Celebrating 25 Years of Scoop
Special: Up To 25% Off Scoop Pro Learn More



Cablegate: Tri-Border and Argentina Public-Private Dialogue On


DE RUEHBU #1336/01 2691350
R 251350Z SEP 08




E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Tri-Border and Argentina Public-Private Dialogue on
Intellectual Property



1. (SBU) Wayne Paugh, Department of Commerce Coordinator for
International Intellectual Property (IP) Enforcement, delivered a
positive message in support of IP protection during a series of
events in Argentina. Paugh met with the Argentine Customs Director,
where both emphasized the importance of information-sharing among
countries to identify IP and other violations, supported AmCham
efforts to increase public awareness of the value of IP protection
for Argentina, and lauded Post's effort to better train Argentine
law enforcement on IP crime investigation. Paugh also attended a
ground-breaking public-private dialogue on IP enforcement which took
place on the Argentine side of the tri-border area shared with
Brazil and Paraguay. Paraguayan government participation was wide
and included the Minster of Industry. Argentine and Brazilian
government involvement was both less numerous and lower level,
mainly working-level enforcement and prosecution. Paraguayan
participants, public and private, expressed interest in working
together more closely on IP enforcement; Argentine participants also
did so, but new dialogue seems unlikely. End Summary.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

IPR Enforcement Coordinator With GoA Customs

2. (SBU) In a September 22 meeting with Paugh in Buenos Aires,
Argentine Customs Director Silvina Tirabassi stressed the importance
of information-sharing for her agency to operate effectively. She
cited as a success story the Trade Transparency Unit (TTU) which
exchanges data with their U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
(ICE) counterparts on shipments between Argentina and the U.S.,
noting that such information was also helpful in monitoring
shipments from Miami which were transiting Argentina en route to
Paraguay or Brazil. Tirabassi expressed particular interest in
obtaining such information from China, which she said would be an
excellent tool to fight under-invoicing of Chinese imports. She
cited her agency's successes in fighting intellectual property
violations, noting increased seizures of counterfeit goods (which
she attributed not only the Customs Trademark Fraud program - Ref A
- but also to her Customs office receiving "ex officio" GoA
authority in December 2005 to detain shipments pending a
determination of their legitimacy). Tirabassi also noted IPR
challenges, including the increasing quality of falsification of
imported goods, which has made detection more difficult. Paugh
commented that increased public/private dialogue was one of the
goals of the TBA conference, and such activity could result in more
training for Customs personnel to help identify counterfeit goods.

3. (SBU) Paugh also met in Buenos Aires with drafters of an IP
enforcement manual (Ref B), the American Chamber of Commerce's IP
Committee (AmCham), and the Charge d'Affaires, as well as had an
interview with local press. With the manual drafters, he discussed
strategies to ensure the manual is broadly distributed to relevant
Argentine enforcement officials. Drafters decided to focus
initially on getting the national police agencies (Federal Police,
Prefectura, Gendarmeria) to formally approve the manual for official
use by the agency, rather than trying to convince individual offices
one by one. With the AmCham, Paugh discussed best practice
strategies to create greater public awareness of the negative
effects of IP violations, such as AmCham's annual IP conference and
annual IP essay contest for students and young professionals. He
suggested to the Charge that Post consider instituting an
Ambassador's IPR Roundtable, on Embassy Beijing's model. Press
coverage of Paugh's visit was quite positive, with articles in the
two leading dailies and two other economic-focused dailies.

Tri-Border IPR Conf: Public-Private Dialogue

4. (SBU) The Trans-Atlantic Business Dialogue (TABD) hosted
September 18-19 what is believed to be the first public-private,
multi-country dialogue held in and focusing on IP violations in the
tri-border area (TBA) where Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay meet.
Participation in the conference, which took place in Puerto Iguazu,
Argentina, was varied, with high-level and numerous representatives
of the Paraguayan government present, but fewer and lower-ranking
Argentine and Brazilian officials. Employees of private companies
from all three countries in the region, as well as the U.S. and much
of Europe, also attended and participated. Paugh and EU officials

were among the presenters.

5. (SBU) Paugh's presentation highlighted the importance of IP
protection for the U.S. economy, and noted that because IP
violations continue to increase, the best way to combat them is to
cooperate more closely. He noted USG efforts acting alone, in
partnership with the U.S. private sector, and jointly with trading
partners - both government to government and private sector alone.
As an example, he cited the first-ever joint US-EU Customs operation
which took place in 2007 and snared 400 million counterfeit
integrated circuits. Paugh opined that IP violations thrive where
laws against them are weak, the issue is a low priority, or both.
Luc Devigne, head of the European Commission's IP unit, mentioned an
OECD report which estimates annual international trade in
counterfeit goods at USD200 billion. He stated that the EU's
strategy on IPR was to focus on bilateral cooperation, multilateral
cooperation, capacity building, and cooperation with the private
sector. John Taylor of the EC's Taxation and Customs Directorate
was the other EU speaker, addressing challenges in EU border

--------------------------------------------- --
Paraguay: Public Commitment to Fight Contraband
--------------------------------------------- --

6. (SBU) Paraguay had a strong presence from both public and private
sector representatives, with meaningful presentations in the legal,
enforcement, and IPR policy areas. Paraguay's Minister of Industry
and Commerce, Martin Heisecke, spoke and publicly renewed his
commitment to fight piracy and contraband. District Attorney for
Ciudad del Este Eber Ovelar emphasized the legal weaknesses in
Paraguay, making explicit mention of the inadequate enforcement of
Paraguay's Customs Office. Paraguayan Director of IPR Policy Carlos
Rufinelli outlined his plan to increase the transparency in and
improve the negative image of the trademark and registration office.
Rufinelli was candid about the operational capacity limitations in
his office, and asked for support from private sector. The head of
the IPR Special Investigative Unit (UTE), Coronel Cruz, raised the
need for private sector support to train experts in identifying
counterfeited and pirated goods. He also described problems with
the way in which expert witnesses are selected and used in Paraguay.
The argument for expert witness competence in the private sector
was echoed by Ovelar. Paraguayan officials projected a visible
commitment to address IPR issues and fight piracy and contraband,
and offered a balanced perspective of GoP strengths and weaknesses.

7. (SBU) Despite several attempts, mainly initiated by private
sector players, to establish public-private sector partnerships,
Paraguay currently lacks a general strategic plan for private sector
participation in IPR enforcement. The event provided a tangible
venue for Paraguayan officials to begin discussions with private
sector representatives to develop such a strategy. One of the
recommendations was to host a similar event at the country level,
and Paraguayan officials present expressed great interest in the

--------------------------------------------- --
Argentina, Brazil, Private Sector Contributions
--------------------------------------------- --

8. (SBU) Argentine and Brazilian government participation was at a
lower level; GoA presentations were by Fabian Di Risio, the head of
Argentine Customs' Trademark Fraud Unit, and Juan Carlos Tesoriero,
a federal prosecutor who works in the province of Misiones (where
the conference was held). Di Risio highlighted recent successes of
Customs' programs; Tesoriero echoed those claims. Tesoriero also
argued that a prosecutorial unit specializing in IP crimes would be
beneficial, that Argentina also had a need for better system to
choose expert witnesses, inter-government agency cooperation had
much room for improvement, and that industry could help more by
initiating more cases and cooperating to collect evidence. The GoB
was represented by Director of Compliance for Receita Federal
(Brazilian Tax and Customs agency) Mauro Brito, who presented
success stories in the TBA but not challenges faced, and by two
federal police officials, both of whom displayed videos showing
recent IP seizures.

9. (SBU) Other presentations included an analysis of the legal
regime in Paraguay by Hugo Mersan, the head of the Paraguayan
Association of Trademark Agents, and in Argentina by Roberto Porcel,
a long-time trademark attorney who is currently the Undersecretary
for Planning in the Health Ministry of the Province of Buenos Aires;
a primer on forensic science by an Interpol officer and a former
Scotland Yard detective; discussion of asset tracing for civil
proceedings by the Latin America Anti-piracy Coordinator for the

International Federation of the Phonographic Industry and a private
attorney from New York; and presentations on private sector
technical assistance capabilities.

10. (SBU) TABD organizers asked Econoff to lead a break-out group of
about 15 participants which focused on strategies to improve customs
and enforcement issues, and the importance of proper forensics
techniques for building a criminal case; Econoff presented a summary
of the discussion to all participants. Other break-out groups
analyzed global and regional IP challenges, the legal environment,
and an EU case study.


11. (SBU) The Trans-Atlantic Business Dialogue conference broke new
ground by bringing together public officials and the private sector
from the three countries of the TBA - as well as the U.S. and EU -
to focus on IP violations in the region. It appears likely that
expanded public-private dialogue in Paraguay - which sent the
highest level and most robust delegation - will result. Brazil,
however, already has a forum for such activity, the National Council
to Combat Piracy and Intellectual Property Crimes (CNCP), which is
chaired by the federal government. In Argentina, the government
agency which has shown the most support for IP protection, Customs,
already has a monthly dialogue with the private sector on how to
improve its IP enforcement efforts. Improving Argentine IP
enforcement capacity continues to depend largely on the private
sector, and Paugh's visit supported both Post and AmCham efforts to
increase that capacity, as well as helped to increase public
awareness of the benefits.

12. (U) This cable was coordinated with the IP Officer in Asuncion
and USPTO's Regional IP Officer in Rio de Janeiro, both of whom
attended the conference; Paugh was unable to clear the cable.


© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
World Headlines


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.