The Comprehensive and Progressive Treaty of Trans-Pacific Partnershipknown as TPP-11unleashes philias and phobias in Chile: While some defend that it is a modern and respectful agreement with national industries, others consider that it will take away “economic sovereignty.”
In force since December 2018, the agreement seeks to eliminate or reduce tariff barriers in the 11 member countries and covers a market of almost 500 million people, which represents the 13% of world GDP.
The treaty replaced the original TPP, in which the United States was until the former president donald trump He announced his retirement shortly after taking office in 2017, thus fulfilling one of his main campaign promises.
Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, Japan, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam then decided, in the midst of the trade war between China and the US, to rethink the alliance and sealed a new agreement, renamed TPP-11, in March 2018 in Santiago.
Chile, host of that firm, however It has been considering its ratification ever since. The Chamber of Deputies approved it in 2019 with a narrow margin and, after spending several years in a drawer, the Senate resumed its discussion this week between great expectation and controversy.
“TPP-11 is not part of our program, therefore it is not something that we are promoting,” the president assured last week. Gabriel Boricwho said that as a government they have “the duty to safeguard the interests of Chile.”
Advantages and disadvantages
Those who defend the treaty emphasize that It opens the door to the export without tariffs of more than 3,000 “tariff lines” (by-products) and that would generate annual income for Chile of 1,200 million dollars.
Heraldo Muñoz, who as foreign minister of Michelle Bachelet (2014-2018) was part of the negotiations, said that “represents an opportunity at a time of economic hardship” and that “it is emerging as one of the most powerful integration schemes of the future”, since countries such as China, the United Kingdom or South Korea want to join.
“After the withdrawal of the United States, the other countries made an effort to give it a progressive profile, promoting the chapters of gender, SMEs, anti-corruption, environment, labor rights and corporate social responsibility”he added.
Ana María Vallina, from the Catholic University of Valparaíso, assured Agencia Efe that the TPP-11 “considers products that were excluded in other trade agreements” and warned that if Chile does not sign it “it may lose competitiveness.”
For its detractors, the treaty “cuts the space of the States to carry out their public policies” and grants transnational corporations rights to sue States in international arbitration instancesa kind of “ad hoc” courts.
Esteban Silva, spokesman for the platform “Chile better without FTA”, considered that the TPP-11 is “unnecessary”, since Chile has already signed bilateral agreements with almost all member countries.
“It is an attack against our sovereignty and this government said it was going to be with us,” exclaimed Marcelo Soto, a young student who participated this week in a protest in Santiago.
A government with “two souls”
It is precisely in the two coalitions that make up the Government where there is more controversy: I approve Dignitymade up of the Broad Front and the Communist Party and with which Boric won the elections, is totally against the treaty and even the President himself voted against it when he was a deputy.
In the other ruling coalition, Democratic Socialismthe rows are divided and the great point of contention is the conflict resolution mechanism.
The government is negotiating with the other countries in the agreement to exempt itself from that clause, “a strategy that could help its ratification in the Senate,” acknowledged Múñoz.
For Dorotea López, from the University of Chile, “The criticisms and benefits of the agreement have been exaggerated and have lent themselves to significant disinformation.”
“The TPP-11 has become a banner of political struggle rather than economic transformation. Chile has reaffirmed its commitment to integration with the world in different forums and whether or not to sign the agreement should not mean that there is a turn towards an autarkic policy”, he concluded.