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Viewing cable 08SANJOSE508, USTR AND COMEX DO A SLOW SLOG

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08SANJOSE508 2008-06-13 18:06 2011-03-02 16:04 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy San Jose
Appears in these articles:
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-02/Investigacion.aspx
VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSJ #0508/01 1651847
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 131847Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9841
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
UNCLAS SAN JOSE 000508 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR WHA, WHA/CEN, WHA/EPSC AND EEB; PLEASE PASS TO 
USTR:AMALITO/DOLIVER; PLEASE PASS TO USPTO: 
CBERIDUT/NGRAHAM/JHOUSEL 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ECON ETRD KIPR PGOV PREL CS
 
SUBJECT: USTR AND COMEX DO A SLOW SLOG 
 
Reftel San Jose 410 
 
1.  SUMMARY. On short notice, the CAFTA implementation team at Costa 
Rica's Ministry of Foreign Trade (COMEX) requested to host a 
USTR/USPTO team for meetings on intellectual property (IP) issues 
from May 12-14.  The work targeted the opportunity to update an IP 
bill which the constitutional court (Sala IV) returned on 
unconstitutional grounds on April 4.  After two and a half days of 
highly technical IP talks, USTR and COMEX made incremental progress 
but substantive issues remain in the areas of enforcement, 
copyright, patents, and biodiversity.  USTR clearly articulated the 
need to make more progress and finish the remaining work by early 
July.  COMEX agreed to provide to USTR proposals on the remaining IP 
issues prior to the next scheduled meeting in early June in 
Washington.  Though COMEX is engaged, its commitment to "close the 
deal" is less than obvious.  Although it claims to want to finish 
the work, it expresses reluctance in advocating for CAFTA-compliant 
language for the necessary legislation to the deputies in the 
national assembly.  End Summary. 
 
----------------------- 
MEETING ON SHORT NOTICE 
----------------------- 
 
2.  A USTR/USPTO team comprised of Andrea Malito and Tanuja Garde of 
USTR and Caridad Berdut, Neil Graham, and Jim Housel of USPTO met 
with a COMEX technical team led by Fernando Ocampo, Gabriela Castro, 
and Susana Vasquez of COMEX on May 12-14.  Randall Salazar of the 
Public Registry and Liliana Rivera of the Ministry of Justice also 
joined the COMEX team (both are special aides to Vice President 
Chinchilla).  Discussions solely focused on IP issues, specifically 
enforcement, copyright, industrial property, and biodiversity.  Upon 
the strong recommendation of Costa Rica's Ambassador to the U.S., 
Tomas Duenas, USTR and COMEX scheduled the meetings on short notice 
due to COMEX's need to revise an IP bill that the Sala IV returned 
to the national assembly for recommended changes on April 4.  COMEX 
plans to address the recommended changes by the Sala IV by 
consulting with USTR and then with national assembly deputies before 
re-submitting the bill into the legislature. 
 
----------------------- 
MAKING GOOD ON AN OFFER 
----------------------- 
 
3.  The discussions were necessarily technical and tedious as the 
USTR and COMEX discussed legal reasoning, positions, and differences 
on many of the articles of the IP bill.  The meetings further 
demonstrated USTR's commitment to concluding the technical 
discussions between COMEX and USTR as the IP mission followed AUSTR 
Everett Eissenstat's April Costa Rican visit and offer to send a 
technical mission to Costa Rica (reftel).  Also, the USTR team 
assiduously worked at creative methods to arrive at CAFTA-compliant 
solutions to bridge difficult differences. 
 
----------------- 
COMEX'S RESPONSE? 
----------------- 
 
4.  COMEX accepted many of USTR's suggestions but there were 
substantive differences in enforcement, copyright, industrial 
property (patents), and data protection.  Though COMEX presented a 
good face for the meeting, its rationale for not bending or 
accepting USTR positions on several of the substantive issues was 
directly related to COMEX's predicted resistance by national 
assembly deputies.  However, during the span of the meetings, COMEX 
did report on a position change by key supporting deputies on one 
aspect of IP enforcement.  Of concern, though, was COMEX 
intransigence, at times, against presenting and advocating for 
changes with the deputies.  Though COMEX states its desire to 
implement CAFTA, its reluctance to advocate to the deputies on 
difficult issues may complicate the schedule over the coming months. 
 
 
----------------------- 
ARE THERE OTHER ISSUES? 
----------------------- 
 
5.  At the conclusion of the meeting, USTR and COMEX agreed to meet 
during the first week of June in Washington as a follow-up meeting 
on the remaining IP issues and other outstanding issues such as 
insurance, telecommunications spectrum allocation, and regulations. 
Before the meeting, COMEX will send to USTR proposals on the 
substantive IP differences. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
6.  The meeting produced necessary but incremental change.  It was 
not a "close out" session on IP issues (as COMEX had indicated it 
would be) and emphasized the bald fact that obstacles still remain. 
Every session now is critical to a timely completion of Costa Rican 
CAFTA implementation.  During his April visit, AUSTR Eissenstat 
marked early July as the realistic working deadline when accounting 
for the USTR certification process, translation, and Sala IV review 
of the last bill (with a possible return of the bill to the national 
assembly).  The USTR team repeated the same theme.  Also whenever 
COMEX averred to a political discussion, for instance, alluding to 
officials at COMEX and USTR "brokering" an arrangement or the AUSTR 
returning to Costa Rica to meet with deputies, USTR firmly reminded 
COMEX of USTR's congressional mandate to fulfill its obligations of 
certification.  For Costa Rica to complete the necessary work by 
early July, COMEX, Casa Presidencial, and the national assembly must 
be the parties that "broker" a deal in order to enter CAFTA into 
force. 
 
7.  USTR Director Malito has cleared this cable. 
 
CIANCHETTE