Cablegate: Got Views On the Wto Ministerial in Cancun

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.



USDA for FAS/ITP Henke, Meyer, Hansen


E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: GOT Views on the WTO Ministerial in Cancun

Ref: State 246426

1. (SBU) Meeting with Econoff and Econ Specialist on
September 3, Husnu Dilemre, Deputy Director General for
Agreements at the Foreign Trade Undersecretariat,
provided an overview of Turkish views and objectives for
the upcoming Cancun WTO Ministerial. In particular, he
highlighted Turkey's desire for an agreement that would
bring down high tariffs on industrial goods in other
developing country markets, as well as Turkey's
objective of eliminating all export subsidies in
agricultural trade. Econoff also delivered a copy of
reftel World Bank/IMF letter in support of the Doha
negotiations and transitional assistance.

Non-Agricultural Goods

2. (SBU) Dilemre told us that the GOT is not keen on
further multilateral tariff reductions on industrial
goods, but that it does have market access concerns in
other developing country markets. Turkey's custom union
with the EU provides preferential access for Turkish
products relative to those originating in other
developing countries. At the same time, the customs
union has required Turkey to lower tariffs to the level
of the EU's common external tariff. Turkish industry,
particularly the textile/garment sector, is concerned
that new multilateral tariff reductions would erode its
margin of preference in the EU market.

3. (SBU) On the other hand, Turkey seeks tariff
reductions in developing countries, particularly India
and Pakistan, which continue to maintain high tariffs on
Turkish industrial exports. Dilemre pointed to Turkey's
August 8 proposal to the Negotiating Group on Market
Access, which called on all WTO members to bind all of
their tariffs and which proposed a formula with the
largest reductions in the highest tariffs (those
exceeding 15 percent). Under the Turkish proposal,
developed countries would complete tariff reductions
within the first year of the agreement, while developing
countries would have five years to complete their


4. (SBU) Dilemre flatly stated that Turkey opposed
measures that would decrease protection for its
agriculture sector. He claimed that, as Turkey cannot
subsidize agriculture to the same degree as developed
countries, tariffs are Turkey's only legitimate
instrument to defend Turkish farmers against subsidized
imports. He added that Turkey would insist on special
and differential treatment for developing countries that
would enable them to designate "strategic" or "special"
products exempt from tariff reductions.

5. (SBU) Dilemre expressed disappointment with the U.S.
- EU joint paper on agriculture, which he argued backed
away from the complete elimination of export subsidies
for all products. He said that the GOT would press for
total elimination of these subsidies at Cancun. On the
U.S. proposal to eliminate only trade-distorting
elements of export credits, Dilemre stated that Turkey
did not have strong views on this issue and that these
credits were extensively used to import raw materials
such as cotton used in Turkish export industries.

Other Issues

6. (U) Dilemre stated that Turkey is ready to negotiate
a WTO Investment Agreement, but he acknowledged that
negotiations in this area are not likely to be launched
at the Cancun Ministerial. Dilemre noted that Turkey
had committed to not use the newly-agreed compromise on
compulsory licensing of pharmaceuticals except in
response to an emergency. He also reported that Turkey
had submitted its offer on services, but did not provide

7. (U) Dilemre also said that the WTO was preparing a
report on Turkey's trade regime under the Trade Policy
Review Mechanism, and that he expected a WTO delegation
to visit Ankara to discuss the report in late September.


8. (U) The Turkish delegation will be led by State
Minister Kursad Tuzmen, and will include Foreign Trade
Undersecretary Tuncer Kayalar and Agriculture Ministry
Undersecretary Huseyin Coskun. The delegation may
include representatives of the Customs and Treasury
Undersecretariats, the Turkish Patent Institute, the
Boards on Competition and Public Procurement, the
Finance, Industry, and Environment Ministries, and the
State Planning Organization. Private industry
representatives, including the heads of the Exporters'
Union, the Garment Manufacturers' Association, and
members of Board of the Chamber of Unions for Commodity
Exchanges may accompany the official delegation.
Biographical Note

9. (U) Dilemre informed us that he will be assigned to
Washington as the Turkish Embassy's Commercial
Counselor, probably in October. Dilemre has been a very
knowledgeable and open interlocutor at Foreign Trade and
we commend him to Washington agencies as a useful

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