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Cablegate: Used Clothing Imports Temporarily Extended

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DE RUEHLP #1797 1811403
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 301403Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9823
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 5975
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 3293
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 7142
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 4399
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 1682
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 1684
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO 1746
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 3896
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 4313
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 8870
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS LA PAZ 001797

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/AND LPETRONI
COMMERCE FOR JANGLIN, MDYBCZAK, LMARTINICH, AND RSTETSON
TREASURY FOR SGOOCH

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD EINV ECON BL
SUBJECT: USED CLOTHING IMPORTS TEMPORARILY EXTENDED

REF: LA PAZ 299

1. (U) Summary: In a June 21 supreme decree, the GOB extended
used clothing imports until April 20, 2007, and said it would
allow used clothing sales through February 28, 2008.
Reactions were mixed, with some groups accusing the GOB of
harming small apparel producers and others suggesting the
GOB's decision would eliminate the livelihood of thousands of
used clothing importers. End summary.

2. (U) In Supreme Decree 28761, issued June 21, the GOB
extended used clothing imports until April 20, 2007, and said
it would allow used clothing sales through February 28, 2008.
The decree said there was no possibility of extension;
renewed bans on old or damaged clothing, intimate apparel,
and bedding; and placed new prohibitions on the sale of
donated clothing, charging the Ministries of Finance and
Production with authorizing individual shipments' entry. The
decree also stated that used clothing imports would require
certificates of disinfection issued at both origin and
destination, with the latter issued by the Bolivian Health
Ministry or by designated concessionaires.

3. (U) Reactions were mixed, with some groups accusing the
GOB of harming small apparel producers and others suggesting
the GOB's decision would eliminate the livelihood of
thousands of used clothing importers. According to press
reports, Committee for the Defense of National Industry
representatives argued that small apparel producers, many of
whom work in family-owned workshops, cannot compete with
cheap imported goods and may be forced to close. Others,
like the Bolivian Foreign Trade Institute, suggested the
GOB's decision to eventually ban used clothing imports would
eliminate the incomes of the estimated 15,000 people directly
or indirectly involved in the used clothing trade.

4. (SBU) Comment: The Morales administration struggled with
this issue months ago (reftel) but postponed a "definitive"
decision until now. Even with the new decree, the matter
will likely remain contentious, as the GOB seems unable to
avoid a trade-off between small apparel producers and used
clothing sellers. For U.S. suppliers of used clothing,
however, the GOB's decision is good news, at least for now.
End comment.
GREENLEE

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