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Cablegate: Demarche Request: Wto Services Negotiations

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #8379 0552308
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 242303Z FEB 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA PRIORITY 0000
INFO RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 0000

UNCLAS STATE 018379

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ETRD WTRO SF
SUBJECT: DEMARCHE REQUEST: WTO SERVICES NEGOTIATIONS


SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED ENTIRE TEXT. PLEASE PROTECT
ACCORDINGLY.

1. This is an urgent action request. See paragraph 7
below. (Because of time constraints, we are unable to
provide translations.)

Summary
-------
2. The WTO Doha Round is moving into a critical stage of
detailed negotiations across all elements of the single
undertaking. As services is one of the three market access
pillars of the Doha Round, along with Agriculture and
Non-Agricultural Market Access (NAMA), we must see meaningful
progress in services in order to achieve a strong Doha
outcome by the end of 2008. To stress the importance of
services and encourage participation in upcoming bilateral
meetings and the proposed signaling conference, Post is
requested to deliver the letter and background points in
para. 8 and 9 to appropriate officials of the host government
no later than February 27. End Summary.

Background
-----------
3. The Doha Round launched by WTO Members in November 2001
is the USG's top trade priority. Services, agriculture, and
industrial goods are the three core market-access negotiating
groups of the Doha Round. Progress in all three groups will
be essential to meet the objective of completing the
negotiations by the end of 2008.

4. Since the launch of the Round, the United States has
submitted two Doha Round services offers in 2003 and 2005 and
has engaged in intensive bilateral and plurilateral
negotiations. For the United States, a successful Doha
package must include significant commitments from WTO members
in our target sectors: financial services,
telecommunications, express delivery, computer and related
services, distribution, environmental, and energy services.
As reported in December 2007 summaries of the plurilateral
groups, few members have come forward to indicate that they
will offer significant market access in services. On February
12, WTO Services Chair DeMateo released a report on the
status of the negotiations indicating areas of convergence
and divergence between developed and developing countries. As
noted in the report, the U.S., EU, and other members are
seeking both the binding of existing practice and new market
access commitments.

5. Currently, Doha negotiations are moving towards a
potential Ministerial meeting and agreement on Agriculture
and NAMA modalities. Revised texts in those two groups were
released on February 8, and WTO Director General Lamy has
called this step the final sprint towards establishing
modalities. For many countries, including the United States,
there will not be agreement on Agriculture and NAMA
modalities unless there is sufficient clarity that services
will achieve a comparable level of ambition. This requires
two elements: 1) a multilaterally agreed Chair's text to be
agreed in parallel with Agriculture and NAMA modalities, and
2) a signaling exercise among the 25-30 Members engaged in
the plurilateral market access negotiations.

6. The next step in the process is to urge Ministers from
our eleven key target markets (Argentina, Brazil, China,
Egypt, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, South Africa,
Thailand, and Turkey) to send negotiating teams, including
capital-based sectoral experts, to Geneva the week of March
10 to engage in a series of intensive bilateral meetings with
U.S. negotiators. These meetings would be followed by senior
level discussions and culminate in a signaling exercise in
the form of a ministerial event, ideally chaired by Director
General Lamy, where oral commitments would be exchanged among
Ministers from the 25-30 Members engaged in the plurilateral
negotiations. The letter in para. 8 provides further details
on our country-specific sectoral requests.


Action requested
----------------
7. Please deliver the letter to the Minister responsible
for trade, using the accompanying background points as
appropriate, no later than February 27. (See para. 8 and 9) A
signed copy of the letter will be sent to Post via email.
Please slug responses to State EEB/TPP/MTA Carol Henninger
and USTR Todd Nissen.

Text of Letter to be delivered as non-paper
--------------
8. Begin Text:

H.E. Mr. Mandisi Bongani Mabuto Mpahlwa
Minister of Trade and Industry
Ministry of Trade and Industry
Pretoria, South Africa

Dear Minister Mpahlwa:

We are rapidly approaching a major decision point in the Doha
Round; therefore, I wanted to stress the important role the
services negotiations play in our thinking. Services account
for two-thirds of the U.S. economy and 8 out of 10 jobs. In
many developing countries, services account for over 50
percent of jobs, and represent the largest share of total
economic output and the fastest growing component of GDP.
For developing and developed countries alike, expanded trade
in services promises significant opportunities for economic
growth and development. In light of this economic and
political reality, the Doha Round simply must achieve
meaningful progress in services market access in order to
receive broad support in the United States and other
like-minded countries.

For this reason, the United States will not be able to agree
to modalities on Agriculture and NAMA unless there is also
agreement on a framework for services that gives us
confidence that an equally ambitious outcome will be
achieved. First, this requires that we produce a
multilateral services text that contains general guidance on
the level of market access we expect to achieve. We can be
flexible in developing this guidance, but it is imperative
that a services text proceed in parallel with the texts on
Agriculture and NAMA and reflect a comparable level of
ambition.

Second, we also need to have assurance that your next revised
offer will contain meaningful improvements in commercially
significant sectors that are the drivers of economic growth.
In order to provide this assurance, we request your active
participation in a signaling exercise that will take place
over the next several weeks. More specifically, we request
that you send a negotiating team to Geneva beginning the week
of March 10, 2008, to engage in a series of intensive
bilateral meetings aimed at providing greater understanding
of the content of the next set of services offers. These
bilateral meetings would be followed by discussions at a more
senior level and culminate in a ministerial event, ideally
chaired by the Director-General, where oral commitments would
be exchanged among Ministers from the 25-30 Members engaged
in the services plurilateral market access negotiations. For
purposes of the meetings beginning March 10, we request that
you send experts who will have authority to negotiate market
access commitments in the following sectors: financial
(banking, securities and insurance); telecommunications;
postal and courier, including express delivery; distribution;
environmental; and energy services.

In order to help frame the discussion, we have identified
below a number of key sectors in which we are looking for new
commitments and a substantial reduction or elimination of
limitations. Areas where we are seeking new commitments for
sectors and modes of supply not currently in South Africa's
GATS offer include the following:

- Distribution services (commission agents' services);
- Energy services (maintenance and repair of equipment,
cross-border for services incidental to mining);
- Environmental services (full sector coverage beyond
consultancy only);
- Express delivery services (commitments on a pro-competitive
market);
- Financial services (mode 1 for MAT insurance, financial
information and data procession services, insurance
intermediation and auxiliary services and for securities
services for sophisticated consumers; and national treatment
for modes 1 and 2 across the sector).

Areas where we seek the reduction or elimination of
significant limitations in South Africa's GATS offer include:

- Foreign equity participation and form of establishment for
remediation and noise abatement services;
- Exemption of mining-related environmental services;
- Insurance branching;
- Foreign equity participation in telecommunication services;
and
- Number of telecommunication service suppliers and local
incumbent exclusivity.

Finally, we also would like to address ongoing concerns
regarding your unspecified limitations on local borrowing by
South African companies with foreign investment of more than
25 percent.

In closing, I want to be clear that this is an important
stage of the negotiations, but not the final stage. All
offers, of course, remain provisional, with the negotiation
of services commitments continuing up to the submission of
final schedules.

I trust you share our goals of achieving a successful
conclusion to the Doha Round and will devote the necessary
resources to this exercise.

Sincerely,

Susan C. Schwab
United States Trade Representative

End text of letter.

Background points
--------------
9. Begin points.

- We are rapidly approaching a major decision point in the
Doha Round. At this juncture, we want to highlight the
importance of the services negotiations to the United States.

- Services account for two-thirds of the U.S. economy and 8
out of 10 jobs. In many developing countries, services
account for over 50 percent of jobs, and represent the
largest share of total economic output and the
fastest-growing component of GDP.

- The Doha Round must achieve meaningful progress in
services in order to deliver on the development promise of
the DDA and to receive broad support in the United States,
including from our Congress.

- The United States will not be able to conclude an agreement
on Agriculture and Non-Agricultural Market Access (NAMA)
modalities without a clear sense that services will achieve a
comparable level of ambition.

- To achieve the necessary progress in services, we request
your commitment to engage constructively in the ongoing
services text negotiations and in a signaling exercise.

- First, we request that you send a negotiating team to
Geneva for bilateral meetings with the United States
beginning March 10, 2008. The delegation should have
expertise in the following sectors: financial (banking,
securities and insurance); telecommunications; postal and
courier, including express delivery; distribution;
environmental; and energy services.

- Following the bilateral meetings, we expect senior
officials to hold further discussions leading to a
ministerial level signaling event.

- We trust you share our goals of achieving a successful Doha
Round conclusion this year and will thus devote the necessary
resources to the services negotiations.

End background points.

End action requested.

10. Department appreciates post's assistance.
RICE

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