14-16 (Ref B). End Summary.

-----------------------------------
Container Security Initiative (CSI)
-----------------------------------

3. (SBU) On September 4, U.S. Ambassador, two ICE Senior Special
Agents, and EconCouns met with Argentine revenue authority AFIP
(Administracion Federal de Ingresos Publicos) Director Dr. Alberto
Abad, Director General of DGI (Direccion General Impositiva) Horacio
Castagnola, and Director General of Argentine Customs Ricardo
Echegaray. GoA participants praised the effective cooperation and
operation of the CSI program and asked that the program be expanded
beyond the Buenos Aires port of Exolgan to Zarate and Campana, two
other leading port terminals in the Buenos Aires region.
Specifically, Abad and Echegaray are seeking to extend the advantage
of CSI "pre-clearance" privileges to these ports. (Currently,
containers departing from the CSI port of Exolgan are considered
"pre-cleared" upon arrival to U.S. ports and are quickly able to
enter the commerce of the U.S., whereas containers departing from
the other regional ports of Buenos Aires that are not under the
umbrella of CSI are at a disadvantage.)

4. (SBU) ICE officers note that, during recent meeting in Washington
AFIP Customs Deputy Director Silvina Tirabassi and Acting CSI
Director Marsha Wiggins, the issue of CSI expansion was reviewed and
it was agreed that the already approved CSI Declaration of
Principles (DOP) would be amended to indicate that the CSI program
included "all the ports of Buenos Aires." GoA officials made clear


they were not requesting additional manpower or resources from
either Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or ICE. AFIP, they said,
already has both the scanning equipment and personnel available to
include the other ports as part of CSI program. Dr. Abad mentioned
that the GoA has already invested approximately US$ 20 million in
the purchase of scanning and radiological detection equipment, with
another $30 million already committed to this and budget authority
in place to request a further $30 million.

-----------------------
9/11 Act Implementation
-----------------------

5. (SBU) Ambassador noted that President Bush signed into law the
9/11 Act of 2007 which mandates that, beginning July 1, 2012, all
U.S.-bound shipping containers must be scanned at a foreign port
before being loaded (Ref B). Abad replied that Argentina will be
one of the first CSI partners in a position to meet these
requirements. He raised the concept of "operadores confiables"
(trusted or vetted operators) involved in trade with the United
States. He is interested in creating a database of Argentine
exporters determined to be legitimate and trustworthy companies.
Echegaray explained that AFIP's idea is to share this information
with the U.S. in order to facilitate expeditious entry of goods into
the U.S. from Argentine businesses. Abad said that the sharing of
information on vetted exporters with CBP officials would ultimately
assist Argentine Custom with complying with the new 9/11 Act. ICE
officials promised to follow up with CBP officials.

-----------------------------
Trade Transparency Unit (TTU)
-----------------------------

6. (SBU) In response to an earlier AFIP request that DGI tax
officials be allowed to join their AFIP Customs colleagues in the
TTU (Ref A), ICE officers supported and encouraged DGI participation
in the TTU and noted examples in other TTU operations worldwide
where tax and customs authorities have shared information to their
mutual benefit. Echegaray raised AFIP's interest in obtaining more
information on U.S. businesses, especially their financial data,
utilizing the TTU as an information exchange platform. The GoA, he
said, needs financial data on targeted businesses and individuals to
assist in tax and money laundering investigations, trade-base or
otherwise. With illicit proceeds often transferred in and out of
Argentina in the form of bulk cash, Echegaray emphasized the need to
interchange financial data is an important first step to strengthen
financial crimes investigations. (Currently, ICE is sharing Currency
and Monetary Instruments Reports with GoA via the TTU on a case by
case basis.)

--------------------------------------------- ---------
Megaport Project: Still a Question on GoA Lead Agency
--------------------------------------------- ---------

7. (SBU) Ambassador noted AFIP's earlier interest in moving
forwarding on our Department of Energy's Megaport project and Abad's
March 2007 (Ref A) statement that AFIP/Customs would have the GoA
lead on this important initiative. Ambassador noted his discussions
with Minister of Interior Fernandez, who said he was not opposed to
an AFIP/Customs lead but wanted to preserve the lines and
responsibilities between import controls and police and security
functions. Abad replied that he and one of his deputies had
discussed the issue of GoA lead responsibility with Foreign Ministry
Ambassador for International Security and Nuclear Affairs Elsa Kelly

and that she was supportive of AFIP/Aduanas authority moving
forward. In a subsequent discussion Ambassador had with Kelly, she
noted that, while the Foreign Ministry supports and AFIP/Customs
lead, clear agreement from the Ministry of Interior is still needed.
She said she would probably need to get Cabinet Secretary Alberto
Fernandez involved to assure the Interior Ministry was on board.
Embassy will pursue.

--------------------------------------------- ---
Expanded Cooperation to Control Trademark Piracy
--------------------------------------------- ---

8. (SBU) Ambassador thanked both Castagnola and Echegaray for
allowing their respective tax and customs officers to participate in
an IPR enforcement workshop led by the Department of Justice that
post hosted in Buenos Aires August 14-16 (Ref B). Tax and customs
officials joined GoA judges, fiscales, and other law enforcement
professionals to create an IPR investigation manual. Ambassador
expressed hope that the enforcement manual and follow-on working
groups become useful tools to help control trademark piracy. Abad
expressed his satisfaction and noted there would be strong GoA
participation in the upcoming First International Conference in the
Defense of Intellectual Property in Buenos Aires November 8-9. A
number of major multinational trademark-oriented companies,
including Chanel, Luis Vuiton and Phillip Morris, will participate.

WAYNE

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