TPP-11 takes lower house hurdle

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SANTIAGO – Even though the US as chief player in the original negotiations canceled the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a revised version has been agreed by the remaining eleven members. On Wednesday, the TPP-11 was approved by the committee of exterior relations in Chile’s lower house. Officials expect final ratification by the end of March the latest.

In a press release the foreign affairs ministry said that the committee of exterior relations in the chamber of deputies approved the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). This free-trade agreement is a salvaged version of the original TPP, from which Donald Trump withdrew in the early days of his presidency.

Origins

The TPP received widespread criticism about obscure rules that privilege investors and corporation’s rights over sovereign rights and democracy. China took a sceptical position too, because through the TPP the US also sought to manifest geopolitical influence in the Asia-Pacific by defining trade rules and shaping legal processes. But with the 2016 US presidential campaign still thundering, it proved an easy feat for Trump to withdraw.

Yet, the remaining parties to the agreement, spearheaded by Chile, remained convinced of its benefits and renegotiated the parts the US held dear, like intellectual property. In March last year, then-president Michelle Bachelet signed the agreement, saying it “guarantees peace and stability,” according to daily La Tercera.

What’s inside

Happy with the committee’s approval, current foreign affairs minister Roberto Ampuero underlined in the press release that “it was very important to take this step. Remember that the countries that are inside TPP-11 represent around 500 million inhabitants, and 12% of world trade. In addition, 16% of Chile’s exports go to those countries.”

The new version also includes provisions for remote zones and indigenous peoples, the minister added.

El Mostrador news site reported earlier this month that according to Felipe Lopeandía, the chief negotiator for Chile, the country’s GDP could grow by up to 1%. Lopeandía, however, did not say if the figure relates to annual growth, nor did he provide any another indicator for comparison.

The daily added that especially agriculture, forestry and fishing will benefit most. These sectors are traditionally dominated by powerful families.

Now, the agreement will go the financial committee of the lower house, before the senate can vote on it.

The TPP and Chile’s Foreign Policy Options

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