INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Wto Services Negotiations: South Africa's Initial

Published: Wed 20 Apr 2005 01:57 PM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS PRETORIA 001575
SIPDIS
SENSITIVE
DEPT FOR AF/S; AF/EPS; EB/TPP/MTA
USDOC FOR 4510/ITA/IEP/ANESA/OA/JDIEMOND
TREASURY FOR BRESNICK
DEPT PASS USTR FOR PCOLEMAN, WJACKSON AND DDWOSKIN
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD ECON SF WTO
SUBJECT: WTO SERVICES NEGOTIATIONS: SOUTH AFRICA'S INITIAL
OFFER
REF: (A) State 58384; (B) Pretoria 847
(U)Sensitive but unclassified; not for Internet
distribution.
1. (SBU) In response to reftel A points encouraging South
Africa to submit a robust initial services offer, Sudhir
Sooklal of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said
that South Africa does intend to meet the May deadline for
submitting its offer in Geneva. He noted that when DTI
Minister Mpahlwa came back from a G20 meeting in New Delhi
last month, he instructed his staff to set up a meeting with
his cabinet colleagues to discuss the offer. Unfortunately,
they have not been able to get the meeting off the ground. It
was supposed to be this week, but could not take place because
the Minister went to the DRC. They hope the cabinet meeting
will take place next week. Once the cabinet is driving the
process at the ministerial level, DTI expects to be able to
move a lot quicker.
2. (SBU) Sooklal noted DTI has been engaging the various
departments continuously, almost on a daily basis, on the
sectors we raised. "It's a work in progress," he said. They
are still waiting for the other departments to come back to
DTI with what they are willing to put on the table. That
process is complete as far as Treasury is concerned (i.e.,
financial services, also noted in ref B). As soon as the other
departments have signed off on the offer, DTI plans to put the
offer in the required format and table it in Geneva. He
reiterated that the Minister is aware of urgency of it, which
why he wants the meeting with cabinet colleagues to discuss
the specific issues.
3. (SBU) Sooklal did note a bit of a problem with the
telecommunications services sector because of the new
convergence bill that is going through Parliament. He said
they were somewhat reluctant to make an offer until the bill
becomes an Act. He said the convergence bill would totally
transform the entire ICT sector. Even with that constraint,
however, he was optimistic that South Africa would still be
able to put something down.
FRAZER
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