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Cablegate: Demarche Delivered: Proposed Goi Tariff Schedule

VZCZCXRO6159
RR RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #2014 1820841
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 300841Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8067
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0246
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC//NSC//

UNCLAS BAGHDAD 002014

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD ECON TWRO USTR BEXP IZ
SUBJECT: DEMARCHE DELIVERED: PROPOSED GOI TARIFF SCHEDULE

REF: STATE 052614

Sensitive but unclassified; please protect accordingly.


1. (SBU) Coordinator for the Economic Transition in Iraq
Ambassador Charles Ries delivered reftel demarche to Iraqi
Minister of Trade Abdul Falah al-Sudani on June 26.
Ambassador Ries encouraged the GOI to pursue a "low and flat"
tariff strategy and highlighted how such a structure would
enhance growth, transparency, and competitiveness in Iraqi
industries.

2. (SBU) Al-Sudani described the U.S. approach as practical
and said he strongly supports the concept of low tariffs,
citing the success of similar approaches in Vietnam, Turkey,
and Chile. However, al-Sudani believes it will be a great
challenge to convince the Council of Ministers and the
Ministry of Finance, who he said will have greatest influence
on the GOI's final decision, of the merits of low tariffs and
a simplified structure. He added that we will need to work
together to alter the mindset of those who look to tariffs as
the first option to protect and promote Iraqi industry.

3. (SBU) Al-Sudani noted that the draft tariff legislation is
currently under deliberation in the Shura Council, and that
while it enjoys "priority" precedence, it could take up to 6
- 8 months before it is sent on to the Council of Ministers
for review. Ambassador Ries stressed the importance of the
legislation's timely passage, and al-Sudani said he would
"push" for a quicker turn-around.

4. (SBU) Post will continue to engage key GOI officials
regarding the merits of a simplified tariff structure and WTO
accession issues more generally.
CROCKER

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