Viewing cable 04GUATEMALA431
Title: SPECIAL 301 REVIEW

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
04GUATEMALA4312004-02-23 21:51:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Guatemala
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS GUATEMALA 000431 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EB/IPC WILSON, DEPT PLS PASS TO USTR BPECK, DOC 
KSCHLEGELMILCH, USPTO JURBAN/DLASHLEY-JOHNSON, AND LOC 
STEPP. 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: KIPR ETRD ECON WHA
SUBJECT: SPECIAL 301 REVIEW 
 
REF: A. SECSTATE 29549 
     ¶B. NATIONAL TRADE ESTIMATE 
 
¶1.  Summary: Guatemala recently concluded negotiations of the 
US - Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which 
includes a strong chapter on IPR.  The obligations undertaken 
in the agreement, along with commitments of the new 
government, should strengthen Guatemala's weak enforcement of 
IPR protections.  Renewed industry support for efforts should 
help to fend off further challenges to Guatemala's relatively 
strong legislative framework.  Post recommends that Guatemala 
not be placed on the Special 301 list.  End Summary. 
 
Updates to the National Trade Estimate 
-------------------------------------- 
 
¶2.  Legislation passed in 2003 improved IPR legislation to 
levels similar to those applied in the United States.  The 
new Berger administration, which took office in January 2004, 
has indicated its interest in further strengthening IPR 
protection. Pharmaceutical and agricultural chemical research 
laboratories, in cooperation with the U.S. and some European 
embassies, have worked effectively to counter efforts by 
domestic copiers of protected products to undermine 
Guatemala's legislation through legal and legislative 
challenges.  The Constitutional Court rejected in February 
2004 the outstanding legal challenge to the 2003 legislation. 
 Entry into force of the CAFTA will provide a strong legal 
obstacle to further efforts to degrade the protections 
provided by law. 
 
¶3.  Enforcement remains the weak link in Guatemala's IPR 
protection.  Pirated material, particularly software, optical 
media and trademark violating products are still widely and 
openly available.  Enforcement efforts have been hampered 
primarily by a lack of resources and a lack of will within 
the Public Ministry, which is responsible for the prosecution 
of criminal offenses.  The GOG reportedly still uses pirated 
software in many of its offices.  However, the new Minister 
of Economy, who oversees the national IPR registry, has 
committed to catalogue and properly license software within 
his ministry and to promote similar action by his cabinet 
colleagues.  The new government is also eager to root out the 
organized contraband and smuggling rings that have 
infiltrated the tax and customs administrations and that 
control much of the traffic in pirated goods. 
 
Recommendation 
-------------- 
 
¶4. Post recommends that Guatemala not be placed on the 
Special 301 list.  Nonetheless, we are aware that enforcement 
is weak and needs to be made a priority by the new 
administration.  There is substantial optimism in the local 
IPR community that enforcement efforts and capabilities will 
improve with the new government's interest in successful 
CAFTA implementation and tackling organized crime and 
corruption surrounding the contraband issue. 
HAMILTON