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Cablegate: Commerce Ministry Talks Tough On Ipr

VZCZCXRO3835
PP RUEHTRO
DE RUEHTU #2963 3601429
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 261429Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY TUNIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2387
INFO RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI PRIORITY 0828
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 7376
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1224
RUEHNK/AMEMBASSY NOUAKCHOTT PRIORITY 0815
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1681
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 8286
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI PRIORITY 0020
RUEHCL/AMCONSUL CASABLANCA PRIORITY 4033
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS TUNIS 002963

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA/MAG (HARRIS) AND EB/IPE
STATE PASS USTR (BELL), USPTO (ADLIN AND ADAMS), USAID
(MCCLOUD)
USDOC FOR ITA/MAC/ONE (NATHAN MASON), ADVOCACY CTR (JAMES),
AND CLDP (TEJTEL)
CASABLANCA FOR FCS (ORTIZ)
LONDON AND PARIS FOR NEA WATCHER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ETRD KIPR TS
SUBJECT: COMMERCE MINISTRY TALKS TOUGH ON IPR

REF: TUNIS 2771

1. (SBU) Leila Fethi, in charge of implementing programs in
the Economic Control Division (ECD) in the Tunisian Ministry
of Commerce and Handicrafts, discussed with EconOff the
recent removal of pirated optical disks from retail giant
Carrefour and upcoming GOT actions on the intellectual
property front. When asked whether Carrefour's decision to
stop its sale of pirated optical disks (reftel) was in
response to any particular GOT action, Fethi explained that
the Ministry of Commerce had sent warning letters to
Carrefour and other major retailers. The letters delineated
the laws being violated by each retailer and asked them to
cease the sale of pirated goods. Thus far, said Fethi,
Carrefour is the only major retailer to abandon the sale of
pirated goods. Several other major retailers, such as Geant
and Monoprix, have continued to stock pirated DVDs and CDs.
Fethi stated that if Geant and Monoprix fail to cease sales
on their own, the GOT will take the step of seizing the
counterfeit products and destroying them. When asked how
much time remained for Geant and Monoprix to comply, Fethi
indicated that the Ministry could be ready to take action as
soon as January 2.

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2. (SBU) In addition, Fethi emphasized that IPR violations
that impact health and safety are ECD's top priority, but
that the division also considered the volume of goods
involved. Fethi also discussed an upcoming, but still
unscheduled, GOT informational program on intellectual
property rights. She stated that the GOT was planning an
informational fair that would travel the country to highlight
both the short-term and long-term economic costs as well as
the potential health and safety consequences of using
counterfeit products.

3. (SBU) Comment: The indication that the Ministry of
Commerce anticipates taking action against the offending
retailers is welcome, though it remains to be seen whether
other players in the public and private sector will support
such a high profile action. Post will continue to encourage
tough GOT measures to protect intellectual property. End
Comment.
BALLARD

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