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Cablegate: Gof Leaks Strategic Sectors to Be Protected From

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

UNCLAS PARIS 005961

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR EB/OIA - Wes Scholz and James Roseli
Treasury for Office of International Investment - Gay Sills
STATE PASS USTR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EINV ETRD ECON FR EUN
SUBJECT: GOF LEAKS STRATEGIC SECTORS TO BE PROTECTED FROM
FOREIGN TAKEOVERS

Ref: Paris 5441

NOT FOR INTERNET DISTRIBUTION

1. (U) Summary. The French Government is slowly unveiling
the contents of an upcoming decree listing the specific
strategic sectors to be shielded from foreign takeover (per
reftel). The State Council, France's highest administrative
body, is currently reviewing the decree before its signature
by the President. The decree will also require approval
from the EU Commission. End Summary.

2. (U) French Industry Minister Francois Loos chose the
business daily "Les Echos" for his announcement on August 30
that the GOF intended to follow-up within "a few weeks" on
Prime Minister de Villepin's July call for "economic
patriotism". The following day, the French daily claimed to
have obtained a draft of the upcoming GOF decree, which, it
said, should list the following ten sectors: armaments,
security, communication interception equipment, computer
security systems, dual civil-military technologies,
cryptology equipment, businesses dealing with sensitive
military information, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals
(antidote production), and casinos.

3. (U) Economy and Finance Minister Thierry Breton, who
oversees Loos, was more cautious in his remarks. During a
radio interview on August 30, he said: "Of course, as it is
in all countries, it's a question of sensitive, very
sensitive sectors, which essentially concerns sectors like
defense, biotechnology, space technology, telecoms -- the
sectors that are associated with our national heritage."

4. (SBU) COMMENT: Les Echos noted that France's strategic
interests surprisingly did not seem to include oil or yogurt
-- a barbed reference to the rumored takeover of Danone by
PepsiCo, which had prompted Villepin's call for protection
of French "industrial jewels." To preempt concern from
other EU members, Breton has pitched the proposed French
action as being fully in line with existing EU decrees on
freedom of investment, with an emphasis on reciprocity.
However, the direction and effect of this economic policy
are likely to be protectionist.
Stapleton

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