Cablegate: Santiago Sept. 30 Media Report
DE RUEHSG #0938/01 2731626
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 301625Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0098
INFO RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 0063
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 0060
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 0030
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 0032
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 0062
UNCLAS SANTIAGO 000938
STATE FOR R/MR, I/PP, WHA/BSC, WHA/PDA, INR/IAA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON KMDR KPAO PGOV PREL SNAR EFIN CI
SUBJECT: Santiago Sept. 30 Media Report
1. The Executive Office submitted a bill to
Congress that creates a ministry for indigenous
affairs and a new agency to implement indigenous policies
(Government-owned La Nacion, 9/30).
2. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke said the Obama
administration is satisfied with the progress in the debate about
IPR in Chile, but noted that there is "some concern" with the delay
in applying the IPR bill. Intellectual property rights are one of
the pending issues in the Chile-U.S. bilateral free trade
agreement. "We have concerns regarding the calendar and the
progress of our agreement with Chile on the protection of
intellectual property," said Locke. With regard to the region,
Locke ruled out reactivating the Free Trade Area of the Americas
that Washington promoted in the 90s and said his government would
focus on the bilateral agreements under negotiation with Colombia
and Panama (Conservative, influential El Mercurio, 9/30).
3. Secretary Locke said yesterday that the United States is
not looking to apply protectionist measures. He also said that
China's decision to protect its poultry market and the U.S.
application of tariffs on Chinese tires does not mean both
countries are engaged in a commercial war. "We oppose
protectionism because it hurts both parties," said Locke, adding
that this was about "enforcing a trade agreement already in place."
The secretary was also optimistic on the recovery of the U.S.
economy, but warned that this recovery would not be fast because of
the high unemployment rate (Financial daily Diario Financiero,
4. The ministers and vice ministers of trade and industry at
the Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF) agreed that
competitiveness is necessary to assure sustained prosperity and
growth in the region. The officials also launched the
Inter-American Competitiveness Network to provide a structure and
support to initiatives in this area. Another panel concluded that
one priority in the region must be to eliminate the bureaucracy
associated to business (Diario Financiero, 9/30).
5. Secretary Gary Locke said that his country supports all
proposals that help promote global trade, including Hugo Chavez'
"Alternativa Bolivariana para las Americas" (ALBA). "We believe in
all these commercial agreements and would not in any way interfere
with trade agreements that President Chavez or any country is
engaging in," said Locke. Asked about the future of the Free Trade
Area of the Americas (FTAA), Locke said he was not familiar with
this initiative, but one of his staffers noted that there is
nothing new regarding the reactivation of this commercial accord
6. Secretary Locke said he doubted that the U.S. Congress
would approve the free trade agreement with Colombia this year
because of its focus on the health reform, but said President Obama
is working with Congress to ratify the agreements with both
Colombia and Panama, "because they are for mutual benefit" (Ansa,
7. Mississippi, Santo do Brazil, and the Panama Canal
Representatives at the ACF agreed that investment in port
infrastructure is key to optimizing operations and increasing
competitiveness (Diario Financiero, 9/30).
8. Coverage of the official ACF dinner includes a photo of
Chilean Foreign Minister Mariano Fernandez, Central Bank President
Jose de Gregorio, U.S. Ambassador Paul Simons, and U.S. Secretary
of Commerce Gary Locke (Diario Financiero, 9/30).
Salitre Military Exercise
9. Defense Minister Francisco Vidal announced that as a
guarantee of transparency, Chile's Air Force had invited its
Peruvian counterpart to send observers to attend the "Salitre"
military exercise in Antofagasta, dismissing Peru's request to
cancel the exercise. Peruvian Defense Minister Rafael Rey has asked
Chile to cancel the exercise twice, noting that Peru had cancelled
its exercises in Arequipa to "avoid hurting (Chile's) feelings" (El
10. Chile invited Peru's military authorities to participate in
the "Salitre 2009"military exercise as observers as a sign of
transparency and to lower the tension between both countries amid
Lima's claims of an arms race in the region. Peru questions the
timing of the exercise, but "Salitre" has been taking place for
years and has no relation to the current situation between Chile
and Peru (La Nacion, 9/30).
11. Editorial: "Just a few years ago the demand to find a way
to control the banking sector was something urgent and
imminent.... The need to change this has not disappeared from the
global agenda and is still a problem, but the G20 prefers to treat
the issue with more caution .... This, however, does not disavow
the important signal of greater multilateral balance that the G20
represents" (La Nacion, 9/30).
12. Human Rights Watch-Americas Director Jose Miguel Vivanco
said the international community must maintain its pressure on the
de facto government of Honduras to resolve the crisis in that
country. Vivanco said he not only hopes that the United States
maintains its sanctions, but also increases them. (La Nacion,
13. The Chilean Navy changed the current Naval District of
Chiloe to the Fifth Naval Zone and appointed Francisco Garcia
Huidobro as its new chief (El Mercurio, 9/30).