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Cablegate: Argentina: Negative Reaction to Special 301 Priority Watch

VZCZCXYZ0008
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #0634 1332054
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 122054Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1023
RUCNMER/MERCOSUR COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 000634

EEB/TPP/IPE FOR RWATTS, RWALLACE AND CLACROSSE
DEPT PLS PASS TO USTR JCGROVES, KDUCKWORTH
DOC/ITA/MAC/OIPR FOR CATHERINE PETERS AND JENNIFER BOGER
PLEASE PASS TO USPTO JURBAN AND LOC STEPP
SAO PAULO FOR USPTO DMAZURKEVICH

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KIPR ETRD ECON AR
SUBJECT: Argentina: Negative Reaction to Special 301 Priority Watch
List Designation

REF: STATE 45063

1. (SBU) GoA interlocutors in the Foreign Ministry reacted
negatively to USTR's placement of Argentina on the Special 301
Priority Watch List (PWL) for the thirteenth straight year. Econoff
delivered Reftel demarche to Luis Niscovolos, Director of
Multilateral Economic Negotiations in the Argentine Foreign
Ministry, and Deputy Director Conrado Solari-Yrigoyen on May 2. As
the Special 301 report was already public, both noted that PWL was
currently the worst status in the report, and that several other
countries on the 2007 PWL had been upgraded to Watch List status.
They argued that Argentina's IPR regime was fully TRIPS-compliant.
Both officials questioned why report language on Argentine Customs'
activity was unchanged, despite the fact that the agency's
"Trademark Fraud" program was put into effect in 2007, and that
seizures of counterfeit goods had increased considerably compared to
2006. Econoff highlighted language about addressing outstanding
issues through closer cooperation in the coming year, and noted that
the GoA did not take advantage of USTR's invitation to provide
comments prior to this year's 301 determination. Solari-Yrigoyen
asked how they might do so next year, and Econoff passed the 2008
Special 301 Federal Register notice.

2. (SBU) Turning to La Salada, the Argentine informal market singled
out in the "Notorious Markets" section of the report, Niscovolos
argued that La Salada "doesn't have an IP dimension," but rather
problems in the areas of tax collection, informal labor, and
environmental concerns. He acknowledged that some goods which
infringe copyrights are sold in La Salada, but said that trademark
violations (using fake Rolexes as an example) were aimed at
different market segments than the originals and therefore shouldn't
be of concern. He also objected to the assertion that "criminal
gangs" are reputed to operate in La Salada.

3. (SBU) The officials also inquired about the nature of the
"training project" funded by the USG in the Tri-Border region shared
with Paraguay and Brazil, as cited in that section of the report.
Econoff was not aware of a current program involving Argentina, but
promised to seek clarification. (NOTE: We understand from EEB/IPE
that this refers to a program begun in 2004 and intended for
Paraguayan officials.)

WAYNE

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