Cablegate: New Spanish Minister of Industry Wants Strong

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

1. SUMMARY: In his May 5 courtesy call on new Minister of
Industry, Tourism and Commerce Jose Montilla, the Ambassador
raised USG concerns on protection of intellectual property
rights (IPR) in Spain. The Ambassador also asked Montilla if
rumors are true that the new administration is considering a
policy of cultural exception. Montilla said the government
is currently considering "incentives" to help the domestic
film industry. Montilla expressed regret that the Spanish
Governing Council of Chambers of Commerce chose to cancel the
CPA conference on sub-contracting in Iraq, but noted that GOS
will maintain its participation in the Iraq Core Group and
will comply with its Iraq Donors' Conference pledges towards
Iraq Reconstruction. END SUMMARY

2. In a cordial May 5 courtesy call on Minister of Industry,
Tourism and Commerce Jose Montilla, the Ambassador and DCM
congratulated Montilla on his new position and told him we
hoped to work closely with the new government. The
Ambassador noted we had done much to inspire more research
and development in Spain and offered to continue this
cooperation. Montilla said the new administration was intent
on maintaining excellent bilateral relations with the United
States. He also anticipated continued strong commercial
ties. He noted the removal of the troops from Iraq was a
campaign promise the current government felt an obligation to
honor, and should not be interpreted in a way that might harm
our bilateral relationship.

3. The Ambassador raised USG concerns on IPR protection in
Spain. He briefed Montilla on the outcome of this year's
Special 301 decision (Spain was not listed), but noted that
the industry is troubled with the continued high rate of
piracy. He urged the new minister to take this problem
seriously and engage aggressively to combat the problem.
Montilla said the new administration was committed to
fighting IP crime, noting that piracy hurts not just U.S.
interests but Spanish as well.

4. The Ambassador also mentioned press reports indicating
that the new administration planned to limit American and
other foreign films in Spain in an effort to bolster their
own film industry. Montilla did not deny the rumor. He said
Spanish government is looking at potential incentives to help
the domestic film industry. He noted Spain is not alone in
this as the French Government is contemplating similar
measures. He anticipates it will take some time for a policy
on this to be finalized, but whatever measures are taken will
be taken in an open and transparent manner and within the
framework of the EU.

5. Montilla expressed regret that the Madrid stop on the CPA
Iraq sub-contracting road show had been canceled. He noted
he had given the Spanish Governing Council of Chambers of
Commerce (the Consejo) assurances that he supported the
conference and had hoped they would sponsor it, however they
were concerned as he was not yet officially in place as
minister. Once the new government announced its intention to
pull Spanish troops from Iraq, the Consejo's anxiety
increased and its leadership decided to withdraw its
sponsorship. Montilla said the decision was made because of
uncertainties created by the transition and should not be
interpreted as Spain pulling back from their commitments to
Iraq reconstruction. He added that as soon as he took
office, he asked the Consejo to see if it could be
rescheduled but was informed the dates were fixed and it was
too short a time frame to successfully host it.

6. Montilla underscored that Spain would continue its
participation as a member of the Iraq Core Group, and would
comply with the funding committed by the GOS during the Iraq
Donor's Conference.

7. Montilla could respond only in general terms to questions
regarding Spain's views on Doha Round negotiations. He said
Spain would continue to favor trade liberalization in the
multilateral arena consistent with the EU position.

8. The Ambassador outlined the many efforts the Embassy has
launched to promote bilateral business cooperation. The
minister acknowledged the importance of these efforts and
pledged to work together to expand trade ties.

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