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Cablegate: Ipr Customs Training Advances in Manzanillo

VZCZCXRO9370
PP RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUEHME #2847/01 2741706
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 011706Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8441
INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEAHLA/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USNORTHCOM
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 MEXICO 002847

SENSITIVE, SIPDIS

STATE FOR EB/TPP/MTA/IPE/HUGHES/URBAN
STATE FOR WHA/MEX/BRAICH
STATE PASS TO USTR FOR MELLE/MCCOY/SHIGETOMI
STATE PASS TO JUSTICE FOR CCIPS/KOUAME AND OPDAT/TRUEBELL
STATE PASS TO COMMERCE FOR ITA/MAC/ONAFTA/WORD
STATE PASS TO ITA/MAC/IPR/WILSON
COMMERCE PASS TO USPTO FOR RODRIGUEZ/BERDUT/MORALES

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KIPR ECON SNAR MX
SUBJECT: IPR CUSTOMS TRAINING ADVANCES IN MANZANILLO

Summary
-------

1. (SBU) The Embassy, together with the Department of
Justice and the Mexican Customs Administration (Aduanas),
held a four-day training seminar on criminal enforcement
and detecting, detaining, and deterring the importation
of pirated and counterfeit goods for Mexican customs and
law enforcement officials in Manzanillo from September 8-
11. Financed by DOJ grant money from State/INL, the
program focused on promoting interagency cooperation and
providing the participants with the necessary tools to
maximize the Mexican government's efforts to counter IP
violations. As in previous training programs, the
American Chamber of Commerce of Mexico coordinated a
hands-on training with more than 40 famous brand right
holders. The Mexican reaction to the course was very
positive and the level of cooperation extended by Aduanas
was unprecedented. The Embassy plans to capitalize on
the success of this event and hold additional IPR
training as part of our cooperative efforts to strengthen
IP protection and enforcement in Mexico. End summary.

Students and Instructors
------------------------

2. (U) The September 8-11 program was attended by 50
Aduanas officers from across Mexico, as well as 9 law
enforcement officials from the Office of Attorney General
of the Republic (PGR - or the Mexican Department of
Justice), the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property
(IMPI - counterpart to the U.S. Patent and Trademark
Office), and the National Copyright Institute (INDAUTOR).
Roughly half of the customs officials participated in the
prior training program held in Monterrey on February 4-6,
2009. Our intent was to invite the same 56 Aduanas
officers trained in Monterrey to receive additional
training in Manzanillo as part of building a nationwide
core team of IP experts within customs. Our Aduanas
counterparts attempted to accommodate this request;
however, they hit some internal obstacles which resulted
in only half of the customs officials being able to
return for additional training.

3. (U) DOJ funded the participation of Christophe
Zimmermann, Chief Technical Officer of the World Customs
Organization's Anti-Counterfeit and Piracy Unit. Thanks
to his vast experience in IPR issues, his excellent
ability to communicate this knowledge, and his fluency in
Spanish, Mr. Zimmermann ensured the success of this
seminar. He was ably assisted by Beverly Buick of the
Enforcement Directorate of the World Customs
Organization. Marie-Flore Kouame of the Department of
Justice's Computer Crime and Intellectual Property
Section also attended. (Note: Embassy DHS/CBP and
DHS/ICE were invited to participate, but were unable to
attend. End note.)

What We Did
-----------

4. (U) Day One of the seminar was dedicated to
presentations on the importance of IPR and the tools
available to increase criminal enforcement and combat IP
violations. Mr. Zimmermann shared with the participants
fresh insights and valuable techniques to increase
criminal deterrence at the border, and drove them to
reexamine their role in countering IP violations. He
walked the customs and law enforcement officials through
several sample manifests and bills of lading, pointing
out various indicators that should render the shipment
suspect.

5. (U) On Day 2, through the cooperation of the American
Chamber of Commerce in Mexico, more than 40 clothing,
pharmaceuticals, cell phones, movies and music, software,
and electronic devices companies, set up 22 expo stands

MEXICO 00002847 002 OF 003


to build a stronger rapport and share intelligence with
the various customs and law enforcement officials. Small
groups of 3-4 participants rotated through all of the
expo stands, spending about 25 minutes at each. This
gave them time to learn directly from the right holders
how to distinguish real goods from counterfeits as well
as understand the various techniques that counterfeiters
use to avoid detection. According to the participants,
this interactive "hands-on" mechanism was most useful,
since when customs officials are inspecting shipments, or
when law enforcement agencies are investigating these
cases, they usually do not have original products readily
available with which to compare and build a case. This
public-private sector interaction was also useful in that
officials developed relationships with right holders and
now have a point of contact to call when a suspicious
shipment is discovered.

6. (U) Days Three and Four were opportunities for the
participants to utilize their newly acquired practical
techniques. The Port of Manzanillo customs director and
the Aduanas directorate of operations shared with the
participants all the bills of lading for that week's
containers received from China, India, and Dubai. This
unprecedented level of cooperation allowed the
participants, under the tutelage of Mr. Zimmmermann, to
conduct their own risk analysis, identify suspect
shipments, and then travel to the Port to open up the
containers. In a few cases, the officials actually
discovered deliveries of counterfeit bags and trademark-
infringing toys with a street value in the thousands of
dollars. Throughout the training, Mr. Zimmermann
underscored the importance of interagency cooperation to
gather evidence for use in building stronger criminal
cases.

Achievements, Revelations, and Next Steps
-----------------------------------------

7. (U) Feedback from the Mexican attendees was very
positive, particularly with respect to the development of
their skill sets in risk analysis, targeting, selecting,
and interdicting suspect shipments. The heavy focus on
interagency cooperation also received high marks, as did
the right holder's participation in instructing how to
identify infringing goods. Participants also appreciated
the personal connections made among the various Mexican
agencies, which we hope will lead to increased
coordination and cooperation in attacking cross-border
flows of pirated and counterfeit products.

8. (SBU) We cannot overstate the level of cooperation we
received from the Port of Manzanillo customs director and
the Aduanas directorate of operations. As stated above,
they gave us and the participants, including non-Aduanas
Mexican government officials, complete and total access
to the paperwork as well as to the port facility and the
containers. While the containers themselves were opened
by Manzanillo customs officials, it was the participants
who directed which containers were to be opened and then
opened the boxes within the containers. Mr. Zimmermann
commented several times that in all his years of training
throughout the world, he had never received such
cooperation from the host customs administration. This
level of cooperation and trust is testament to the
considerable goodwill that has developed between the
United States and Mexico in customs matters.

9. (SBU) Despite their enthusiasm for the program, many
of the participating Mexican customs officials lacked
fundamental skills that such officials should possess in
order to assist with criminal enforcement, such as the
basic understanding of shipping and transportation
contract documents. The absence of these essential
skills impedes their ability to detect suspicious
activity that can then be referred to law enforcement
officials for criminal investigation. This information

MEXICO 00002847 003 OF 003


is also critical to building strong criminal evidence.
For this reason, future USG capacity-building IP events
will target the development of essential customs skills
that will be most useful to Mexican Customs officials in
their daily tasks and that do not necessitate the use of
advanced technology or software. Additionally, we
support the development of an Aduanas training academy in
the hope that some of these fundamental skills would be
addressed.

10. (SBU) The Mexican officials have asked for
additional IPR training, and have expressed a strong
desire for Mr. Zimmermann's continued participation. The
Embassy plans to pursue these requests, and will continue
to emphasize the development of essential customs
techniques and practices, interagency cooperation, and
collaboration with the private sector. Perhaps the next
training program will be to organize a roundtable for all
49 Customs Directors together with some senior PGR
officials throughout Mexico to sensitize them to the
importance of intellectual property and gain their
approval for their subordinates to practice heightened IP
protection and enforcement efforts. We realize that such
a meeting of all the Aduanas leadership in Mexico would
present a unique opportunity for the USG to discuss
activities in other areas of concern beyond the scope of
IP enforcement. The Embassy will develop a plan on how
to present all these concerns at such a roundtable.

COMMENT
-------

11. (SBU) COMMENT: While this program should be lauded
as an unprecedented success, EconOff received some
sobering feedback from some of the Aduanas officers that
had participated in the prior training in Monterrey. One
official stationed in a Mexican port reported that her
use of the techniques acquired through our training had
resulted in the successful detention of a shipment of two
kilos of pseudoephedrine - a key ingredient of
methamphetamine whose import is banned by Mexico.
Several officials were arrested, including two of her
colleagues. Unfortunately, she and her supervisor
subsequently received several death threats, and both
have been reassigned to other customs offices in Mexico's
interior. Through our training, we are coaching these
officials to ask questions in an environment that often
discourages curiosity. Our training must be part of a
broader, holistic USG approach to strengthen Aduanas,
protect their personnel and encourage the inquisitive.
END COMMENT.

PASCUAL

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