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Cablegate: Tunisian Finance Minister Discusses Open Skies And

VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTU #0827 3161423
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 121423Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY TUNIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6969
INFO RUCNMGH/MAGHREB COLLECTIVE
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC

UNCLAS TUNIS 000827

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA/MAG
STATE PASS USTR (BURKHEAD) AND USAID (MCCLOUD)
USDOC FOR ITA/MAC/ONE (MASON), ADVOCACY CTR (TABINE), AND
CLDP (TEJTEL AND MCMANUS)
USDOC PASS USPTO (ADAMS, BROWN, AND MARSHALL)
CASABLANCA FOR FCS (KITSON)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAIR ETRD ECON TS
SUBJECT: TUNISIAN FINANCE MINISTER DISCUSSES OPEN SKIES AND
FRANCHISING

REF: A. TUNIS 696
B. TUNIS 608

Sensitive but Unclassified. Please protect accordingly.

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Summary
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1. (SBU) The Ambassador and Tunisian Minister of Finance
Mohamed Rachid Kechich discussed the U.S.-Tunisian trade
relationship, Open Skies, franchising, and the possibility of
a U.S. trade delegation in early 2010. Kechich expressed a
strong desire to improve the bilateral trade relationship,
but was not willing to go into specifics on key trade and
investment mechanisms such as Open Skies and the newly-passed
franchising legislation. End summary.

--------------------------------------------- -----
Focused on Trade and Investment, Blurry on Details
--------------------------------------------- -----

2. (SBU) The Ambassador paid a courtesy call on Minister of
Finance Mohamed Rachid Kechich on November 11. Kechich
opened with a positive description of Tunisia's economic
climate and its economic relations with the United States.
He said he wanted to expand the U.S.-Tunisian trade
relationship, which has been growing but is currently
unbalanced in favor of the United States. He said Tunisia is
a stable and open country that offers U.S. investors
protection from double taxation. He described the Tunisian
dinar as "almost convertible, more so for companies than for
individuals," and opined that further economic development is
needed before Tunisia can fully liberalize its currency.

3. (SBU) Minister Kechich raised the issue of an Open Skies
agreement, indicating that such an agreement would help boost
U.S.-Tunisian economic ties, particularly through tourism.
The Ambassador noted that the U.S. was interested in
concluding an Open Skies agreement with Tunisia and had
forwarded for consideration a revised draft agreement to the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs on September 14 (ref A). Kechich
said he aimed for an agreement that "protects the interests
of both sides." (Note: Tunisair announced last month that it
had signed General Sales Agreements with companies in the
United States and Canada as a precursor to direct flights
following the delivery of new Airbus A330-200 aircraft in
2011. End Note.)

4. (SBU) The Ambassador asked Kechich how the Government of
Tunisia (GOT) planned to implement the recent law on
franchising (ref B), particularly with respect to
repatriation of royalties. In a vague answer, Kechich said
that implementation of the franchise law would need to
"benefit both sides" and that investors were already becoming
aware of the rules in place. He said there would be no tax
discrimination against franchises.

5. (SBU) The Ambassador noted the potential visit in February
2010 of a U.S. trade mission to Tunisia. Kechich said he
wanted to reach out to U.S. investors, and offered to
organize information sessions for the potential U.S.
delegation.

GRAY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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