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Cablegate: Argentina: Advocating U.S. Digital Tv Standard

VZCZCXYZ0007
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #1279/01 2562136
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 122136Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2021
INFO RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUCNMER/MERCOSUR COLLECTIVE
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0864
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0159
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001279

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

EEB/CIP FOR AMBASSADOR DAVID GROSS, ANNE JILLSON
DEPARTMENT FOR FCC
USDOC FOR 4322/ITA/MAC/OLAC/PEACHER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EINV PREL ECPS ITU OVIP TSPL TINT AR
SUBJECT: Argentina: Advocating U.S. Digital TV Standard

1. This is an action request. Please see para 7.

2. (SBU) SUMMARY. The Government of Argentina (GOA) is close to
choosing the Japanese-Brazilian digital TV (DTV) standard as a
result of a recently-signed bilateral trade, investment, and
infrastructure joint declaration with the Government of Brazil
(GOB), and meetings with Government of Japan (GOJ) ministers. Post
is prepared to engage in what could be a last chance to advocate for
the U.S. standard, but seeks an assurance of a coordinated industry
support to delay or hopefully reverse any such decision. END
SUMMARY.

--------------------------------------------- ---
Argentina and Brazil discuss digital TV standard
--------------------------------------------- ---

3. (SBU) Beginning in mid-August, Emboffs learned from local
industry contacts that the GOA was in discussions with the GOB over
the possible adoption of the Japanese-Brazilian DTV standard, which
Brazil has already adopted, and is a competitor of the U.S.-South
Korean standard (and which the Embassy has been actively advocating
for the past several years). These reports were affirmed by
subsequent press reports and Ambassador's conversation with Planning
Minister De Vido. Last week in Brasilia, the GOA and GOB held a
series of meetings that culminated in a joint declaration (septel)
that they would seek to deepen cooperation in a series of trade,
investment, and infrastructure initiatives. This declaration
included a statement to have relevant ministries "hold regular
meetings with the objective of exchanging technical and
institutional information and exploring the mutual advantageous
opportunities of a partnership for both countries in the issues of
investment, equipment production, strengthening of the production
integration, technological development, promotion of research and
cooperation in the field of developing software, among other
possibilities associated with the digital TV."

4. (SBU) On September 10, GOA Planning Minister Julio De Vido and
Communications Secretary Lisandro Salas met with Japanese Vice
Minister of Communications and Interior Akira Terasaki, reportedly
to analyze the technical aspects of the Japanese norm, ISDB-T. Also
in attendance were representatives from the Japanese firm NEC.
While no announcement has been made, media reports continue to
indicate that the GOA might soon select the Brazilian-Japanese
standard.

----------
ATSC Forum
----------

5. (SBU) In mid-August, Emboffs contacted executives from the ATSC
Forum, which represents companies that use the U.S.-South Korean
standard. Emboffs advised them of these developments and proposed
moving forward with an advocacy campaign to counter the recent GOB
efforts, stressing that a decision could be imminent. The ATSC
Forum did not immediately respond to our requests for guidance.
These requests also came on the heels of the news that the
Government of Colombia had decided to adopt the European standard.
The Forum later responded that while all their previous commitments
to provide an incentive package stood, they questioned the
likelihood that the GOA would make a decision any time soon.
Emboffs contacted ATSC executives again in early September,
explaining the potential urgency of the matter, and suggested that
opportunities for engagement, stressing again that the USG must take
the lead from industry on advocacy issues. ATSC explained that they
were planning a visit to Argentina in late October, in connection
with a local conference, hoping that they could attract
representatives from LG, Harris, and Dolby to perhaps do a series of
advocacy visits with Minister De Vido and others. ATSC has also
subsequently suggested trying to organize a meeting with Minister De
Vido while he is in New York in late September to attend the opening
of the United Nations General Assembly.

6. (SBU) In these conversations, ATSC representatives did reiterate
that their 2006 proposal first presented to Minister De Vido still
stood. This proposal includes an investment in a Argentine
manufacturing plant for LG Plasma and LCD TV sets (which they claim
would create 500 jobs), a 75% discount in patents (the money waived
would go to a fund for R&D of HDTV in Argentina), a transfer of
technology from patent holders exclusively to Argentina, and
financing options for the transition from analog to digital for
broadcasters.


--------------------------
Comment and action request
--------------------------

7. (SBU) Post is prepared to energetically re-engage its advocacy
efforts in support of the US DTV standard. However, we seek
assurances that the industry (companies and ATSC) is committed and
prepared to conduct appropriate follow-up before we undertake any
advocacy efforts. If the GOA is indeed getting close to a decision
on a Japanese-Brazilian DTV standard, and as we have discussed with
ATSC representatives, now could be the last chance for coordinated
industry-USG action to delay or hopefully reverse any such decision.
Emboffs remain engaged with ATSC reps and continue to try to
persuade the association to indicate their willingness to conduct
such follow up. Emboffs are also coordinating with ATSC reps in
organizing a meeting between GOA officials and ATSC reps while the
former are in New York in the coming days. We request that
Washington officials ask the industry indicate its willingness to
follow up with the GOA to support what could be the last chance to
influence the GOA's decision on its future DTV standard. Washington
agencies support and rapid action is much appreciated.

WAYNE

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