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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09BERN249 2009-06-10 14:56:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Bern
Cable title:  

A/USTR WILSON'S MEETINGS WITH SWISS OFFICIALS

Tags:   ECON ETRD SZ 
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R 101456Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY BERN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 5897
					  UNCLAS BERN 000249 


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ETRD SZ
SUBJECT: A/USTR WILSON'S MEETINGS WITH SWISS OFFICIALS



1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Assistant United States Trade Representative for
Europe and the Middle East Chris Wilson and Swiss Secretariat for
Economic Affairs (SECO) Head of Bilateral Economic Relations
Ambassador Monika Ruehl co-chaired a Trade and Investment
Cooperation Forum ("Forum") meeting on June 2.
The Head of the Swiss Environment Ministry International Affairs
Office and Ruehl strongly supported A/USTR Wilson's proposal to
expand the Forum beyond technical problem-solving to broader
strategic issues such as the intersection between environment or
labor and trade. Swiss Chief Negotiator at the WTO Marie-Gabrielle
Ineichen-Fleisch highlighted the common US and Swiss positions in
the Doha Round and proposed a bilateral working group meeting in
September to brainstorm on moving Doha forward.



2. (SBU) During an informal meeting on June 2 with A/USTR Wilson,
Swiss Parliamentarians reflected their interests in the new US
administration's trade policies' impact on trade negotiations as
well as concerns about pressure for increased protectionism in the
US. A/USTR Wilson also held separate meetings with SECO State
Secretary Jean-Daniel Gerber and local business representatives to
discuss the Forum, WTO and the Doha Round, and the new US
administration's trade policies. USTR Director for Western Europe
and Middle East Affairs Jason Buntin was also present at the
meetings.



--------------------------



--------------------------


Swiss Support Expanding Forum To Strategic Dialogue


--------------------------



--------------------------





3. (SBU) A/USTR Chris Wilson and SECO Head of Bilateral Economic
Relations Ambassador Monika Ruehl co-chaired a Trade and Investment
Cooperation Forum ("Forum") meeting on June 2. Both praised the
strong bilateral trade and investment relations. A/USTR Wilson
suggested expanding the Forum beyond technical problem-solving to
broader strategic issues such as the intersection between
environment or labor and trade. The Head of the Swiss Environment
Ministry International Affairs Office strongly supported adding a
joint working group of trade and environmental specialists to
exchange ideas regarding environmental goods and services. Ruehl,
while wanting to maintain the Forum as a platform for resolving
trade issues, also supported more strategic dialogue and proposed
additional private sector outreach by both sides.



4. (SBU) Switzerland's Chief Negotiator at the WTO Marie-Gabrielle
Ineichen-Fleisch stressed the importance of the WTO multilateral
forum to Swiss trade. She highlighted the Swiss and US common
positions in regards to agricultural concessions and the need for
emerging economies to make specific reciprocal proposals. She
proposed a bilateral working group meeting in September to
brainstorm on moving Doha forward.



5. (SBU) Senior Swiss trade experts reviewed the few technical
issues that still remain under the Forum, such as beef and swine
exports and potential U.S. legislation that may result in unintended
barriers to trade. All parties agreed that more working-level
communication was necessary to address these issues.



--------------------------


Swiss Parliamentarians Emphasize Avoiding Protectionism


--------------------------





6. (SBU) During an informal meeting on June 2 with four Swiss
Parliamentarians, the legislators emphasized that "the best stimulus
package for the economy is free trade." Their questions to A/USTR
Wilson reflected their interests in the new US administration's
trade policies' impact on the Doha Round and bilateral agreements as
well as concerns about pressure for increased protectionism in the
US. They asked about status of implementation of the "Buy America"
provisions of recent U.S. economic recovery legislation. A/USTR
Wilson reassured the Parliamentarians by outlining the trade policy
priorities set out by U.S. Trade Representative Kirk, and citing the
U.S. commitment to finding a path forward to conclude the Doha
Round, without reverting to "square one." He also discussed
developing a more strategic approach to the Forum to enhance
bilateral trade relations.



--------------------------


Meeting with State Secretary Gerber


--------------------------





7. (SBU) A/USTR Wilson also held separate meetings with SECO State
Secretary Jean-Daniel Gerber and local business representatives to
discuss the Forum, WTO and the Doha Round, and the new US
administration's trade policies. Gerber explained that on-going
EU-Swiss negotiations for an agriculture free trade agreement will
be drawn out given the politically sensitive farm sector and
Switzerland's 2011 elections. However, once an agreement is struck,
FTA's with other countries, including the US, will be easier to
conclude. Gerber also invited USTR Ron Kirk to participate as a
panelist with Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard at the Joint
Economic Commission Panel at the World Economic Forum in January
2010, when Leuthard will also be President of Switzerland under the
Alpine country's rotational presidential system.



8. (U) This cable was cleared by A/USTR Wilson.

CARTER