It looks like some of the countries negotiating the awful and secretive TPP agreement are beginning to realize that perhaps they're better off not giving in to whatever protectionist policies the US is about to push on them
. Officials in Chile are apparently starting to realize that perhaps they're better off without the TPP altogether:
At a PIJIP-hosted seminar on intellectual property and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) last week, present and former Chilean trade officials questioned whether joining the TPP would be worth its costs if it included additional demands on intellectual property.
The officials voicing this concern included Senator Ricardo Lagos, son of the former president of Chile and lead of the negotiation of the US-Chile free trade agreement (FTA) as the head of the Foreign Ministry’s Department of Trade Policy under President Michelle Bachelet; Alvaro DÃíaz, of CEPAL, the former Ambassador of Chile to Brazil and a senior official in the Foreign Ministry’s Department of Trade Policy at the time of the US-Chile FTA negotiation; and Ana Novik, a current senior official in DIRECON (the Ministry of Foreign Relations) overseeing the current TPP negotiations.
Each of the presenters explained that Chile already has market access agreements with every country in the TPP region, and therefore the trade benefits of joining TPP are likely to be minimal. Each therefore questioned whether the costs of joining TPP, especially in terms of any presumed increased obligations to expand proprietor rights in intellectual property law demanded by the U.S., would be worth incurring.
Apparently the session consisted of multiple Chilean experts (including some current government officials) making it clear that they're sick of the US bullying on this issue, when they know full well that there would be significant costs associated with signing up for the TPP. In particular, they point out that Chile's decision to participate in this discussion seems to come almost entirely because of the USTR's silly and bogus Special 301 report, that names and shames countries the US entertainment and pharma industries don't like -- but which has no objective methodology. Chile has been named and shamed in the report. Of course, the proper response is to tell the US to mind its own business, rather than putting in place draconian rules that will do significant domestic harm. Hopefully more people in Chile will recognize why it's a mistake to let the TPP process go any further.