Cablegate: Background for Ustr Zoellick's Meeting With

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





E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Background for USTR Zoellick's Meeting with
State Minister Tuzmen


Ref: (A) Ankara 1234 and previous (B) Ankara 1157
(C) Ankara 977


1. (SBU) Turkish trade officials tell us that, in the
April 5 meeting with USTR Robert Zoellick, State
Minister Kursad Tuzmen plans to focus on multilateral
trade issues. The Foreign Trade Undersecretariat told
us it believes that USTR's January 2004 letter to
counterparts has revitalized the WTO negotiations.
While Turkey is cautious on lowering tariffs in
agriculture, Tuzmen would like to exchange views on this
as well as on industrial tariffs and Singapore issues.
Foreign Trade told us that Tuzmen does not plan to raise
bilateral trade issues such as U.S. textiles and apparel
quotas on Turkey or Qualifying Industrial Zones.
However, he may want to seek Zoellick's views on the
private sector initiatives to delay lifting textile
quotas. USTR may want to raise problems in Turkish
protection of intellectual property. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Econoff met with Husnu Dilemre, the Foreign
Trade U/S Deputy Director General for Agreements, on
March 31 to discuss USTR Robert Zoellick's April 5
meeting with State Minister Kursad Tuzmen. Dilemre
confirmed that Tuzmen's focus for the meeting is on WTO
rather than bilateral issues, and he provided an
overview of Turkish positions in the Doha Development
Agenda. He noted that Tuzmen does not plan to raise the
Qualifying Industrial Zones proposal or bilateral
textile quotas. He stated that Tuzmen would likely be
accompanied in the meeting by Aylin Bebekoglu, Chief of
Section for WTO Issues at the Foreign Trade U/S;
Bilgehan Sasmaz, Commercial Counselor at the Turkish
Embassy in Washington; and possibly another Foreign
Trade official to be determined.

WTO Issues

3. (SBU) Agriculture: Dilemre opined that Zoellick's
letter to trade ministers early in 2004 had led to a
"changed world" for the WTO talks. For Turkey, market
access in agriculture is the main issue and elimination
of export subsidies a key target. Turkey has taken a
cautious approach on tariffs due to concerns that that
sharp tariff cuts will leave Turkish farmers unable to
compete with developed country subsidies. Dilemre
suggested that Tuzmen would raise the issue of special
and differential treatment for developing countries.
Dilemre stated that Turkey has reservations about the
current proposal blending linear tariff cuts on some
goods and a more ambitious Swiss formula in others.
Turkey, like the EU, would like to see an outcome in
which more tariffs (at least 10 percent of the total)
are subject to linear reductions rather than Swiss
formula cuts. Dilemre noted that, while Turkish and EU
positions are close on this issue, Turkey is not
required to coordinate its positions in the agriculture
talks with the EU since the Turkey-EU customs union does
not cover this sector. He added that Turkey, like the
USG, did not believe that cotton should be the subject
of special treatment within the agriculture

4. (SBU) Industrial Goods: Dilemre said that Turkey and
the United States shared much common ground on cutting
tariffs in the non-agricultural market access talks. He
commented that, under the customs union, Turkey
coordinated closely with the EU in the WTO negotiations
on manufactured goods. On the Singapore issues, Dilemre
stated that Turkey agreed with the U.S. position on
trade facilitation.

5. (SBU) Textile Quotas/Chinese Competition: Dilemre
pointed out that the American Textiles Manufacturers
Institute (ATMI) had requested a meeting with Tuzmen
during this visit to Washington. In Istanbul in early
March, Turkish garment and textile manufacturing
associations, together with ATMI and the American
Manufacturers' Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC) called for
joint efforts against Chinese textile exports and a
delay in lifting quotas beyond 2005. Business
associations from a range of European and African
countries have since joined the Istanbul Declaration.
Dilemre said the GOT has not endorsed its industry's
position on quotas, and, given the need for consensus in
order to change the 2005 deadline, he does not expect
any concrete results to emerge from this lobbying.
However, he suggested that the WTO members might want to
acknowledge the Istanbul Declaration by considering a
sectoral approach for textiles in the talks on
industrial goods and/or a separate meeting in Geneva
with business associations on this subject. Dilemre
opined that Tuzmen, though not focused on this issue,
might seek Zoellick's views on the Istanbul Declaration.

Special 301

6. (SBU) Dilemre told us that Tuzmen will be briefed on
intellectual property rights issues with the expectation
that they will be raised in the context of the Special
301 review. Embassy recommends that USTR press Tuzmen
on these issues, particularly data exclusivity
protection. Ref B provides information on the lack of
protection for pharmaceuticals companies' confidential
test data and on a new decree on reference pricing which
could have a very negative impact on foreign drug
companies. AIFD, the local research-based industry
association, and officials at the Foreign Trade
Undersecretariat have since told the Embassy that the
GOT Health Ministry is considering changes in the
pricing decree which would mitigate the adverse impact
on research-based companies. The GOT has also promised
to announce a policy on data exclusivity in the near
future, though this might include an unacceptably long
transition period. Dilemre told us that Tuzmen recently
met with an AIFD delegation to discuss these concerns.

7. (SBU) The Embassy's input for the Special 301 review
(ref C) comments on problems in copyright and trademark
enforcement. In March, the Turkish Parliament approved
copyright amendments to improve enforcement by banning
street sales of all copyright products and authorizing
all law enforcement units to make seizures. However, it
also reduces penalties for piracy, with the rationale
that current penalties are perceived by the judicial
system to be too severe and are thus not applied at all.

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