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Cablegate: New Spanish Secretary of State for Trade Supports

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 MADRID 001838

SIPDIS

STATE PLEASE PASS TO USTR MOWREY AND SANFORD; STATE FOR
EUR/WE AND EB/IPC JURBAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ETRD KIPR SENV EAGR SP
SUBJECT: NEW SPANISH SECRETARY OF STATE FOR TRADE SUPPORTS
TRADE LIBERALIZATION

REF: A. MADRID 1673

B. MADRID 1651
C. MADRID 1465

1. SUMMARY: In our first meeting with new Secretary of State
for Tourism and Trade Pedro Mejia Gomez, he told us that
Spain fully supported EU Trade Commissioner Lamy's efforts to
move forward Doha negotiations and was not overly concerned
about potential loss of agriculture subsidies, as long as
there was reciprocity. The GOS is disappointed that
investment is not the EU's choice for priority Singapore
Issue, but will not fall on its sword over it. Mejia
expressed relief that Spain was not included on the Special
301 Watchlist and stressed his interest in working with the
USG on intellectual property issues. END SUMMARY

2. On May 12 DCM, Economic Counselor and Econoff met with
Secretary of State for Tourism and Trade Pedro Mejia Gomez.

SIPDIS
Mejia was accompanied by new DG for Trade and Investment
Oscar Via Ozalla and Nicholas Lopez Lopez, Deputy Director
for Trade and 133 Committee titulaire. While Mejia only
recently took possession of his office, he has significant
experience as a trade functionary in previous administrations
(see reftel A for biographic info).Mejia said the Spanish
strongly supported the Fischler-Lamy letter which pushed for
movement forward on Doha Round negotiations via reduction of
agricultural subsidies. He noted, however, there would be no
support for the move unless it was met with reciprocity from
what Mejia termed as "traditional protectionists" including
the United States, Japan, Canada and Australia. He
acknowledged that Spanish farmers were not happy at the
prospects of receiving fewer subsidies, but Mejia pointed out
that changes in EU export subsidies schemes would not
necessarily have a large impact on Spain. He estimated the
effect on Spain would be "medium to low."

3. Mejia conceded that in the interest of making progress in
overall Doha negotiations it made sense to focus on only one
Singapore Issue. He said he agreed with Trade Commissioner
Lamy that trade facilitation was important, especially for
developing countries. That said, the GOS continues to be
interested in all four of the Singapore Issues, especially
investment. Mejia said that with such a high level of
Spanish investments in Latin America, it would be ideal to
make progress in eliminating barriers and restrictions
through a multilateral investment agreement. Spain knows
there is little support at present for this.

4. We took the opportunity of the meeting to highlight U.S.
concerns on issues such as biotech and REACH chemicals policy
since in the past we found that the Ministry of Industry
(formerly the Ministry of Economy) preferred to let other
ministries run with these issues despite clear trade
implications. Mejia admitted to not being familiar with the
issues, so Lopez quickly briefed on the GOS position on
biotech saying that Spain has almost always voted in favor.
He claimed that the sudden change to abstentions in two
recent votes did not signify that the new administration was
changing direction. He claimed the GOS remained open on
biotech. (NOTE: Based on our conversations with officials in
other ministries and in the industry, we are not so sanguine.
See reftel C.) We and Lopez also briefed on REACH. We
subsequently sent Mejia the latest REACH demarche points for
his information.

5. Even though Mejia had been present at the Ambassador's
recent courtesy call on Minister of Industry, Tourism and
Trade Montilla (reftel B), we reiterated our points on U.S.
concerns about protection of intellectual property rights in
Spain. Mejia had obviously been briefed on this issue and
expressed relief that Spain had not been named to the Special
301 Watchlist despite the high levels of piracy. He
underscored Spanish commitment to combating piracy. He told
us that in the past 18 months enforcement officials have made
enormous progress in their crack down on street sales of
pirated goods. Mejia admitted that the GOS has responded not
only to U.S. government and industry pressure, but to demands
from the Spanish music industry which has also been greatly
effected. He emphasized GOS interest in cooperating with the
USG to make further progress in the fight against piracy.

6. Mejia asked for the latest information on progress on the
Hill to move forward legislation to repeal Foreign Sales
Corporation. He termed Senate passage of a draft law to be
"a significant step forward."

7. COMMENT: Mejia appears to be knowledgeable and reasonable.
Contacts tell us he has the support and respect of trade
bureaucrats working for him, something his predecessor did
not enjoy. Under his management it looks likely that Spain's
trade leanings will not stray far from the previous
administration's.
ARGYROS

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