On August 20, the Senate Finance Committee passed the bill approving the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11). The free trade initiative promotes open markets in the areas of e-commerce, market access, financial services and intellectual property between Asian and American countries. The text, previously approved by the Chilean Foreign Relations Committee, is expected to be covered by the Constitutional Committee in September.
During the discussion, Senator Juan Antonio Coloma (Unión Democrática Independiente – ruling party) expressed his endorsement and highlighted the support received across the board from the different chancellors. Finance Committee president, Ricardo Lagos Weber (Partido por la Democracia – opposition) also added that “the level of development that Chile has achieved today is due, in large part, to foreign policy and integration. From that point of view, the agreement seeks to deepen that.” Prominent economists, former ministers and former presidents of the Central Bank have all publicly communicated their position in favor of approval.
During the previous session, Finance Minister Felipe Larraín had explained the details of the text, highlighting that 15.7% of Chile’s exports in 2018 went to TPP member nations while 11.4% of its imports in 2018 originated there. He emphasized that the benefits of the Agreement included issues related to cumulation of origin, harmonization of rules of origin and customs procedures, as well as the elimination of agricultural export subsidies and non-tariff barriers to international trade, in addition to the promotion of sustainable trade and a focus on SMEs.
The progress of the Agreement is being driven by the Memorandum of Understanding signed on August 6 by the deputies from the Foreign Relations Committee and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.