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Cablegate: Bahrain's Fta Ta Requests: Post Input

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

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANAMA 000335

SIPDIS

DEPT PASS TO USAID AND USPTO
DEPT FOR NEA/PI SFRANCESKI, NEA/ARP:PHEFFERNAN,
EB/TPP/MTA/MST:BMITCHELL, EB/CIP/BA:ALEWIS,
EB/TPP/BTA/ANA:EWHITAKER, OES:CRICHARD, L/OES:HDAS, AND
DRL/IL:KAUDROUE
DEPT PASS USTR JASON BUNTIN FOR WIDER DISTRIBUTION
LABOR FOR WCLATINOFF AND LKARESH
COMMERCE FOR CLOUSTAUNAU, GTHOFFMAN, MPRIMLANI, SBHATNAGAR,
ESKED
USPTO FOR PFOWLER, LLOURIE, DMORFESI
AGRICULTURE FOR MMEADOR
USAID FOR JTIKKA AND JCARLSON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMPI ETRD EAID BA
SUBJECT: BAHRAIN'S FTA TA REQUESTS: POST INPUT

REF: A. BAHRAIN'S 3/5 TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE PROPOSAL

B. MANAMA 272

SUMMARY AND COMMENT: In anticipation of the March 11
interagency meeting to discuss FTA-related technical
assistance priorities for Bahrain, post is submitting our
prioritized A-basket (30-60-day timeframe) shortlist to
contribute an on-the-ground perspective to the meeting. In
prioritizing this A-list, post has focused on projects
falling into the top three areas where the Bahrainis have
stated that technical assistance is needed: 1) drafting of
legal texts; 2) enforcement procedures; and 3) training of
personnel, and on projects that could be implemented quickly
with readily apparent results. END SUMMARY AND COMMENT.

1. Drafting of legal texts: Begin across-the-board assistance
to review existing legislation and draft legal texts to
comply with the requirements of the agreement (as noted on
Page 1, item 1). This is necessary to expedite Bahrain's
readiness to bring the FTA into force and to implement the
agreement. (NOTE: As described in ref B, this assistance will
need to be provided delicately, since there are sensitivities
resulting from not entirely satisfactory experiences with
foreign legal assistance. END NOTE.) This assistance should
include review of proposed IPR legislation (Basket B, Item 4).

2. Transparency mechanism/e-commerce/e-government: Although
not listed among Bahrain's requests, Post is convinced that
Bahrain needs to develop a modern mechanism to enhance
participation in the development of laws and notification of
legislative changes. We propose the development of a website
that would include a comment/consultation mechanism for draft
legislation, electronic notification (vice the printed
gazette) of new legislation, and a searchable electronic
register of existing legislation (also in English
translation).

3. Customs: Implementation-related technical assistance,
especially with respect to the rules of origin, risk
assessment and technology for customs inspections (Basket A
Item 4). Bahrain will need to develop a mechanism to deal
with re-imports of U.S. products from other GCC countries as
well as re-exports of U.S. products into other GCC countries
by January 1, 2005, when the GCC Customs Union single point
of entry mechanism is scheduled to take effect.

4. Environment: Adopt-A-School-Bus program--retrofitting
particulate filters onto school bus diesel exhaust systems.
This project emerged from consultations with 2003 EPA Embassy
Science Fellows from USEPA Sector 6, which has experience
with the Adopt-A-School-Bus program. Active coordination
between the Bahrain Environmental Authority and USEPA Sector
6 means that this program could be up and running fast--as
soon as funding is made available--and we would see clear,
positive results.

5. Labor/Textiles: Active bilateral coordination is
developing ideas for useful assistance programs. It would be
wise to reserve some funding to be able to quickly fund
initial projects (e.g., a possible study of alternative
employment options for garment workers, development of
retraining program descriptions) as they emerge from this
dialog, especially because this politically important issue
impacts Bahrain's stability.

6. IPR Enforcement: Technical assistance on the
identification and development of Bahrain's enforcement
procedures, as well as staff exchange training of IPR staff
and the staff involved in the enforcement process in customs,
the judiciary, and police (Basket A, Item 5). The GOB has
demonstrated consistently the will to enforce IPR protection.
Bahrain's principle weakness is that the staff on the ground
and the courts are insufficiently familiar with IPR to always
make good decisions. This is an area where we could move
quickly and have visible impact that would be appreciated by
the U.S. and Bahraini business communities.

7. SPS: Begin technical assistance in strengthening,
surveillance, control, monitoring and enforcement of
standards and procedures in order to ensure the quality and
safety of imported and locally manufactured foods (Basket B,
Item 8). Bahrain has committed to revised shelf-life
standards and non-ICCP standards. We could reward this stance
by helping the Bahrainis quickly develop an alternate system
that will work for them.
FORD

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