Cablegate: French Trade Minister Novelli's Visit to Washington: Key


DE RUEHFR #4483/01 3171237
O 131237Z NOV 07






E.O. 12958: N/A
REFS: A) PARIS 03401,, B) PARIS 04315, C) PARIS 04327

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: State Secretary Herve Novelli, the junior
minister responsible for international trade, visits Washington and
Miami November 13-15. Novelli's visit provides an opportunity to
underline key economic issues -- the Transatlantic Economic Council,
agricultural biotechnology, intellectual property -- in the run up
to a French EU presidency. Ambassador Stapleton previewed these
issues with Novelli November 12. In Washington, Novelli meets with
Secretary of Commerce Gutierrez, DUSTR Veroneau, Administrator

Preston of the Small Business Administration as well as with the
U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In Miami, Novelli will be addressing
representatives of the French foreign trade missions in the U.S. and
participating in a conference with small and medium sized
businesses. Reftels provide Embassy reporting on Sarkozy's reform
plans for France's economy. END SUMMARY.

Novelli's Priorities
2. (SBU) Trade Minister Novelli is eager to learn more about how the
U.S. government assists small and medium enterprises (SME), such as
through the U.S. Small Business Act. (SME promotion was also raised
by Finance Minister Lagard's Chief of Staff during Commerce Deputy
Under Secretary O'Neill's visit to Paris Nov 7-8.) Novelli noted
that France has pushed the European Commission to do more to aid
SMEs and France intends to have in place a European Protocol on an
EU SBA by June 2008. While pessimistic about prospects for Doha
negotiations, Novelli will seek to probe continued U.S. support for
a multilateral accord vis a vis bilateral agreements. Novelli
likely will repeat President Sarkozy's admonition about the negative
consequences of a strong dollar and will point out that French
exports to the U.S. declined significantly in 2007. Novelli will
also raise French concerns about the U.S. Safe Port legislation and
requirements for 100 percent inspection of shipping containers.
Minister Novelli also will underline French interest in working
closely with the U.S. on IPR protection measures. Novelli stated
France wants to be supportive of the recently launched
Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA) initiative. Novelli also
noted that the EU readout of the initial meeting of the
Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) November 9 was positive and
pledged French support for the TEC's "very positive, concrete,
pragmatic approach" and that it would not surprise him if President
Sarkozy became "involved" in this process.

3. (SBU) 2008 will be an important year as France takes over the EU
presidency in June. France is already playing a key role in guiding
Slovenia's EU presidency that commences in January, particularly
with respect to economic, energy and environmental issues. (Note:
Minister Novelli will be traveling to Slovenia Dec 10 to finalize
France's division of labor and support for the Slovenian EU
Presidency. End note.) Novelli's meetings in Washington provide an
opportunity to articulate our views on priority issues as France
finalizes plans for its presidency.

US Business View
4. (SBU) The board of AMCHAM France met with Ambassador Stapleton
November 13 for a review of the Sarkozy visit. CEO's reported that
the AMCHAM annual barometer poll on business attitudes will be
released shortly and shows the highest level ever of business
confidence in France.

5. (SBU) Key topics (suggested talking points follow) for U.S.
interlocutors to highlight are support for the Transatlantic
Economic Council (TEC); concerns over France's suspension of Ag
biotech cultivation; cooperation on a range of IPR priorities; and
encouragement of GOF support for the French American Business
Council (FABC).

Suggested Talking Points:
TEC: Stress importance we assign to French EU presidency (and French
role in Troika from January) in furthering transatlantic
cooperation; critical for successful tangible outcomes in
Transatlantic Economic Council. Will be important to emphasize that
transatlantic cooperation pays real dividends, particularly if Doha
process remains blocked. Emphasize need for French support for TEC.

Ag Biotech: Express concern over suspension of commercial
cultivation of biotech crops. MON810 was reviewed and determined
safe by EU regulatory authorities almost ten years ago. WTO has
found EU member state biotech bans to be in violation of WTO
obligations. Deadline for compliance with WTO ruling ends November
21 - U.S. will have to review its options. Six major US
agricultural exports are all blocked or restricted in EU market.

IPR: Look forward to continued cooperation on IPR issues. U.S. and
French goals for enhanced international enforcement similar, despite
nuanced differences in approach. IPR could be a potential TEC focus
for the French EU Presidency.

Signal continued concern over potential impact of France's 2006
digital copyright legislation, and the prospect of mandated
interoperability and deposit of source codes. Sensitize GOF to
business concerns and impact on innovation as implementation goes

FABC: Pleased with resumption of this important business to business
group. Welcome President Sarkozy's offer to host next year's
meeting in Paris. Both governments should encourage FABC input on
key issues into TEC and bilateral discussions.

Bio Notes
6. (SBU) Herve Novelli is a pro-business politician, who leads the
"Liberal Circle" political faction in the ruling Union for a Popular
Movement (UMP) political party. He is president of the Association
of Reformers, a small but vocal group with in the UMP. Despite his
reformist credentials, Novelli has maintained a tough line during
trade discussions aimed at liberalizing commerce. He has worked in
the private sector, for a medical supplies company and was Vice
President for Europe at the investment bank Drexel-Burnham-Lambert.
He also served as a Director of Omnium Finance Group, a part of
Total Petroleum Corp. Novelli won his first election to local
public office in 1989 in rural western France. He served in the
European Parliament from 1999-2002. He holds a Masters Degree in
Business from the University of Paris. Novelli does not/not speak
English well.


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