Latin American Revolution: Chile's New Government Wants To Open Up TPP

from the el-pueblo-unido dept

Last year, the US government was adamant that TPP would be finished by the end of 2013. And yet here we are, well into 2014, with no sign that things are anywhere near completion. That slippage is more than just embarrassing: it could have major implications for the treaty. TPP has dragged on for so long there's a new President in Chile, Michelle Bachelet, and she's more doubtful than her predecessor about the value of TPP to her country and its people.

Those doubts are starting to make themselves felt. In a recent speech (original in Spanish), Bachelet said that she wanted Chile to regain its role as a promoter of Latin American integration. That would represent a turning away from TPP, which is based on the Pacific Rim, and only includes two three other countries from Latin America -- Mexico, Colombia and Peru. In an interview with El Mercurio, Bachelet's new Minister for External Relations, Heraldo Muñoz, echoed this policy shift by emphasizing the importance of improving his country's relations with Brazil and Argentina. He also revealed some of Chile's new thinking on TPP (original in Spanish):

"In my meeting with [USTR] Michael Froman, I expressed Chile's position, which is to examine the content of the [TPP] negotiations with care, and to act transparently. We are going to consult with businesses, with civil society, so that these aren't closed negotiations. In addition, I said to Froman that Chile has sensitive areas where we are not prepared to go beyond the FTA [free trade agreement] with the US. There are areas such as intellectual property, the regulation of state-owned companies, or the Central Bank, which are red lines for us."
The theme of transparency was picked up in another interview, this time with the new director of Chile's Department of International Economic Relations, Andrés Rebolledo, which appeared in La Segunda (original in Spanish):
"We received some criticism (for how the [TPP] negotiations were conducted previously) and it appeared to us that there's an important opening for creating greater transparency with the various stakeholders who are involved and who are interested in the negotiations."
Rebolledo aims to do this by creating a new advisory group, which will include not just business interests, but also NGOs and other civil society groups:
We will establish a dialog with them and we are going to hand over elements of the negotiations -- those which are on the table, and of interest.

For us, as the government, it's beneficial from the perspective that we will obtain inputs that will help us better conduct the negotiations.
For TPP, whose negotiations have been some of the most secretive ever, with almost no real transparency, the plans of Chile's new President are not just a breath of fresh air, they are little short of revolutionary.

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Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Guardian, Mar 28th, 2014 @ 1:30am

    nations are sick of USA bullying

    obama and friends were not listening ....what china said....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2014 @ 1:46am

    If anything more about TPP comes out in the open, TPP will become a sitting duck and will effectively be killed off.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    That One Guy (profile), Mar 28th, 2014 @ 1:53am


    I really hope they follow through with it, if one country is able to make the whole document public, then the US and other negotiators insisting on complete secrecy will completely lose any excuse not to make it public, and if the few leaked parts are any indication, the outrage over the rest of it will be enough to kill the thing off for good.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    Ninja (profile), Mar 28th, 2014 @ 3:07am

    Re: Re:

    Or it'll take a 180 turn and be rewritten to actually be something the citizens will benefit from? Wishful thinking?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Techanon, Mar 28th, 2014 @ 3:16am

    I'm not surprised. In fact, putting more scrutiny and transparency on the TPP negotiations was one of her campaign promises.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2014 @ 4:25am

    Eh... The TPP will gain enough resistance to be killed off and the US will just try again by copy/pasting the same text into a new FTA with a more beneficial sounding name that is the opposite of its effects. They'll probably try to do it before they even finish burying the last one.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2014 @ 6:20am

    Re: Re:

    Never going to happen. The participation agreement requires confidentiality. The Chilean delegation is likely cleaning out their desks right now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Krista, Mar 28th, 2014 @ 6:39am

    I don't think Colombia is currently a TPP member.

    I believe there are only 12 current TPP negotiating members and Colombia is not one of them (Peru, Chile and Mexico are the only current Latin American countries in the negotiation).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    PRMan, Mar 28th, 2014 @ 7:31am

    Re: Re: Re:

    As long as they bring a copy with them and post it on the internet...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Glyn Moody, Mar 28th, 2014 @ 8:08am

    Re: I don't think Colombia is currently a TPP member.

    Thanks, you're right. Foolishly, I took that information from the article, which is wrong....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2014 @ 9:01am

    Ya know? I don't really understand why this is happening. It has to be that the TPP managers are well aware that the general citizenry of the world would rise up and smite them if they found out what's really going on. There appears to be too much money, most of it under the table, involved to allow that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    That One Guy (profile), Mar 28th, 2014 @ 12:11pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    While not as good, countries pulling out of the 'negotiations' due to things like that is also good, a nice way of highlighting just how much they disagree with how it's being handled.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), Mar 28th, 2014 @ 1:34pm

    Chile improving relations with Argentina? Not likely, at least not during the current generation. I used to live in Argentina, and they hate Chile there, based on allegations (I have no idea if this is true or not, but "everybody knows" they did it down there) that Chile does/used to steal land from Argentina by establishing towns on Argentina's side of the border and then claiming the area for Chile since it was full of Chilean citizens.

    That may be true, or it may be exactly as true as their never-ending cultural obsession with the Falkland islands having been stolen from them by England, (which is to say, a complete and utter fabrication; the islands were never Argentina's in any real sense anyway,) but as long as most people believe it, it'll take a miracle to get any changes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Krnomex, Mar 28th, 2014 @ 3:51pm

    Sounds like Chile (three cheers) are about to become almost persona non grata for daring to question the USTR and by association the corporations. Hooray for them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    That One Guy (profile), Mar 30th, 2014 @ 2:28pm

    'The enemy of my enemy is my friend'*

    Relations overall might not be likely to improve, but in a limited case, like say rejecting the US's attempt to screw them over, something like that would seem quite possible.

    *Or 'Enemy of my enemy is my enemy's enemy, no more, no less', depending on where you're getting the quote from I suppose.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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