Cablegate: Mfa Requests More On Iraq Issues at Economic

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

051101Z Nov 03





E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: MFA Requests More on Iraq Issues at Economic
Partnership Commission Meeting; Embassy Supports

Ref: (A) State 306478 (B) Ankara 6530


1. (SBU) MFA's only substantive comment on our draft
Economic Partnership Commission (EPC) agenda was that
Iraq economic issues merit a separate session on the
agenda. The Turkish side does not expect its companies
to gain Iraq reconstruction subcontracts at this
meeting, but views the opportunities to exchange
information and to network with U.S. officials and
companies as a major outcome for the EPC. The Embassy
supports MFA's view, and encourages Washington agencies
to structure sessions on Iraq economic issues in both
the governments-only and the private sector parts of the
EPC. These sessions could contribute to expanded
Turkish economic relations with Iraq, and thereby
accelerate Iraq's stabilization and reconstruction. We
also believe the EPC is an appropriate venue to
highlight Commerce's Iraq Reconstruction Initiative.
End Summary.

Accent on Iraq Issues

2. (SBU) Meeting with Econoff on November 3, Mehmet
Gucuk, MFA Deputy Director General for Bilateral
Economic Affairs, stated that it was very important for
the Turkish side to schedule a discussion of Iraq
economic issues as a separate EPC agenda item, rather
than including this in a discussion of regional issues
over lunch on December 2. Gucuk stated that the Turkish
side would like to have a private sector session on the
Iraq reconstruction contracting process, which would
also give Turkish companies the opportunity to network
with U.S. contractors and USG officials, including from
the Coalition Provisional Authority, as well as
government-to-government sessions on other Iraq economic
issues. He said that Turkish companies and the GOT do
not expect to walk away from the EPC with subcontracts;
rather, the Turkish side believes that holding a session
which "educates" Turkish companies on Iraq issues would
in and of itself be a key achievement.

Other EPC Topics

3. (U) Using ref (A), Econoff briefed Gucuk on our
agenda items and highlighted our interest in resolving
investment and trade problems prior to the EPC.
Gucuk told us that MFA would chair a GOT interagency
meeting on the EPC on November 12. He said that MFA
would discuss QIZs as well as other agenda items with
with Foreign Trade and other interested agencies at that
meeting, which is likely to be the only interagency
meeting scheduled prior to the EPC.

4. (U) On the private sector segment of the EPC on
December 3, Gucuk opined that it might be more useful to
hold several sessions (on Iraq and on investment issues)
simultaneously so as to make it easier for participants
to stick to a tight schedule and to enable companies to
attend only industry-specific meetings if they chose to
do so. Gucuk expressed confidence that the Foreign
Economic Relations Board (DEIK) and the American Turkish
Council (ATC) are well-placed to handle the details of
the private sector program.

5. (U) The GOT delegation is likely to be similar in
terms of the agencies represented at the first EPC,
though Gucuk said that not more than 20 GOT officials
would attend the government-government sessions on
December 2. He said the GOT delegation would likely
include officials from MFA, Treasury, Foreign Trade,
Customs, Transport/Communications, Health and
Agriculture/Rural Affairs.


6. (SBU) Widening Turkish economic relations with Iraq
will help stabilize Iraq's economy and contribute to
prosperity on both sides of the border. The success of
Iraq reconstruction is vital to both U.S. and Turkish
foreign policies. For these reasons, the Embassy
endorses MFA's suggestion that we devote more time to a
discussion of Iraq issues at the EPC.

7. (SBU) At the governments-only session on December 2,
we recommend that the USG, including CPA
representatives, lead a presentation on issues in
reconstruction, trade relations and regulations, finance
issues, reform of Iraq's business climate and
humanitarian assistance. At this meeting, we would
recommend that Commerce brief participants on its Iraq
Reconstruction Initiative, which will help companies
from both the United States and Iraq's neighbors to
partner with one another and with Iraqi companies. At
the EPC, Commerce could describe planned Iraq
reconstruction seminars and conferences in Turkey
(December), Amman (January) and at the ATC conference
(April). We believe it would be very useful to include
relevant Iraqi officials in this session of the EPC if
possible. The Turkish side could report on the
experience of Turkish businesses operating in Iraq and
ask questions.

8. (SBU) The following day, the same U.S., and possibly
Iraqi, officials could brief Turkish business on
reconstruction contracting and subcontracting, banking,
insurance, and border issues. Turkish business would
also have the opportunity to share their experiences and
suggestions, ask questions, and network with U.S.
officials and private companies attending the session.
In addition to prime contractors, U.S. companies
participating in the Commerce conferences described
above could be recruited to attend this session of the

9. (U) Baghdad minimize considered.


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