UNCLAS REYKJAVIK 000023
STATE PLEASE PASS TO USTR JASON BUNTIN, CHRIS WILSON AND JOSH
STATE FOR EUR/NB, CA/VO, EEB/IFD/OMA WESLEY SCHOLZ AND MICHAEL
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON, ETRD, EFIN, CVIS, IC
SUBJECT: ICELAND SIGNS TIFA, PUSHES FOR E VISAS
(SBU) Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Europe and the
Middle East Christopher S. Wilson and Acting Minister for Foreign
Affairs Ossur Skarphedinsson signed a Trade and Investment
Cooperation Framework Agreement (TIFA) in Reykjavik on January 15.
The TIFA establishes a commitment to meet on a regular basis to
discuss trade and investment issues. During the signing, Minister
Skarphedinsson expressed his hope that the TIFA would increase and
strengthen the countries' economic relations.
(SBU) Wilson, USTR Director for Europe and Middle East Jason
Buntin, and Econoff attended a subsequent meeting with Acting MFA
Permanent Secretary Benedikt Jonsson, MFA Director General for
External Trade Martin Eyjolfsson, and other representatives from the
MFA and the Ministry of Business Affairs. Jonsson emphasized the
importance of meeting on a regular basis and Wilson suggested both
sides exchange ideas to develop an agenda for a first meeting.
Wilson highlighted some possible themes, such as Intellectual
Property Rights, Trade and Climate Change. Wilson said June 2009
would be a good date for the next meeting and suggested that
Reykjavik might be an ideal location. Jonsson was very receptive to
Elephant in the Room - E Visas
(SBU) Jonsson raised what he described as "the elephant in the
room," the lack of E-2 investor visas for Icelandic businessmen.
Jonsson stressed that Icelandic businesses raise the issue with the
MFA "all the time." He said the Icelanders had received positive
feedback from Congress, "they gave us a letter and they don't
object" to proceeding further in obtaining E visas. Jonsson said
Iceland needed a commitment to start negotiating an arrangement that
would include E visas and would appreciate support for that request.
Wilson explained the changed role of USTR in regards to visas, but
promised to convey Jonsson's concern with the Department of State
and he encouraged the Icelanders to continue engagement with
(U) This cable has been cleared by USTR.